All I want for Xmas is a Headshot

Quite a weird and bizarre Christmas I've been having. First off, on the trip home, we had so many gifts we were trying to cram into the Truck (F150) that the only way we were able to make it work was to have Myself, Taint, and Sahd sit in the front seat. I had to ride bitch. I actually didn't mind so much except for the fact that there is no head rest in that seat. And that wouldn't have been such a big deal if it weren't for the fact that I hadn't slept for over 30 hours at that point.

My head was constantly rolling all over the place on the four hour drive home. When we got home, I opened the front door to my parent's house and noticed immediately that there was no Christmas tree!! They had just gotten back from a 3 week vacation overseas and my mom was too exhausted to put anything up this year. So now we have a huge pile of presents just sitting by the window. I volunteered to pretend to be the tree this year and I would blink my eyes to mimic blinking lights. I don't think anyone was to excited about that idea. lol.

I was actually feeling pretty decent that night even being as exhausted as I was. I was dancing around singing "Down" by Jay Sean. Then I went to bed around 1am . The next morning, I woke up and couldn't move. Apparently the drive down must have strained by back at a pressure point. I literally couldn't get myself up without extreme pain. This of course was exacerbated by the fact that I really needed to go pee. lol. Suckage. Long, painful morning story short, my mom put some bengay on it and I got pain meds... I'm feeling much better today for sure although I'm still downing Alleve like tic tacs.

Besides resting and feeling loopy yesterday, I pretty much bunkered down and watched The World's Deadliest catch marathon. I got a pass out of not going to mass with Sahd and his family because of my back. I took it because the thought of an hour on those hard pews and all the standing and getting up would have sucked. We only go every year to make his grandmother happy.

Anyhow, late last night, my dad poppped a live concert for Andrea Bocelli and I actually saw the dude for the first time. I had no idea he was blind and played the piano. The man is a amazing. However, watching his concert made me super sleepy and I actually went to bed before midnight which could also have been because of the meds as well.

The shitty thing about going to bed that early is that I normally only sleep 4-6 hours. I woke up at 4am. I noticed the light in Taint's room was still on so I went and he was still up playing Modern Warfare II. I have the game myself but haven't installed it because I've been working my ass off up until the night we left.

So I sat down and started to play. I tell you what, there is nothing like kicking off your Christmas morning killing marines and terrorists. lol. I was off to a rocky start at first especially with Team Deathmatch mode. However, after a few rounds, I started to get my stride back. FPS is like riding a bike, there are just certain memory muscles that don't go die. I think I will definitely install the game when I get back to Austin. I also didn't notice much issues with the non-dedicated server thing. I love the pace of the matches and of course the unlocks and level ups are nice. It'll suck when I start my own up because I'm going to start at baseline. boooo! lol.

Anyhow, that's been my Christmas so far. I'm waiting for everyone to get up now so I can had off to Winnie,TX to bein the first leg of my Christmas day.

Merry Christmas! [HEAD SHOT]

Answers and Inspirations

I just got through watching a live ustream posted by @manorton on twitter for what seems to be an online worship service called Redeemed Point. They had people playing music and then I guess a pastor come on and give a quick sermon. This one was about Christmas and the true meaning of the holiday.

I thought it was kind of neat watching a very intimate sermon via live streaming. The weird thing of course is that I’m atheist but for some reason, I have this really strong fascination with sermons. I especially like to listen to or watch sermons done by smaller churches and services. I hate those big tv production ones or the mainstream churches. Usually big productions lack a lot of the intimacy and relate-ability of the message I enjoy about these smaller ones.

I’ve had my issues with Christianity in the past, especially as I was coming out as an atheist. However, over the years, there is something I still really am drawn to about the Christian worship. A lot of the teachings are solid. They are about respect for family, empathy for your fellow man, and the beauty of community.

After you move away from home, you are basically on your own when it comes to guidance. Hell, even most parents today don’t offer up the needed thumping you expect from traditional teachings. No one wants to be the bitch. While, I don’t agree with a lot of the Christian philosophies at times, I still appreciate a great deal of the idea of community leadership and guidance. I definitely feel lost at times, not really sure if I’m a part of anything anymore.

However, when I listen to a few small sermons nowadays (South Lake Presbyterian Church podcast), it is quite pleasant to hear the global themes of our modern social morals reiterated. Where else do you find such community and guidance today? I’m not sure.

A lot of atheists kind of see this as ridiculous I’m sure. The newage atheists tend to define atheism as a cult of anti-religion where I simply see it as a singular definition of the lack of belief in a god or gods. I also don’t tolerate general ignorance when it comes faith guided hatred or bigotry either. But for some reason, I’m able to appreciate the most of the teachings of Christ without actually believing in God. Social morality is huge in my book and I think all communities benefit from having it as backbone…and quite frankly, I don’t really see government leaders, community leaders, or any other organized group in our society pushing to keep it strong except churches (regardless of what their motivations might be).

Probably Horde

I totally forgot! Last night at the theater to Avatar, we arrived early to make sure we got good seats. We always pick the row that is about 3-4 rows behind the midpoint.

Anyhow, we secured our seats fine. This young couple ended up parking it next to Taint to the left of us. For some reason, about 2 minutes after they sat down, they got up and scooted one seat over.

Sahd said to Taint, “Do you stink or something?” And Taint laughed and sniffed himself. We all laughed. I looked over and saw the chic was wearing a World of Warcraft Hoodie so I commented under my breath to the guys, “They’re probably horde.”

The chic must have heard me and was like, “Did you just say ‘We’re probably horde?’” LOL. I was like “yeah”..

She said, “yeah, we are.” So I bantered back, “There you go!”

Taint chimed in, “The war continues.” lol.

FYI: Hot chics play horde! hahaha.

Sniffs and Sneezes

I spent an hour or so talking to Flipmax in the garage after Avatar last night. I didn’t think we’d talk so long or I would have moved the conversation inside. In any case, it was very cold and I think I might be getting sick now because of it.

I woke up today with a sore throat and lots of sniffles and sneezes. I really don’t want to be sick for the holidays so I’m going to see about getting my work done asap and then maybe going back to bed. Also, I stayed up way too late last night.

I am really annoyed by how fubar my schedule is… I wish it was acceptable to carry on in life the absolute opposite sleeping schedule as normal people. However, if you sleep most of the day awake and keep wake through the night, you find a lot of your time is in solitude.

I wish there was a balance. *sniff*. I guess I better get started on my work. Hopefully I can finish it soon.

Take me Back to Pandora Please


I wasn’t planning on going to see Avatar while it was out in theaters. I was going to wait until it came out on dvd. However, Flipmax wanted to go see it and I thought, what the heck. So tonight after dinner, I convinced everyone to go watch the 10:35pm showing.

There must be bad marketing with this film because they failed to convey that it was available in digital 3D in every major theater. I’m so used to those special Imax 3D films where you had to find a special theater to go see shit in 3D. When I pulled up fandango.com, I noticed in all of our major theaters there was an option to watch it in “realD 3D”.

I was like sweet, I haven’t seen a movie in 3D since I went to Disney world many eons ago. I was also warned that 3D films nowadays are really cheesy and gimmicky when it comes to their 3D production, ie..a ball being thrown at you. I also never really buy the hype for movies and honestly the trailer only mildly interested me.

It may be stupid but because I was unaware of the 3D glasses procedures for theaters, I came prepared. I’m used to them handing them out out of these cardboard boxes and when you’re done using them, you throw them back in the box. The last experience I had really grossed me out. SOOO, I brought along disinfectant and tissue just incase.

LOL. When we walked up to the ticket lady, she told us to pick up our glasses at the table next to us. They come packaged in a sealed plastic bag. I guess the theory is that you return them after the movie, they get “sanitized” and then prepackaged. They’re a bit awkward to wear, sort of like slightly too large sunglasses. Maybe I’m just not used to wearing them.

The movie itself is indisputably a milestone in movie history. For me, it was like Lord of the Rings and The Matrix. You just knew, after those films were produced, the bar was raised. You wait for these types of movies for years!

I can’t say the story was all that amazing. If you’ve seen Dances with Wolves, Battle for Terra, and to many degrees, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, you get this plot immediately. Avatar’s story is pretty much: Earth is in peril, humans needs something from a moon named Pandora, the humans conflict with the indigenous humanoid life forms, and the plot ensues. It’s straight forward, a classic story, and relatable. All the bases are covered by "back story explanations" so the movie can quickly get to meat. (example: Language barrier? Easy. There used to be a school set up to teach the aliens English and vise versa. Move along!) It might be a bit basic but it’s enough to keep you entertained for nearly 3 hours.

As for the computer graphics, not all together new. You’ve seen this technology before as well with Golem in Lord of the Rings. It is CGI transference where you’re not just animating but rather translating real actors and acting into CG.

NO, what made this movie revolutionary and amazing was that it is the first film to marry true sc-fi fantasy and reality for the audience. The transition between what is fantastical (ie, CG and creatures) and what is based on the reality we know (the actors and theme) is seamless! You really can not tell in this movie that it was as computer simulated as it was. You just believe that everything is real.

This is the first film where NO details threw me off or out of the context of the movie because of awkward computer graphics or bad renderings. And even more amazing, is the fact that most of this movie boasts an organic world. In the perspective of computer animation, organic simulation is the hardest. Putting solid architecture and elaborate sci-fi city backgrounds behind green screens of actors talking is childsplay compared to this (*cough*lucas*cough*).

The characters flow with and through the environment and because I was watching the 3D version, the perception of depth was even greater. I never felt too overwhelmed by the 3D except for the opening sequences when there were long hallways where the field of view and focused aperture fucks with your mind. I’m sure James Cameron always intended this film to be viewed in 3D but nothing about the movie suggests that it was designed to be 3D. It simply is and that’s what makes the 3D aspect of it so successful.

Holy F-ing details! The reason you hear so many people say “I want to watch this movie again,” is probably the same reason I’m saying the same thing. This move is like the equivalent of the richest, darkest chocolate cake you have ever tasted. There is no way you can take it all in with just one bite. I have to see this movie several times just to absorb the amount of visual elements he packed into it. There is no way you can come out of this movie and not believe Pandora isn’t real! I love directors who do this. That’s what I loved about Lord of the Rings so much, the world was so elaborate and so much care was put into every frame regardless of where the focus of the scene was.

The only reason I probably won’t watch this movie in the theater again is because movies are too damn expensive and like I said before, the story itself is very simple. It’s just translated so well visually and of course it’s the first of its kind. It’s the new milestone marker for animated story telling for sure. I love it when technology rises to meet visionary ideas. Avatar is definitely an example of this. The fact that Cameron pushed the release date of the movie from May to December because not all theaters had 3D projectors speaks volumes to this. Not to mention he pushed the start of production from 1998 to 2006 in order to wait for CG technology to advance.

I spent like an hour and a half talking to Flipmax after the movie about it and few movies ever really awe me any more. And for a movie whose actual story line wasn’t that impressive, I’m still left with a profound impression of the film. It is soooo immersive that I think a lot of people will have a hard time parting with the world movie.

It is officially 1984

President Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize with a speech on the need for war. "Clear-eyed, we can understand that there will be war, and still strive for peace," he said.

I don’t think I’m the only one who still thinks this whole thing is just a tad awkward, the Nobel Peace Prize bit and all. However, after hearing that quote, all I could hear echoing in my ears is:

WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

I must start practicing my “doublethink” asap!!!!

Pass the Salt

Gotta love google. I’ve been trying to figure out why I crave salt so much. I go through periods of the year where I really crave salt. I always just assumed I love the taste so much. That might actually still be the case.

However, I did some research and found out there are typically two reasons why people crave salt. Yes, salt has several natural minerals in it that humans need. yadayadayada. We know that. But apparently table salt has most of those natural minerals filtered out of it. So that .007 ounces of natural salt we need per day is actually nil despite the fact that we consume shit tons of salt ever meal.

The other theory is that I might be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue which I had never even heard of until tonight. The adrenal gland is some 3 inch thingy that sits on top of your kidneys and produces essential hormones. During times of stress, you overwork these glands and they get stressed out too. Why that means you need more salt, I can’t quite figure out. I just know that adrenal fatigue does effect your blood sugar level.

The more I read on it, I think the adrenal thing is most likely my issue right now. I just read a bit on it where it talked about over stimulating your glands by taking too many stimulants..and of course I’m beyond stressed out from work. Apparently when we flood our system with “boosters” like caffeine, adrenaline from stress, and excitement from violence/challenges, it starts to max out our glands. The phrasing I read was “flooding the engine”…

OR it could be that I just love the taste of salt and my brain is looking to indulge itself?

In the meantime, I’m going to grab another soda, continue licking this salt off the pretzel sticks, and figure out how to not be stressed out anymore. lol.

Resources:

Adrenal Fatigue/Exhaustion

Ezine Articles

Natural Health Web

Blog-22

The fucked up thing about blogging these days is that you want to talk about shit that’s going down around you and concerning the people around you. However, everyone is online now and everyone usually knows where your blog is because, yea, sometimes you want to share your thoughts..but then you don’t want them to feel bad when you write about them.

I’m ISTJ. Introverted Sending Thinking Judging. My two highest are Introverted and Judging. I judge a lot. I observe people around me and situations and reflect upon them until they are inside out and over. A lot of times I have to write about these things to get them from jamming up my head. The last thing I’d want though is for people to think that I’m bashing them on a blog or using their grief or my grief as an exploit.

So anyhow, that’s why secret blogs are necessary…so you have a place to write the stuff you really want to write without fear of saying something wrong.

Alachia's Tweet Cloud 2009


Tweet Cloud 2009, originally uploaded by alachia.

Tweets aren't a very good indicator of following your personal life throughout the year but I'd say my tweet cloud is very characteristic of the way I interacted in the meta.

I was interested in seeing the word "house" in there. I didn't realize I had tweeted so much about my house selling and buying drama. lol. "Awesome" and "Love" are my go-to words for describing my delight with something so no surprise there.

Also not shocked to see "cupcake", "blog", and "night" in the cloud. I'm a night owl, I re-emerged my personal blog from the graveyard this year, and found a true love affair with all things cupcake.

The only word that puzzles me is "time"...why is "time" so large a word in my tweet bubble? I can't recollect using the word much or even why I would. weird.

And I'm just a little embarrassed that the word "woot" made it into my bubble. Thank god it's small! lol.

Happy Thanksgiving 2009

I am an ingrate most of the time. As much as I want to blame it on my culture, the truth is it’s just easier to be ungrateful than it is to find ways to be happy with your life.

But if I’m honest and forthcoming about my life, I should be shouting out how amazing my life is. If I come out of the bubble of being a sheltered American who is always lusting after MORE MORE MORE, I am beyond blessed.

I am grateful foremost for my family, my amazing family who love me beyond reason…who love me despite my inability to properly show them how much I love them back. I sometimes don’t know how they continue to be unconditional in their love for me but it’s something I strive to reciprocate.

This year I am particularly grateful for the ability to connect with people I have found to be my kindred. I realize most of these connections would not be possible without the medium of technology we have available today. Imagine that. How many people never found their intellectual soul mates back in the day? Now it’s far more possible to truly connect to people you would never have had the opportunity to otherwise.

Anyhow, I hate sappy posts. Happy Thanksgiving!

Crush

NoBS 4: You ever get that feeling that the people around you aren’t real? I mean they’re real as in they exist but their relationship to you is so intangible that you’re not sure what’s sincere or just fluff. I’ve been like this since high school I think.

People come and go and despite their uttering of friendship and even devotion, certain things just aren’t really that rooted under the surface. Most of the people I talk to don’t seem to mind this fleeting, surface friendship. They’re attitude is like “yeah.. cool, we hang out. if we don’t hang out, whatever”…

I never understand why I have this obsessive nature about friendships. I’m always looking to grow super deep roots and create blood bonds. I’d almost say it’s like I want to consume my closest friends which sounds a bit cannibalistic. lol. However the concept is actually pretty dead on in terms of absorbing someone into your own being. I guess that’s the part of me talking that never wants to let go…that wants a certain character or consciousness to never leave me.

I sometimes get real hopeful and optimistic about connecting with people. I call this my “crush” phase of a friendship. I’m so enamored by the person or find a quality in them that I really connect with… and I start thinking that we can establish something lasting. Unfortunately, most of my connections never make it past the “crush” stage. Inevitably, the person disappears or loses interest in the connection.

I’m not sure if my “friends” realize the effect they have on me..especially when they fade away. I’m pretty sensitive. Relationships that they may not have valued greatly leave grave indentions in my mind. And so many, many times, I find myself asking…what did I do wrong?

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Brrrrrrrrrr

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NoBS 3: I crawled into bed last night around 6:30am. Besides being tired from working all night, I was above all, freezing my ass off. Even with three thick blankets over me, two shirts, and two pairs of socks, my body was racking from shivers.

I tucked my fingers between my rib and arms but they felt like dry sticks of ice. I was miserable. It took me like an hour to fall asleep because I was shivering so much. I think I might need to invest in one of those electric blankets or something. The sad thing is that it probably wasn’t that cold…maybe in the high 40s outside?

I get cold once the room temperature drops to 78 Fahrenheit. My brain shuts down, my body shuts down and all I can think about is getting warm. This is why I’m so glad I live in Texas. People hate the summer months here because it averages out in the 100s most of the summer with very little rain or wind chill. I <3 it. I want summer back again.

Right now my space heater is set to HI and I’m wearing an over-sized fleece jacket. All I have to say is that I’m glad it’s TV night tonight because my brain can’t function. I hate it when I go into these grey states of existence. I want to wake up.

Working From Home


Working From Home, originally uploaded by alachia.

When the gang gets home from work, they are always full of stories of what happened and who said what and what went down. They get to talk about their day.

I never get asked how my day was. They all assume it's the same story and technically it kind of is. I won't have office gossip nor will I have something to say about what went down at work. As long as I get my work done, there isn't much to talk about really. These are the times where it does suck working from home and being by yourself all day.

But during my "work day" I actually have quite unique experiences that you don't get form working at the office. I'm privy to small comforts like the way my dog snores at my feet or how my cat inspects my drawings. And while I have no RL connections on a daily basis, I'm definitely privy to a whole world online that you can't access at most offices.

I do miss having office mates though and being able to chat with people about things going on at work or the world around us. There is something about that connection of convenience that gives you a strong sense of belonging. In fact, the connections at work I formed are so unique that all the former employees of my last job are getting together this Friday for lunch as we have a secret facebook Alumni club. :)

None of them I would consider good friends or hell, even friends. But it's that social bond and common experience that defines our humanity. We can live without it easily. I have had no problem adjusting into the life of a recluse but sometimes I do long for standard mundane physical connections.

But on days like today, when I was warm and secure in my office with my QTPI sleeping next to me and the Dessy perched on the napping couch, I was quite content.

My First Meteor Shower

NoBS 2:

So I think I’m going to stay up tonight and see if I can’t catch some of the Leonid Meteor shower. I’m constantly fascinated with the sky and the universe. Out there beyond what we will ever see in our lifetimes is a question that will NEVER be answered for me. I used to go into infinite loops in my head about infinity and finite boundaries of existence.

I try not to go too macro with my thoughts anymore. I find I have such a hard time focusing on the micro things that worrying about things beyond my comprehension of understanding is futile. Who cares if the universe is shrinking or expanding if I can’t even find time to do my laundry.

So I’ll go out and check the sky in an hour or so. It’s nearly 45 degrees Fahrenheit out there so I’m going to have to find a thick jacket and a warm hat. Luckily, I live out in the boonies now so there are few lights and the stars come in so clear that I often feel like I’m watching a HD video of they night time sky. It is beautiful. I just wish someone could point out the constellations to me. The only one I remember is Orion’s belt.

If I actually catch this meteor shower, it’ll be my first one…or at least the first one I can remember. So crazy imagining that many meteors bombarding the earth’s atmosphere. boom boom boom. Man, I need to go see 2012 this week.

Baggy Pants

NoBS 1:

Sometimes I just want people to shock me with being honest. I’d love to see the non perfected side of a person. I’m sure there are plenty of selfish and flawed people out there. I’m not saying that I don’t see that. I do. But even those people have a hard time just showing their baggy pants side.

Don’t brush your hair back, don’t sweep the strands back. Sometimes I just want to see someone in their raw state with simple little flaws and mundane boring streaks.

All around me, people are telling me they are honest but what they are really being is shocking or bold or an asshole. It’s all show and it’s incredibly hard to peel back layers when people present themselves in perfect little blurbs.

We were just talking about the state of presentation in Bindpoint the other day. We’re now a society of 15 second attention spans and our insatiable desire for instant gratification limits how we value content these days.

We don’t care if we get someone or understand something. All we care about is are we entertained? Am I still bored? If yes, then skip to the pictures or move onto the next video. Most of us can’t even finish a single article or a thirty second Youtube video because we get bored so fast. Is it the content? Or is it us? or both?

I’m guilty guilty guilty of not reading articles anymore. I just skip around to the bullet points and glaze over the pictures. I find most blogs uninteresting and the few that I keep bookmarked have nothing to do with the best tips or tricks or news on the latest gadget. The blogs I value the most are from people who will write a post on how they almost forgot to buy stamps at the store or how they noticed a weird tree formation on the way home. It’s not for show, it’s just for sharing and logging thoughts down.

After our reflections on this meta cultural shift, Jaminbee from Bindpoint came up with a proposal/experiment for us all to counter our growing need to only do things for entertainment and show. We’re to journal/blog three times out of the week with a few guidelines. We can’t edit our post (to avoid tweaking for “readers”), we can’t post pics (so that our content is free flowing thought rather than illustrated by bullets or pics), and we must post three times a week (so we are forced to start writing about every day things). This is to go on until the start of 2010. I’m going to do my best to keep it up with probably a few extra blogs where I can post pics. :)

So yaya! Now I have a great carass of bloggers to appreciate the non perfect acts of our lives with… Cheers to Jaminbee for this exciting new experiment. I think I’m mostly just excited to be collaborating with the group and hopefully getting to see their baggy pants side soon.

I Don’t Regret It

I tried so hard to fight taking a nap this afternoon but I couldn’t help myself. I actually crashed on two couches. I started downstairs but the sound of an axe on wood bothered me (Sahd is building a bench out of spare cedar logs in the backyard). I moved upstairs to my favorite couch and bam…. next thing I knew the sun was setting.

Now I’m totally wired and it’s 1:28am. We went to eat at Taint and Tivi’s house this evening. They cooked curry fish, fried eggs, sweet and sour chicken, and stir fry veggies. We topped it off with a slice from the 7lb chocolate cake they bought at Costco’s. OMG.

We went walking afterwards for about an hour and stopped at their neighborhood recreation center. While the rest of them went to tackle the weight machines and such, I danced around in the free dance studio. I figured I would have tired myself out by now but I’m still wide awake.

I think I’m still a bit stressed from dealing with WoW-related things. The game has proven to be quite stressful lately in dealing with people who refuse to commit to a static raid schedule. It seems that in-game as in real life, people want their cake and to eat it too. Then want the revolving door raid where they can breeze in and out whenever it’s most convenient for them while the rest of us suffer. We put in the time and want to push forward but are limited on lack of commitments from a few. I’m teetering on the notion of taking another extended break until after the holidays. This might give people a chance to bow out without feeling guilty.

When all around me, all I hear is people dismayed with having to play the game, it makes me crumble a little. I don’t want to play with people who don’t appreciate the experience. It makes you feel bad. I don’t want people blaming me for wasting years of their life on something they’d rather not be doing. I always feel like if you aren’t going to look back on this time and say, “I really did enjoy it despite all the ups and downs” then raiding isn’t probably for you.

I hate hearing “I could have been hanging out with friends or family all this time” or “I will probably look back on this time and think I have wasted my life on this stupid game.” It really makes me sad. One, they are probably playing for the wrong reasons and two, they never got the potential of what this experience can be…

I know it might sound pathetic but I’m one of those people who looks back on my time in WoW and appreciate the memories as valid experiences. Even when I was soloing by myself or the bad times of dealing with crazy evil epeen freaks, I felt like those times reflect me doing something I wanted to. They are as valid to me as my memories of going hiking or dancing or having fights with friends. *shrug* I guess I have never had issues with validating my online experiences as “real ones.”

Hmmm. I wonder if I should have posted this under the WoWcast blog. Oh well. It’s here now and the “flip side” is always a little darker :)

I guess I’ll go research blogger templates now. I’m working on redoing the Warcast website. I hope I tire out soon. I’m a bit annoyed with thinking about this stuff.

NHS President- me?

I was thumbing through my old senior High School yearbook this evening. I was the Editor of the yearbook so I was kind of gleaming through it thinking of ways to creatively set up layouts and to see if I’ve improved any over the years. Sadly, the answer is not much. lol.

However, I noticed something shocking. I was the president of the National Honor Society! I totally don’t remember it really. After seeing the NHS page and a picture of me giving a speech, I sort of remembered talking during a meeting. I don’t have much recollection past that. You’d think I would considering it seems like a big deal but apparently it wasn’t.

That’s the funny thing isn’t it? That things you think are so important, especially those things society projects as important can end up meaning nothing in a few years… to the point where you don’t even remember it! I don’t even think the title served me at all in terms of college applications. The schools I applied to only cared what your SAT score was.

I’m guessing I won the title by default because I wasn’t very popular in High School. It was probably one of those volunteer to do it type things where everyone else was like “meh, I can’t be bothered to deal with this silly nonsense” and I probably stepped up thinking it would help me with my college apps.

I find similarities to this thinking in my world today. All the things I used to bend over backwards for thinking “this is of value” when in truth, it has very little value. Being in the field of Architecture, my earlier career was obsessing about getting our firm’s design exposed and not just garnering jobs from the exposure but trying to aim for the prestige of it. My boss was obsessed with becoming as famous as his boss was.

About 4 years later, a billion unpaid over time work hours later, I started to question my ideals about prestige, fame, and recognition. At the end of the day, after all the hard work had been done, if all you’re doing is trying to seem important to others, how much are you really investing in yourself? We were all climbing all over each other in hopes to feel important without really realizing our lives had dwindled into nothing.

I’m not trying to say that ambition is worthless and shallow. My issue wasn’t in wanting to be somebody great, it was wanting to be more than I was for someone other than me. I needed to feel like I was important so I pushed myself to meaningless statures in society. It wasn’t so I would feel great about myself, it was so I could feel like other people thought I was great. And in the end, it nearly drove me insane.

I quit my job at the point of breaking and went on a sabbatical for a year and after many months of self-reflecting, I finally figured out what did make me feel great and what types of things in my life were worth being ambitious about… And no title or social envy and admiration can help me accomplish it. Geeze, how did I get so off topic? Anyhow, what gives me that high now is in celebrating moments of genuine connections and flourishing creative outbursts. Heeeeeeeeyah!

The Shave


The Shave, originally uploaded by alachia.

A few days ago, Sahd and Taint made a deal to shave their heads. Sahd has been itching to shave all his hair off for some time. He's not one for vanity so he's not one to be bothered with stylish hair. He'd rather look weird than have to deal with combing his hair in the morning. It's a shame too because he looks quite dashing with longer hair.

Men are lucky for this reason...that they can belong to the awkward handsome category that eludes women. Not that some women don't look crazy sexy with short hair because I have seen several that are but it's not because they look awkward.

We set up shop in the garage after dinner since raid got canceled. Taint went first and it was definitely the most fun because he was indifferent to the situation and had the most hair. Sahd took a pair of scissors and went across his bangs near the scalp and made him look like he was wearing something from a Wigs-R-Us Reject pile. lol. At that point, there was no going back.

We shaved off Sahd's hair next and it was clear he was very happy about the situation. He was smiling non stop. We started out with a four guard which turned out looking quite nicely. It made him look younger. However, he was unsatisfied with the dramatic nature of the cut and demanded we go to a two guard! At that point, his hair cut took a quick turn for the worst! He remains oblivious to the aesthetic outcome of his hair though.....he just cares that it's convenient and cool (temperature-wise).

By the time they were both finished, there was a huge pile of hair all over the floor. It surprised me because you never think men have that much hair but it was an impressive pile. We tried to convince Flipmax to join the cult of shaved heads but he refused. Next time we shall tie him up and force him. The cult needs more members of course. :)

I had a momentary urge to shave my hair as well but I have a feeling no one would have let me. Plus, despite my great desire to cut my hair right now, I'm still growing it out to donate to locks for love. I have about four more inches to go depending on how short I plan to cut it.

Family Dinners


Dinner Night: Hamburgers, originally uploaded by alachia.

While I might be quite liberal when I think of our culture, I realize that I am actually very traditional when it comes to family. I believe in strong family roots and the unconditional love that comes with it.

The most important people in my life aren't the people who entertain me the most or keep me intellectually stimulated. They aren't the people who even "get me" the best. Sometimes it doesn't even make sense as to what keeps families together but it's a bond I respect without reason.

Ever since my brother's girlfriend moved to a house about 6 minutes away, we've all been eating together on a regular basis. Usually we cook dinners together on raid nights + Thursday to watch tv shows together. It's really nice since we all enjoy each other's company... hahaha or at least I do.

We've all compiled a list of things we can cook. One of them is supposed to write a program to randomize the list and produce a grocery list from our selections. (they're all programmers). The thing I cook best is spaghetti so far and that took me years to master. lol. I also make a decent pretzel crusted chicken.

Gonna do my best to keep a photo journal of our dinners.

Austin City Limits 2009

I got a twitter message from @obiwanadobe last Thursday saying he had an extra ticket to ACL festival and invited me to go. I was free Saturday so I said yes, we had been meaning to hook up for lunch for quite a while anyhow. We met at Whole Foods for lunch and then walked down to Zilker Park for the Austin City Limits Festival.

It was about a mile walk and it was great. I love walks to destinations. I hate exercise for the sake of exercise but I'm not afraid to walk miles and miles to reach a somewhere I want to go. I'm weird like that I guess. Louis was really cool about letting me stop and take pics along the way. I kept assuring him we'd eventually get to ACL.

When we rounded the corner of Lamar and Barton Springs, I almost died when I saw all the "glass vendors". There was so much smoke and even when we got to the festival you'd see puffs of smoke coming up from various spots in the crowd. I thought to myself, so this is what it must be like to live in the Netherlands.

This was my first ACL and it was a wet one indeed! It rained all day with spotches of sprinkles and down pours. I'd turn to Louis and say, "Oh look the raining is finally clearing!" and then two seconds later it would start pouring again. doh! The music was great. I wish I had brought a chair though because my feet hurt a lot.

I was wearing galoshes because I hate having wet feet and I knew it'd be raining quite a bit. Turns out it was a super smart decision because wet + rain + lawn = mud bath by the end of the night. I ended up equipping my Winnie the Pooh Raincoat AND a poncho. Louis said he liked the rain and got totally soaked! His mom would not be proud.. my mom would have been totally proud of me. heh. I looked like a rubber trashbag.

The music does not disappoint at ACL. Even if you don't like the type of music a lot, the performances are just great and totally authentic..none of that over produced crap. You can tell the artists LOVE their music.

Saturday night finished off with DMB (Dave Matthews Band) and by that time the whole lawn was brown slush. A group of people ended up just saying fuck it and became one with nature. I called them the mud people. They were doing slip and slides all in the lawn and dancing and trying to hug people.

I definitely plan on going again next year! Louis kept apologizing for the rain but I thought the experience of it being totally wet and raining added to the fun. How often does one get to play in the rain?


More pics- Full Slideshow:

Cupcake Tree


Cupcake Tree, originally uploaded by alachia.

My brother's girlfriend bought me a cupcake tree this week. I think she saw me ogling one at Macy's awhile back. I've always wanted one seeing how it's a great way to present cupcakes.

It was a great gift and it gave me a great excuse to make cupcakes. These are yellow cake with vanilla frosting. The next batch I plan on making are going to be red velvet with a butter cream frosting.

I'm a big fan of sprinkles as you can see. They make every cupcake look about 110x better. I wish I knew more people around me who liked cupcakes because I'd make a ton more if I knew it wasn't just going to be me eating them. :D

For the record, I am guilty of eating about 3 in one sitting at minimum hence I refrain from baking them too often!

Same Temperature as Jeppy


Same Temp as Jeppy, originally uploaded by alachia.

I normally keep a weather widget on my desktop for both Austin and London so I can keep tabs on the time it is for my friend Jeppy. He lives on some island south of London. You never realize how much time sucks until you have international friends..then time is never on your side.

Anyhow, today I was particularly cold this morning. Normally I'm scorching hot in my office because of the heat but I found myself shivering like crazy. I looked at my temperature widgets and noticed it was 64 degrees Fahrenheit (17.8 Celsius) and it's almost mid day! Normally it's breeching 99 degrees by midday.

I just found it interesting that it's the exact temperature in London right now as well. We're synced! How cool is that? But as much as I like sharing things with my friends, I might have to pass on the cold weather. :) It's not supposed to get this cold until January! hehehe.

Fully Wired

So I know being able to say you’re house is fully wire for gigabit network transfers and high speed internet would be “eh cool I guess” to some people, for me it’s like WOAH Hella cool shit!!

I’m so used to having to make 50ft ethernet cables and stringing them along walls and under doors etc. In my old house, I even had one going out of the house through the back porch to my office. It looks messy and can be inconvenient.

This new house came wired with cat5e telephone jacks everywhere in the house. (who the hell still uses telephone jacks!?) The problem was somehow using those wires for networking instead. I had my brother come over and take a look at the networking hub. After a bunch of research and some trial and error, it was determined that we couldn’t just use the existing wiring in the hub. We thought maybe if we just switched the plates in each room, it’d work. Eh! wrong.

So we went to best buy and bought a gigabit Netgear 16 port switch that would support the 13 wires coming into the hub. The tedious part was taking apart all the existing wiring and hooking them into the ethernet switches. And in case anyone was wondering, you can use cat 6 connections with cat5e wiring.

I got really fast at them by the time I was on the 9th one. lol. Brown, brown white, orange, orange white, green white, blue white, green, blue! That’s the order I assembled it in. We had a good system going. Taint would strip the existing plates, I’d rewire for the new plates, Taint would check the signal with his laptop and Sahd would trim the wires and put the new plates back into the wall.

It is totally exciting having a house that is fully wired in each room. Wireless is great, don’t get me wrong but having the option to jack in anywhere is just pure awesomeness. ALL houses should be built pre-wired. I don’t know why it’s not a standard yet.

PS. I learned a lot today. It was fun. I love networking that doesn't involve fake socializing. LAWL.

Heartless

I thought this was a fitting post given the events that happened at the VMAs with Kanye. That’s the problem with following the personal lives of artist, it can really effect how you view the music. And artists tend to be even more flawed than most.. I think it’s part of having 90% creativity flowing through your veins. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for rationalizing or being self-aware. In fact, to be a bold artist you sort of have to forsake those values to produce what they do.

For example, I had to stop following John Mayer on twitter because his tweets were getting beyond self-absorbed and less of it was him as it was about the “idea he thought of himself”… often tweeting as if everything he did was part of some greater vision. It was exhausting to read and at the same time made me start to appreciate his music less and everyone who knows me knows I love me some Mayer like nothing else. So I always say now that their personal lives are their own but their music is what belongs to me.

In any case, I thought this cover of Kanye’s song Heartless was appropriate and beautiful. The Fray did a great cover and the art concept of the video is just awesome. I love doodle art.

Burning Man


Burning Man Mosaic, originally uploaded by alachia.

I had no idea this even existed until tonight when @Azyxa linked me some incredible photos of the event. I couldn't use them in the mosaic because they are copy righted but here's a link: http://flickr.com/gp/loupiote/29YW8C

It's this crazy festival of community, art, and self-expression called Burning Man that happens every year out in the dessert. Over 40k+ people attend and participate in it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_Man). It just seems absolutely amazing. I absolutely love the idea of art merging with humanity and vise versa.

Art and Community are becoming extinct in most of the US. You see the evidence of this in our architecture and how we spend most of our daily lives. We've fallen in love with predictabilty, tradition, and independence. It must be amazing to throw yourself into an event like this and perhaps discover parts of your nature you never thought existed. I am totally amazed. They even have a Thunderdome! lol.

Read to Go


Read to Go, originally uploaded by alachia.

Everything was set for the move on Monday. Movers scheduled for Tuesday, Uhaul pick up at noon, installers coming on Wednesday.

There is one problem! Monday morning, I get a call saying that the lenders are still tied up with the paper work. Apparently when the house was surveyed, the guy named the property as 123 Generic North Rd instead of 123 N. Generic Rd.

This was enough to stop the entire lending process and once they halt one aspect of the process they stop everything entirely. Every day has been waiting and calling and stressing out. I only took this week off for the move and have a business trip next week so this really has to get done ASAP.

What pisses me off is our Mortgage broker who signed with the lenders. I'm thinking to myself, "WTF is supposed to be flexible about a closing date?!" This is not a date you f*ck with damnit. It's not something you can just say "yeah, we'll see how it goes.. maybe in a few days." These people act like they've never loaned money before. It's totally ridiculous. Don't ever pick up a loan from Provident. They have awesome interest rates and are solid lenders but their paper work process has a reputation of royally f*cking people.

I just have to hope the seller stays calm and doesn't decide to break the contract which he'd be well in his right to do... but then the house would go back on the market and he'd have to hope another buyer comes a long. I'm a pretty patient person but this is really wearing on my nerves. At the earliest, the closing date will be Thursday now. :(

Wicked Musical A+


Wicked Stage, originally uploaded by alachia.

I went to go see the Broadway Musical Tour of Wicked last night at the Bass Concert Hall (Austin). I was definitely not disappointed at all. I had no idea really what to expect and I honestly thought I might not like it as much because I had heard nothing but good things. (you know the old saying about hype)

However, it definitely lived up to the hype. Sometimes with musical productions either the music carries the show or the story does. In this case, it was both. I was very impressed with most of the musical numbers. It helped though that they had Marcie Dodd playing Ephalba (one of the lead characters).

This woman's voice was just incredibly amazing. When she did her first semi-solo musical number "The Wizard and I" you could tell the whole audience wanted to give a standing ovation if it weren't for the fact that the musical was still going.

While the rest of the cast was also very good, they were definitely overshadowed by Marcie's talent. I'm not sure if that's the way it's supposed to be with musicals but I didn't mind it.

The only two comments about the show was that I longed for a just a little bit more eye-candy with the stage set design and production. Often times, there would be numbers that involved a color drop curtain and spotlights. The other thing would be that Colin Donnell who played Fiyero was completely understaged by Marcie. I would have liked to have heard a stronger voice paired with her. He was still a great actor though and had amazing stage presence.

Other than that, I totally loved it. The story line, the singing, the whole atmosphere of the production was perfecto. After curtain close and a standing ovation everyone left the theater saying nothing but wonderful things. Everyone wanted to get their hands on the soundtrack. If they were selling CDs outside, I'm sure there would have been a line as long as the yellow brick road goes!

A+

Xeriscaping


Xeriscape I, originally uploaded by alachia.

Xeriscaping is a funny word, I know but it's quite an amazing technique for landscaping. It's been around for quite some time but hasn't really hit mainstream yet. You hear about it it a lot in those up to do magazines that are all about green solutions.

What it all amounts to is water conservation. You use natural plants of the environment that are usually very drought tolerant and require minimal water and maintenance. This means giving up those luscious green lawns and San Fran flowers but as a trade off, you get to throw away your lawn mower. :)

I'll be adding more plants and vegetation to the front and backyard for sure but I'll be keeping xeriscape plants in mind when I do it. As much as I love colorful flowers, I'm going to try and sacrifice my need for tasting the rainbow in order to conserve water.

Nap Time


Nap Time, originally uploaded by alachia.

I used to take a lot of naps in college. I think it was mostly the late nights in the studio and having 8am labs and such. There was nothing more delicious and delightful than letting my mind slip out of consciousness for a few hours out of the day.

Hell, I'd say back then it was even a hobby! But now I never take naps. In fact, I hate the idea of sleeping. I'm not sure what changed. I guess I feel like sleeping makes me lose time. I feel like awareness is a huge virtue and I like having my eyes open all the time.

I owe a lot of that to my life in the meta where every day always shows me something new. I'm addicted to discovering new sights, new cultures, and just exploring the people I've met (without ever having to leave my desk nonetheless). I find even the smallest details about people delectable. And the ability to share and connect is getting easier and easier.

That being said, I still like the idea of naps. I like the idea of peace and rest. I strived really hard in this house to create guest bedrooms that would sponge people and suck them in so they feel nothing but relaxed. (insert jokes about pits in the basement here). There's nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable when you're in another person's home. I guess the only drawback is when you can't get them to leave. heheh.

The sheets on this bed are 100% modal (from BBB) which I discovered this year. They are far better than the highest count of Egyptian Cotton in my opinion. They are as soft as cotton but also have a silky feel while still being warm. Sometimes when I lay on this guest bed, I feel like I'm in a sea of chocolate silk.

As for the comforter, it's micro-suede, nothing fancy and was super cheap. Most people don't believe me when I tell them where I bought it (Walmart). The accent pillows were a present my mom made for me. She is somehow gifted with the talent of sewing which I hope to one day acquire as well. :)

If you ever visit me, this is most likely the bed I'd put you in because it's my favorite. I'm not sure if I'll add another brown accent wall in the new house though but we'll see.

Meta Footprint

I entered Alachia into this cool visualization output tool done by MIT. (http://personas.media.mit.edu/personasWeb). It combined the meta for all digital traces of my existence and compiled this data.

Unfortunately, my name is borrowed from other unique character in the verse who has a lot of data written about her. Queen Alachia of the Blood Elves from an RPG table top fantasy game I used to play. I think that’s why there are a lot of visualizations regarding “books” and “genealogy” in that composite.

I’m fascinated mostly though by the difference in meta output from Alachia and my real name. Because when I entered my real name I got an entirely different result. I don’t exist online as my RL name.

I am not exactly surprised by this at all as I’ve taken great efforts to separate the two identities and leave the one that is most insignificant behind in the RL.

I am quite happy to see that I, Alachia, am able to visualize a completely meta footprint after all.

I'm not ashamed of my RL self at all. We're one in the same really. It's just that her identity, the one bearing my real name, doesn't have much meaning. Just as the visualization tool findings, there is no substance to that identity. I've actually contemplated on changing my RL name at one point but then realized I like the flexibility the duality of existences provides me.

The Wasp and I


The Wasp and I (1/3), originally uploaded by alachia.

Despite rumors about my likeness for the great outdoors, I do actually enjoy warm summer breezes and chilling outside. One of my favorite things to do this summer while working is to kick open the balcony doors and let air circulate.

Today however, I was working and looked up from my monitor to this annoying bbzzzzt bbzzzt sound. There was this gigantic wasp bzzing all over my ceiling.

I tried to lure it out the door by waving around my arm sleeves near it. It panicked and went to desk window instead and lodged itself there. This is when we had a thirty minute stand-off.

After rattling the blinds for about 10 minutes, I was finally able to get it to come down in range for me to beat it with my note pad. However, it would keep playing hide and seek with me inside the window.

This is when I got bored during the stand off and started taking pics of it. lol. I was so terrified it would come and sting me while I was snapping shots.

It finally came down enough for me to beat it scared with my note book and it bolted for the door which I then shut and locked (yeah locked).

I wonder why people think I have something against nature and the outdoors? hmmm. I dunno. damn pesky outdoor aliens! that's why!

Austin Photowalk aka Paparazzi Tour

I went on the Austin Photowalk hosted by Trey Ratcliff last night. It was a public event which started at the Driskill Hotel on 6th street. I think about 70+ people showed up. Huge turn out.

When I stepped inside the Victorian Room which is where we started the meeting, I noticed EVERYONE had a DSLR. Maybe like three other people like myself had a point and shoot (meh Cannon G10 FTW!) Lol. Talk about feeling inadequate.

But for me right now, it has been more important to actually get the shot than worry about the quality of the shot. Once I get into the habit of taking photos, then I’ll worry about upgrading.

The walk was from the Driskill hotel up to the State Capital and back. I only made it to the Capitol Building and then decided not to go back to the hotel for “drinks”….

The only conversation I had was with a guy who asked me, “is that a clicker?” He wanted to know if I was using a point and shoot camera which I thought was an odd question considering I was one of the only people there with a camera lens that is attached to the camera. I wasn’t sure if he was trying to make me feel bad but decided he was just genuinely curious because he was very friendly.

Once I told him it was a G10, he was like, “oh that’s more than a point and shoot. You know you can attach lenses to that?” And I didn’t really know that so I thanked him for the info and asked him how he liked his Canon DSLR and he told me he’d rather have the Nikon. lol.

While I didn’t really learn anything or talk to anyone, it was just great to be able to feel comfortable taking photographs in public. And I think I got some really great shots which I’ll be posting and working into HDRs soon.

Oh and while I only talked to one other photographer, I talked to about five total strangers who kept asking me what the heck was going on…. they wanted to know if it was a photography class or if we were some crazy paparazzi crew. Willie Nelson was apparently downtown as well so they thought it had something to do with him.

I’m hoping there will be more events like this and that as it continues, the numbers will start to get smaller and so I’ll have more of a chance to get to know people. I’m waaaaaay too shy to talk to people in large settings.

Honor

 chillistwotwent

I went out with my brother and his quasi girlfriend today to help her look for bathroom stuff for her new house. After we finished shopping, we met up with Sahd to go eat at Chilli’s for dinner. They’re having this special right now offering up a 3 course meal for twenty bucks. It’s quite a deal.

Anyhow, we get our checks and have the waitress split it down the middle (2 and 2) and the total comes out to 15 bucks. I rarely pay attention to my bills and probably would have signed off on it and not have thought anything of it.

However, Sahd pointed out that there had to be a mistake because it probably should have been closer to 25 bucks each. He didn’t want the waitress to get into trouble so he called her back to tell her of the mistake. She ended up just letting it slide because she didn’t want to bother her manager about it but she thanked us for pointing out the correction.

Not many people are honorable in this culture anymore..especially when it comes to money. And although I would probably have been aloof to the situation, I had to ask myself I would have done the same? The sad thing is that I’m unsure of the answer.

I think mine would have been conditional upon how much I liked the waiter or waitress. I have less sympathy I think for large franchises and such. I know for sure I’ve walked out of stores like Fry’s or Best Buy knowing they’ve made fortunate mistakes at the counter… which landed me free DVDs and such.

However, whenever I find someone’s wallet full of cash, I would never even think twice about taking the money. I’d return it just as I found it even though I could easily claim I had found it empty. I guess my code of ethics tends to swing more liberal whenever I feel it’s less personal? I don’t know. I guess I might not be as honorable as Sahd.

Chapter 32: Adults

miserablecreature

So there I am.... Eleven year old me is punching a kid named Joshua because his brother was beating up my brother. It’s the first time I ever took a punch and the last time. It’s also the last time I ever threw a punch. Both the taking and the throwing hurt quite a bit, knuckle on skull is quite like punching a wooden board.

One of the daycare supervisors comes over and separates us and of course I explain my story about how I threw this kid's brother off of my brother and he came over and assaulted me. This had been an ongoing occurance for sevearl months. The adult turns to me and says, “you can’t defend your brother. He has to learn how to defend himself and boys will be boys.”

This felt very unnatural to me of course because my brother is my life blood. My family is the only thing of real value to me. Yet here was this adult telling me a different set of rules I was to go by. I was raised to have respect for authority so when an adult tells me something, I felt like it was the law. As punishment, I was sent to sit out in the sun by the playground gate for three hours on the concrete sidewalk. None of the childcare providers at that daycare ever did anything to break up any of the fights as I thought they believed little boys fighting was part of a social right of passage or something. Later, my brother had to have surgery on his nose from all the punches he took.

You see, the word ADULT meant something to me back then because I thought that age automatically meant that the person knew what they were doing or saying and that adults were never wrong.

When I think back to that incident years later, it occurs to me that I was being supervised, looked after, and guided by a 20 year old. What the f*ck do they know?! Nothing but to a kid, you think they know everything. This thought now terrifies me.

I see this even more so now after having gone through college and graduate school and now am friends with people who have become teachers themselves. You sit in the classroom, thinking that you’re getting an education from someone who knows what they’re talking about or that you can trust them to truly educate you.


whyteacher This is NOT the case. I good majority of teachers as it turns out are people who you had absolutely no respect for in college, the guys and girls who barely made it out and couldn’t find anything to specialize in… and yes, gross generalization. I KNOW there are GOOD teachers out there but in retrospect, I encountered so few of them growing up. Case in point, my fifth grade teacher Mrs. Castillo who was furious at me for learning how to shortcut fraction multiplications on my own and trying to teach my friends a concept she could not figure out herself even after she asked me to prove it on the board. Or the 8th grade math teacher who taught the entire class that scalene triangle had equal sides.

Yes, humans are prone to mistakes but knowing what I know now, I can’t help but be a bit horrified at how much faith I put into “adults”…considering I’m looking at my “peers” now and realizing THESE are the “adults” I used to look up to and admire.

PS. Don’t scoff at that t-shirt. Almost all the people I know who became teachers cited at least two of those reasons. And NONE of them ever cited a passion for teaching to be a reason.

PPS. Most of this has been spurred on by a number of people I know who have children actually. It’s just an observation I’ve had of seeing some of the most WTF people go on to give birth to another human being of which they are raising and guiding into future humans. I don’t even feel qualified myself to be called an Adult but apparently, as it turns out, there isn’t much qualification for that after all. Not only that but this is rather a moot point now as the culture has shifted. Adults have lost that respect from children in this last decade. I wonder why?

Instant Access

My mom called me yesterday three times on my cell phone while I was taking a shower. When I finally got back to her, she was upset that I had not picked up the phone immediately. She is not the only one who gets testy when I do not immediately answer my phone.

For some reason, people have gotten it into their heads that when someone doesn’t answer their phone right away they are either mad at you or don’t want to talk to you. Somehow, we’ve become a society demanding instant access to people 24/7.

I remember a time when you’d go out and come back and never know how many phone calls you may or may not have missed. We never had caller ID and we didn’t pick up an answering machine for quite some time. Yet somehow, life managed to continue. lol.

Now, even if we’re in the middle of something, we’re expected to at least reply back with a txt or excuse ourselves and answer the phone. I even remember sitting across the table from a friend eating dinner while he was on the phone the ENTIRE meal.

So yeah, if I don’t answer my phone right away, it’s probably because I was busy or maybe I just don’t want to chit chat at the moment. There used to be a time when that was okay. lol.

How the Realtor ruined my Lunch


Monday Lunch, originally uploaded by alachia.

No sooner than I sat down to eat my lunch, I got a call from a Realtor saying she was going to show my house. I told her that was fine and to call me when she was about five minutes out because I work from home and would need to leave.

I then ran around and got the house ready which includes putting away all traces of human life and turning on all the lights and making sure the air is sufficiently low in temperature (hence my enormous electricity bill this past month of $305).

I had just enough time to scarf down my lunch which I hate doing because you know how much I love to enjoy my food. Just as I was throwing away the plate, the Realtor called and said she was five minutes out.

I grabbed a few Martha Living Magazines and headed out the door and parked up the street like I normally do in fine stalker fashion. I then waited....and waited....and waited. Five minutes turned into 45 before I finally gave up and went back inside the house.

I called the Realtor and left a voice mail telling her that I had returned home and if she decided to show the house, she should call me. I was super civil considering how pissed off I was. As much as you want to tell these Realtors off about how irresponsible they are...you have to be nice to all of them...as they all have potential buyers at their will.

This is really a buyers market right now and Sellers are pretty much left on all fours taking it up the rear....and NOT in a good way. lol.

Sunday 10am-10pm

This Sunday was one of those RL busy days spent hanging out with real life people. As I really no longer have RL friends in Austin anymore, most of my socializing happens with my brother and his friends.

Today we went and ate at Rudy’s for lunch at 11am. Morning lunches are the worst for me. I usually don’t take lunch until 3pm if at all. I did however still manage to scarf down a half link and a moist brisket sandwich.

We then hopped over to the theater and caught a 12:50pm showing of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The movie was uber MEH for me but I’ve never been a huge Harry Potter fan. It had very little character development as usual and the plot was lackluster and quite boring. I mostly go for the CG fantasy eye candy.

Best part of going to the movies today though was getting to see the preview for 2012. I had only seen the teaser trailer for 2012 with the water overtaking the monk in the tower. This extended trailer is bad ass. I just love apocalyptic movies and this one seems like it’s not going to disappoint with the visual aspects. 

After the movie, we headed to Amy’s Ice Cream and I ordered a cup of vanilla icecream with peanut butter cup mixins. I was hoping to get a strawberry shortcake like they have at Marble’s Slab but Amy’s sucks with its variety of desserts.

Next door to Amy’s Ice Cream was a Five Guys Burger which boasts some of the best hamburgers and fries which I was hoping to get to try out for dinner. However, after eating ice cream, everyone was pretty full so we hung out at a friend’s house for a few hours watching cable television. CABLE? what’s that. heheh. I actually ended up dozing a bit while they were watching Pirates of the Caribbean.

By the time everyone was hungry again, it was too late to go eat at Five Guys.  :( so we ate at Carrabbas Itallian Grill which was seriously over-priced and not that great. I got the Chicken Marsala, a mini appetizer of Fried Calamari, and a Cannoli shot glass dessert I couldn’t even finish because it was so gross. 

I’m going to treat myself to some Nilla Cakesters tomorrow to make up for the icky dessert. :D

Photo Walk


HDR 12: Bucket, originally uploaded by alachia.

Ever since @jemimus introduced me to the StuckinCustoms blog, I've been head over heels in love with HDR photography. I just absolutely love the effect these photos have. They really do capture that essence of a camera "stealing your soul"....or in most HDR cases, "stealing the essence of the scene"

The "dynamic range" of the altered HDR image helps enrich the experience which is so commonly associated with the "you just had to be there" feeling. Anyhow, it wasn't until recently that I discovered @treyratcliff (the hdr expert behind stuckincustoms) actually lives in Austin, Texas.

Yesterday, he posted a news clip of him inviting people out to photowalk being hosted for August 6th in downtown Austin. I really want to go but my agoraphobia is totally kicking in.... I just know if I don't go though I'll totally regret it.

It's not often you get an opportunity to immerse yourself in an RL community and one that is hosted by an expert of something you're so passionate about. I should totally go. I hope I find the courage to do so.

Degrees of OCD


Order in the Closet, originally uploaded by alachia.

What's the difference between being OCD and just anal? I think it has to do with the degree of your psychosis when it comes to perceived order.

Some people really can't step on cracks in sidewalks or they have to do things in sets of twelve...that's probably what I call REAL OCD. I think I fall more under the category of anal than obsessive compulsive although it's still up for debate.

For example, I have to have all my blinds close in the same direction, I can't stand having patterns display upside down, and I tend to wash my hands in sets of two. In my closet, I like to have everything organized by type of clothing and often times I start ordering by darks and lights. I mostly have dark clothing so it's pretty easy. lol.

Today, I got a little annoyed by my anal OCD-ness though when I found myself turning myself around after I had spun 180 degrees in one direction. To come full circle would have been the sensible thing to do but I felt like I was winding myself so I "unwound" myself by going 180 in the opposite direction.

I'm going to have to work on that type of behavior because that's the sort of OCD that will make you a nightmare to be around.

Got Wood?

IMG_4325

Well, the house has been on the market for over 60 days now, roughly two months. Selling the house has been such a stress in my life at the moment (I know qq more right?)…but it does take its toll.

This is the first time I’ve ever done the house selling thing. I hope I never have to do it again. You have to constantly keep the house in a museum state and you have to be ready to vacate at all times and NO ONE tells you what you need to know up front.

For example, the kitchen flooring was done with this horribly cheap vinyl flooring crap that has started to rise and peel. No one ever said, “look, it’s expensive to get new flooring but it will literally be the difference between selling the house in 2 weeks and 3 months.”

Everyone has commented on the flooring issue and the rationale for leaving it is as is was “if they don’t like the flooring, the price can be adjusted for new flooring installation.” What they don’t tell you is that NO ONE wants to deal with getting new flooring when buying a new house.

So that brings me to today…where I spent a good portion of my Saturday looking at hardwood floors trying to decide between style and budget. SOOO fun. NOT. The best part is that flooring is a total biatch to shop for because of the layers of pricing tacked on for installation, removal of existing flooring, trim work, leveling, glue, and everything else you can possibly imagine them charging you extra for.

My favorite part of looking for flooring is talking to hardwood specialist clerks.

“so what type of flooring are you looking for?”

“I’m not sure, I went to Home Depot and found this nice dark colored flooring called Thomasville Engineered Wood”

“look, I don’t know who this Thomas guy is but we sell the real brands here.”

ahhh. yes. industry snobs. Sometimes I wonder if I really am a hermit that doesn’t know jack about the real world.

4oJ

blackhawkdownWe have a 4th of July tradition where we watch Black Hawk Down. I think it started as bit of a coincidence. One year we were hanging out in 4oJ and opted to watch Black Hawk Down because 1) it’s a bad ass movie 2) it’s sort of patriotic 3) it has nice “fireworks”….

After the movie concluded, we heard fireworks going off from the Austin Fireworks show downtown. The next year, we happened to be hanging out on 4oJ again and put in Black Hawk Down….hence a tradition started.

This year, in addition to watching Black Hawk Down, we’re gonna have a BBQ for lunch. I made up a list of our menu.

bbqlist

It’s not too ambitious a list but it will require pulling out the grill from the garage. I’m particularly looking forward to the Fried Okra and Apple Cake. :)

My job on the list is the salad and cake! The recipes are extremely easy so I doubt I’ll mess them up.

The cake I’ll be making is from Rachel Ray’s old cooking show: My Sister Maria's Easy Apple Cake

Chapter 31: Human Nature



When I heard that Michael Jackson had died yesterday, I felt incredibly relieved for the pop icon. I always figured he suffered relentlessly since his demise since the late 90s. It's better for stars like that to die early on I think. Dealing with the loss of being on top for the rest of your life after being a God among mortals can't be easy to live with..

However, I am terribly sad at his passing. For me the death of Michael Jackson sort of just symbolizes a full end of an era. Music has always been a gigantic part of my life and certain albums reflect a specific part of my history. Thriller was definitely the first pop album I ever listened to. I spent so many weekends dancing with my brother in the living room to Human Nature and Billy Jean. My father would put certain songs on repeat, which back then required him to move the needle on the record player. He and my mom would sit and watch us dance and it's one of the strongest memories I have from my childhood.

Throughout the years, the succession of his music was always present in our house. And regardless of his own failures at creating a nuclear family, his music profoundly laid a soundtrack for my tight family bonds. His death is a reminder to me of the end of that structure a family has growing up when all the kids are young and haven't ventured off on their own. It represents that small blip of history where we were a family. It's just a picture now....we'll always have that sense of unconditional love regardless of our now more disconnected nature...but it will never be the same.

Chapter 30: Isolation

I used to be close to a few people and they were a pretty big constant in my life. My brother, my high school guy friends, and a few really good meta mates.

Lately however, there has been a huge disconnect for me from everyone. This utter stagnation in my ability to establish intimate bonds with my previous group has left me feeling utterly isolated. I feel totally cut off and I'm not even sure how it happened.

They say you make what ever relationship you want and you invest in it heavily if you want good returns. I was a firm believer in this for quite awhile. If you make an effort to keep your connections strong, they'll remain strong.

This line of thinking however does not factor in the part where:

1) people can't relate to you anymore

2) you can't relate to them anymore

3) someone fundamentally changes which results in 1 or 2.

Because of the mass loss of people I can reach an intimate connection with, I'm beginning to suspect it must be me. Something has changed in me drastically over the last 3 years. Maybe I needed more depth or maybe it was a combination of just growing apart and me no longer making valiant efforts to sustain the relationship?

It's hard to really tell without maybe discussing it with someone I've moved away from...and even then, they might not be sure either. I wonder if I'm beginning to disappear.

Not having a solid base is very, very unsettling.

Chapter 29: Moral Badge

*this chapter has been lost*

Chapter 28: Gender Box

 mens_fashion_25 I've been doing a lot of faux shopping lately. It means I'm basically window shopping online without actually buying anything. I do this a lot when I'm stressed out and lost. I sort of try to help myself sort out my identity through desires and tastes.

I noticed some significant changes in my styles. All through school and into office life and trying to do social things, I've always noticed I've tried to fit the girl mold. It had never felt natural to me but I tried very hard to make it me.

You see the girls around you and you want to fit in, you want to conform to the idea of feminine and sexy. There is something about their general confidence in this style that is alluring and so I strived to gain that as well.

But it never, ever fit. I hated wearing dresses and always thought I looked like a monkey playing dress up every time I tried. I always hated formal events and weddings because I was forced to put on the uniform of the feminine sexuality.

mestyleI remember one summer, I was so annoyed that I had to dress to a wedding when all my guy friends could wear slacks and a nice shirt. I rebelled that day and put on dress shorts and a blouse. BOY did I get an earful that day about "proper lady attire."

My body type is very gender neutral but I think my tastes are far more masculine than feminine. I like the sort of brash, solid, and bulkier forms of the male styles of clothes and jewelry. I remember being made fun of a lot in school because I would wear a man's Cassio watch but I hated the petite female version of it so I picked up the guy's version instead.

I also wore a lot of my father's polo shirts and slacks in the beginning of High School and remembered feeling very inadequate. I would then borrow my girlfriend's clothing to try and look just like them. 

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love female fashion. I just don't love it on me. I wish I did but every time I do it, it feels like playing pretend. Also, I'd like to point out that I am referring to stylistic differences. This isn't about "being comfortable" as it's not like I appreciate sloth-like styles of uber baggy clothes and sloppy-wear.

I'm referring to being able to wear clothing styled to how I feel about myself and not how I think people should feel about me. I think it's okay to not be girly but I'm not sure that most of my peers agree.

leathercuffHowever, now that I'm mostly meta and haven't been influenced as much by a lot of girls around me, I notice that drive to be feminine has faded. I look at the fashions online and I like bold, masculine objects. I like form fitting but not form defining clothing.

I think the general problem is that people want to be able to define you so badly. We all do, even me. Boy, Girl, Sexy, Fat, Ugly, Dirty, Hot, Pretty, Sweet, Elegant, Punk, Glamorous, Lazy. It makes our brain feel better to check off boxes. We love to define. The only problem with systematically creating labels is that sometimes you get trapped in them.