when i see you again

it’ll be a tuesday.

the sun will be shining, but rain clouds will be looming in the distance.

i’ll see you in line for ice cream on the boardwalk and race towards you.

you’ll turn around when i call your name and your lovely brown eyes will instantly lock with mine.

you were always so good with eye contact.

obviously my heart will skip a beat, but i’ll never let you know.

we’ll talk for hours about school, family, boys, and girls,

just like old friends.

because that’s all we were,

all we are.

maybe we’ll dip our feet into the vast, open ocean,

and it’ll send chills down our spines.

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

but, maybe, it’ll start to rain,

so we’ll rush back to your car and wait for my sister to come get me.

you’ll laugh at me for still not having my license,

even though “i’m almost there!”

but, i won’t be nervous when my sister doesn’t respond to my text,

because i’ve never felt anything but safe around you.

so, we’ll talk some more and more until i check the time and realize we’ve been sitting here for hours.

finally, you decide to go outside because you just hate sitting around.

at first, i’ll let you stand out there by yourself, the rain beating down on your hair and catching in your eyelashes.

but, my speedy little heart will tell my reluctant brain to just go.

so, i’ll jump out of your car and spin around the parking lot and let the rain soak through my clothes.

then, you’ll take my hand and we’ll spin together just like out of the final scene in a rom-com.

but, my sister will eventually come.

you’ll wrap me in a towel and i’ll go home.

i’ll wash the ice cream stain off my sweater and tell my sister i had an alright time.

maybe i’ll tell my friends about you,

but i’ll probably keep our moment to ourselves.

i guess i’m just selfish like that.

Home

Home is a loose word, I often find my mind and, in turn, my spirit in other places. Sitting wrapped in a blanket I’ll physically be here or there but, in truth, I’ll be far, far away. Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “At a certain season of our life we are accustomed to consider every spot as the possible site of a house.” House or home or somewhere in between? A trivial question when one is hunting for a place to rest one’s mind.

Photo Credit: hotelroomsearch.net

My tangible home will always be with my family in our small “faerie home,” surrounded by an unruly garden that seems to compete with the urbanity of the asphalt road and the ever shrinking street light (or perhaps I’m the one growing). Home with its boarding of white and blue, with a hand built white picket fence; home with a stylized and cohesive found object collection inside and hand painted walls of a whimsical forest land further from reality than the closest galaxy. Tangible home will be with my dad’s music blasting well above the sound threshold of his earbuds, shuffling in the Paint-Shack. Tangible home will be with my mom, picking up conversations we never started mid-way through a sentence. A home fit for part of my heart and part of my body.

But my true home, home for my mind, my spirit, the rest of my heart and body, that’s much harder to pin down. I’ve lived too many lives, I’ve walked the halls of Hogwarts and thieved the streets of Ketterdam. I have run through the Overlook Hotel and traveled the world in the Leviathan. I am inclined to call all these places my home despite the threat of horror and danger and pulse-stopping fear. But then again, I am just as inclined to call a solitary cottage at the edge of humanity surrounded by piles and piles of mugs and books my home.

When I was much younger I believed home would be among the pyramids and mummies of Egypt, studying a culture older than I could comprehend, dinosaur hunting while bouncing from continent to continent in search of the next great dinosaur find. Now I find myself lost, filled with wanderlust. Do I return to Ketterdam, Hogwarts, Brakebills? Do I follow the dust and jewels and bones of ancient history? Do I find my library tower with an endless supply of tea, coffee, pastry, and more books than I know what to do with? Do I find my corner of a city and people watch for the rest of my time?

Photo Credit: enlighten.pk

Maybe, what I’m getting at is I won’t find one home, there is no way to make that which is plural singular. I’ll always be hunting for the next city to make my heart beat faster and my lungs dance, the next country, the next world, the next universe. My home will be that glimpse of color disappearing around the corner, just slow enough for me to go skidding into the alley and see it go around the next corner. My home will be a sturdy pair of boots, one hell of a scarf, and a bag with an undetectable extension charm. My home will be that trip around the world finding the best food there is and then traveling to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Home will be that rare dinosaur in the middle of nowhere. Home will be Nefertiti’s tomb. Home will be finding that portal to Fillory, Hogwarts Ketterdam, Le Cirque des Rêves. Home will be the pens and paints I bring with me; home will be the countless notebooks of dreams, adventures, and future worlds.

Home will be the next great adventure. The never ending circular promise: the next place will be the place, the next place will be home. Part of me will always belong to the first home though, my little blue and white cottage in the forest of pavement and cars, but the rest of me? The rest of me is restless. Home will always be one step ahead of me, patiently waiting for me to catch up, always waiting for me to leave a little more of myself on the path.

What a Year So Far.

Life is moving fast. 2017 was a historic year for Asian representation in America.

Photo Credit: allkp
Photo Credit: chinafilminsider.com/

Last year Liu Yifei was cast as Mulan, Kelly Marie Tran became the first Asian American lead in a Star Wars movie, Bangtan Sonyeondan – better known as BTS – became the very first K-artist, besides PSY, to ever win a Billboard Music Award and the first K-group to ever perform at the American Music Awards and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. BTS also continue to break their own records in the Billboard standings and seem to only be growing in popularity.

Photo Credit: billboard.com

Only a month into 2018 Asian representation is looking up and just a couple of days ago BTS again made history as the first K-group and second K-artist ever to earn a RIAA Gold CertificationRIAA Gold Certification for their remix of their son “Mic Drop” with Japanese American DJ Steve Aoki and rapper Desiigner; and just today (February 4) Chinese Canadian singer Kris Wu became the first Chinese Artist to ever preform at the Superbowl Half-Time Show.

Photo Credit: nerdist.com

These examples are just a couple of the milestones that have been met in just a short amount of time. Hopefully these two events this year, and several from late last year, are indicative of how the rest of this year, and the future, will go on the Asian/ East Asian Representation front.

Skin

One of my favorite things in the world is skincare. Maybe not the most deep or expected of passions but know you know. While I may not have the best skin, I do really love washing and moisturizing my face, plus all the steps in between.

I remember as a kid I never washed my face, or occasionally I snuck some of my mom’s face wash, but that was it. Then when I got older and interested in actually caring for my face, I got whatever I saw show up the most often on drugstore shelves.

The face-wash made my face feel tight enough that someone could play a snare drum solo on my face. Whatever moisturizer I mistakenly picked up was essentially a too strong concentration of salicylic acid (an effective BHA acid in small doses) suspended in a silicone cream; it left my skin sensitive and irritated.

It was a dark time that almost killed any desire I had to take care of my skin.

It was frustrating, what was supposed to help me feel good about myself was instead making me feel like I didn’t even want to try to take care of myself. Instead of feeling relaxed, my skincare was stressing me out, which in turn made my skin freak out.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

So I began to actually research skincare. I started with the products that had made me so sad and pinpointed what ingredients didn’t work for me, and ones that could.

I followed obscure internet trails into back alley articles about the difference between moisture and hydration, pressure points to take down face swelling, and that products with pearl powder are known for their brightening properties.

Now, one of my favorite parts of skincare is all the research that goes into learning about different ingredients and their uses. In fact I often become obsessive and go down rabbit holes I didn’t even realize I stumbled into.

For example, did you know that snail mucin, which is exactly what it sounds like, is great for hyper-pigmentation, and that the best way to harvest it, cruelty- free, is to pamper the snails by putting them in a dark room and avoiding stressing them out. It’s like prepping escargot but the snails live in the end.

The more research I’ve done the more quickly I’ve discovered that skincare is an extremely subjective topic; recommendations and “holy grail” items don’t apply to all. While one person could love birch sap another could hate it, plus everyone’s skin is different.

Through all my research I also learned that caring for my skin isn’t about vanity, it is about taking care of myself mentally. It has become a part of maintaining my mental health.

I look forward to it before I go to bed and when I get out of bed in the morning. I use it to decompress at the end of the day or armor up for one. Skincare to me is time I have carved out for introspection and reflection, which helps me feel less anxious and better about myself, inwardly and outwardly.

A good book for more research is Charlotte Cho’s The Little Book of Skin Care.

Fair Harborside (3)

Read Fair Harborside (1) and Fair Harborside (2)

Amelia was city-made and city-grown. From where she lived the city was just a writhing mass, gridded like a chessboard, and full of monotony. Her circuits were overstimulated. She was surrounded by wires, cords, and progress. She was living modernity and on clear days she could almost feel like a part of the masses, she could almost feel like she interacted with them. Almost.

Frank wandered the city, cataloguing every face and type like a child seeing the world for the first time, walking a new language, but the people seemed to pass by him – no, look through him, like he didn’t matter. In truth, he began to think, do they really matter to me? But as he took another sharp corner, his mind clipped the edge of the building and then lodging was on his mind. He was in the right district given the signs hanging above doors and out from awnings, but he soon found he barely had enough money to stay the week out. How strange that what had had so much value previously in his life was so empty and useless in exchange here in Harborside.

Amelia was coming down from the clouds about to face the world for the first time, naive and one of the richest and rarest people in the city, but equally mysterious. Her mind had yet to grasp value; everything to her was bought and categorized away into an advanced filing system of uses. 

Photo Credit: ashleyhooper3d.wordpress.com

The sky filtered into her windows, if she reached out, the clouds almost reached back, but who cared about clouds when she was going down to the ground.

From Amelia’s window far above Harborside its postcard appearance was breathtaking, heart-stopping from the aerial view, perfectly aligned like an OCD wet dream – but beyond the picture perfect Harborside was its dark truth, its fingers, its slums. Where the roads wended their way around makeshift homes, bodies being consumed by the cobbles of the city. The roads staggered like a drunk artist’s footsteps. The slums belied truth, the reality of the city for the majority. The true artists, the ultimate image of life, a slow burn out. The truth was, the city moved too quickly for anyone – even the top Moguls and Traders – to live contentedly, too fast for them to not eventually blend into the tapestry of time, of the city.

But while Amelia’s elevator sunk level by level, Frank’s feet were dragging him from job to job, ebbing closer and closer to that blight, the narrow streets, the moss, the dark sky, the forgotten, the true heart of the city. The cost of living had drained Frank, his week was up. Once a private person, he now broadcasted all he could, he needed all the help he could get. He dreamed of the past. When he was well off in the country, people tipped their hat to him, they knew his name, they cared. He dreamed of a city long past, just emerging from the harbor, crawling onto land like a new life form, full of opportunity and riches. His feet were carrying him further from the monoliths of global life. From the masses that thrived on standing out from the crowd, from the masses who had found what they sought, or at least the veneer of what they dreamed.

Fair Harborside (2)

Read Part 1 here

Below Amelia and beyond the borders of her glass and marble version of the city, the eyes of the workers were cast in coal and ash. Those of the slums were fading out of being, becoming just blurs, wisps of subconscious, hollow. They were being emptied of dreams, emptied of light, emptied of value. They looked – with light-burned, cataracted eyes, weary and broken from too many hours in front of a forge – toward the city they had dreamed of, the one they believed in, the one they were now part of, the one now using them as a whetstone to hone itself upon. They looked upon a city alien and yet familiar; one that shared the same name, shared a people, but was separated by a wall of prosperity, an insurmountable barrier of capital value.

Rising above Frank was the very tangible feeling of success and dreams realized. Above him – wrapped in their own private worlds, curtained off from each other – lay the world of Traders and Merchants and Moguls. There was no lost space, everything was worked to perfection, commodified and able to be owned. People had become slaves to their Ikea nesting instinct, they simply filled the space given, even the ultimate consumers did not own their space. The streets were wide and clear, everything at a crisp ironed angle, a city of well pressed pants. Those who walked them did not know each other beyond image: a Trader by the scale lapel pin, an Artist by the garish socks, an Economist by the gloves, a Mogul by the hat. On the great rising monoliths movies and media played, any new information came from those gargantuan marble monoliths. The world beyond Harborside was found in those rising towers of media.

But in the slums – from the roofs of their squat and makeshift shanties – the workers could just glimpse the edges of media. Their world was full of cracked screens and secondhand news. People were cramped, the heartbeat of one encroached on the next. The global world had all but disappeared to them, where they had come from was being wrung from them as they became just another road stone in the city. The cultural identities they had brought with them, had created neighborhoods around, had found their first jobs with were bleeding away. They were becoming the masses of the city, overwhelmed by the need for money, the vast cost of living had ensnared them, had separated them and pinned them by the wings. 

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

But the global world existed only in the harbor with the monoliths of media, with the bustle of trade, it was rich and thriving in the harbor. Money was not lacking, it seemed as if the less work one did the more money filled their coffers.

Frank was well off for a country boy, so when he docked in the sand of the fish market – the only place his little decrepit rented dinghy could -he was sure he could do anything he could possibly hope for. As he jumped from the boat he sunk to the knee into rotting, bloated, sun-blistered fish waste. His nose crinkled, What a welcome. He trudged upward into the city, tapping his breast pocket with a light rhythm. As he reached the paving stones his tapping ceased, he could not crane his head far enough, the city just kept going. The longer he stared the more his past months at sea ebbed away with the tide; his past was being drowned out by the sounds, the smells, and the people. The city was made of individuals from the ground, Frank was just another one of them, just another in a sea of people striving to flourish as themselves, he was just dressed a little more shabbily, a little more wide eyed, a little more idealistic, he was just a little bit poorer, he was just woefully unprepared. So he set out to wander the city, to find himself, or lose himself.

The Magic of Cats

Have you ever pet a cat?

Like-

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Photo Credit: petfinder.com

really pet a cat?

I mean, yeah, sure, you’ve pet a dog.

But dogs are easy. Dogs, for the most part, will waltz up to strangers, tails wagging, eyes bright, and ready to be loved on. Anyone can pet a dog.

But cats are altogether different Beasts.

Cats are skeptical of strangers, always watching their loved ones from a high vantage point.

(I am certain that, should it come to it, cats would not only survive the apocalypse, but would thrive.)

Cats are not so eager to be cuddled and coddled by those who are not worthy.

Which is exactly what makes it such an incredible experience to be liked by a cat. And I don’t mean tolerated, but really, truly liked.

Perhaps it’s the human want for the unwantable, but no one can deny that there is a certain mysterious air that lends cats their desirability.

Fall in Southern California 

Sweaters are sweaty. Pumpkin spice burns your chapped, sunburnt lips. The adorable pinterest-esque fall leaves are more often represented by crunchy, dehydrated grass. Football games are too often stadiums crowded with sweaty bodies. The weather is less “let’s wear infinity scarves and drink hot cocoa” and more “let’s crank up the A/C and never leave the […]

HAHahA

dede

Do you like the outdoors and having fun on the weekend? Well that is just to %$^#& bad. Carl Cooper, Headmaster of Ojai Valley School Upper Campus, recently turned what had been a swell hike with myself and several friends into an irrational annoying ordeal. The story is simple as all tragic tales are.

Saturday, mid afternoon, we hiked technically off” campus by following the riverbed that begins at the Barn. The hike was fun a simple excursion filled with such wonders as cool soothing water and delicious mini waterfalls. Alas upon our return whom was waiting there? Mr. Cooper.

So he appeared quite angry, with me in particular, he had “caught” me returning from a hike before, this “crime” was the second such indiscretion. Mr. Cooper for the second time told me no one was allowed to hike upon that river bottom without express permission from the property owner. Now looking back that is simply not true.

Mr. Cooper’s anger with me (and the people I was with) stemmed from the fact that we did not ask him if we could go on the hike. He had once even said that I could take people on hikes as long as I asked him. The reason of not having permission from said property owners makes no sense to my feeble, young, mind. I ask simply for what I consider a rational explanation.

EQT Elevation

A little retrospective on Kobe’s first pro sneaker
The adidas EQT Elevation are coming back and we got a chance to check them out. Now he is considered one of the best players of all time, but in 1997 Kobe Bryant was an untested rookie. adidas brought him in as a new signature player. 1997 all-star weekend. The dunk competition. Featuring stiff competition from players like Ray Allen and Chris Carr, Kobe Bryant would have to be great. Wearing the purple adidas Equipment Elevation, Kobe threw down his first two dunks to limited fanfare. His last dunk would have to be amazing. He dribbled up and made a high-flying between the legs dunk. The dunk was legendary. It was the turning point of his career.


When he made that dunk Kobe Bryant brought the EQT Elevation to the history books with him. The Zig Zag pattern on the midsole and the deep purple on the upper were representations of Kobe himself. Kobe was young, new, and had the potential to be a legend. He was part of a dynasty; The Lakers became titans with Kobe on the roster. A living legend, Kobe’s rookie year is remembered by that dunk, and on his feet, the EQT Elevation… set to release later on this year.