Saturday, August 8, 2015

more questions and (even more) answers ✧・゚: *✧・゚:* \(◕‿◕✿)/ *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

This is a continuation of my previous post in which I published an interview I completed.

In the spirit of answering questions, I'd like to address a handful of questions I feel like I've received a lot this year:
from  messages between my dad (gray) and older brother (blue)
  1. What happened to you? – If in the past five months I haven't seen you at work for long enough to tell you already, I slipped and fell on ice in our paved driveway this past February, breaking my wrist and compression-fracturing my L1 spine. I had surgery to put a plate and screws in my wrist, and I wore a turtle-shell back brace until the end of June.

    Yes, it feels great to be free. Yes, I am still sore, and my spine is still a wedge, but it's stable and the most healed it's going to get. Yes, the brace helped with my posture. Yes, it was a great pattern. They gave me a handful of choices, so it was either that or an all-over American flag print. Or purple camouflage. Have you seen the upholstery on public transportation (or the carpeting in bowling alleys)? Those were my choices. This was the least offensive of them all.
  2. Are you going back to school? – You know, this past spring, watching my brother graduate with his Masters degree in school administration, and then watching a handful of my friends graduate with their Baccalaureates in music education, really inspired me to start taking classes again. Unfortunately, I have a laundry-list of excuses, but just talking about school is emotionally exhausting. Such is why if I ever did start another degree program, I have half a mind to chip away at it in silence until just before graduation – if not after, even. Funny how I try to keep so much to myself despite making it a point to "know everything". I used to describe my old jobs as "to know everything", which kind of also applies to where I work today.
I thought I had more frequently-asked questions to answer, but these are probably the two biggest that I am faced with regularly. On that note, though, I'd like to delve in to one more question (that no one seems to really ask) – what am I up to these days?

First and foremost, I've started an 8tracks profile! 8tracks is a music streaming site that streams music in playlists. I procure music from several reaches (and I mean reaches) of the music-sphere and make playlists for fun. I live in playlists, they are the soundtrack to my drives to and from work and everywhere else, and as music does, each song and each playlist eventually absorbs memories that re-play out with each listen. I know, it's one more social media-esque site to ignore me on, but the reason behind why I started an 8tracks (and these playlists) is important to me.
"I first started driving before the advent of the stereo with the built-in aux port, so I took to creating 'driving CDs' every so often. [After starting college, these also became a way to share music with my friends, which is a tradition that continues today and still means the world to me.] Two vehicles and an aux port later, I'm still creating them and love sharing them. I went to school for a while studying music so I could go on to become a film composer, so these playlists are a scaled-down realization of that dream."
In addition to arranging playlists, I'm still dabbling in electronic composition. Eventually I hope to have everything uploaded to my Soundcloud page, but at a couple hundred tracks in my library, I doubt I'll be able to post as much as I would like. Not that it matters.

Outside of music, I spend a lot of time shopping for (even more) clothes. My last master-post about style, etc. showcased my already-expansive wardrobe, but – shockingly enough – there were a few things I was just recently introduced to this year.

heathered polka-dot sweatshirt by forever21
Sweatshirts! Slight steps-up from t-shirts perfect for spring or fall, they are more than just über-casual things with names of colleges on them.

collarless cotton shirt by H&M
Collarless shirts! They're like collared shirts without the commitment of a collar. Casual but not too casual at the same time.

no particular order: the gap, forever21, H&M

polo by old navy + t-shirt by the gap = magic
My latest obsession, prints! (And the art of subtly layering them under solid colors!) I swore off graphic tees and "funny" word-shirts years ago, but needed to fill the gap somehow.
hint: my costume will be to die for. (credit:
 True to me and my... self, I've already begun making preparations for Halloween this year. (It'll be on a Saturday, for those keeping track.) A large part of my costume will be a full-on three-piece suit, so I'm proud to say I've officially had measurements taken for proper dress shirts and suits.

Finally, beyond clothes (but not too far beyond): BATH BOMBS. And solid fragrances.

The Lacquerologist: LUSH Mermaid Water Cocktail!
As linked by Anchorage's LUSH Facebook page

I missed the grand opening of Anchorage's Lush store last year, but I was there in spirit – I visited the Santa Monica store while I was in California that same week. Walking around in 80° F+ weather left me grimy, but ending each day with a bath soak always left me feeling clean. To this day if I feel extra grimy or super stressed, a bath bomb still helps. People knock aromatherapy for being wussy, but it works.

Breath of God was my first solid fragrance and was the only fragrance I wore for the rest of the time I was in California. The ladies at the store can do a much better job explaining why it's called what it is, but for lack of any other way to describe it, I would call it a blue-green, almost musky floral – not too feminine, but not too Alpine Frost and Monster Truck Gas Fumes, either. 
L: B&BW Wild Madagascar Vanilla lotion + Carolina Herrera 212 Glam Men EDT
R: Hempz Exotic Green Tea & Asian Pear lotion + Lacoste Essential EDT + LUSH Dirty solid
For summer I'm using vanilla lotion from Bed Bath & Beyond (shout-out, thanks for opening in Anchorage) to pair with my Carolina Herrera chocolatey cologne.

Now I'm waiting to start using Dirty (that's what it's called) again when I get ready in the mornings. Dirty actually smells fresh and clean, with mostly minty herbal notes. It pairs great with the green Hempz lotion (again, shout-out to Ulta, thanks for finally opening in Anchorage) I usually layer with my Lacoste Essential cologne.

If you haven't noticed, I like to downplay how much I know about grooming so I don't come across as obsessed. I trim my nails, I keep my eyebrows separated, I smell nice and I use lotion on parts of me that are dry, and suddenly I'm one of those people. Maybe that's just one thing that makes me interesting as a person.

Anyway, I've gone on long enough. I'll check back in again when I find something else to obsess over, which could be soon. Who knows? (Who cares?)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

happy anniversary! (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:-•'✧

Basically, it's time for another life update. Apologies in advance, since I know I'm among the least interesting of people in the world.

First and foremost, I've updated my layout here because I just realized it's been the same hokey post-"scene kid" nonsense for four whole years now. You would think that someone who has "grown professionally as well as personally" in the past year would have the sense to reflect that anywhere they hope to be taken seriously. Granted, blogging is a verbose, redundant, almost narcissistic extension of social media, but this is one place where I in particular come to be heard. Because goodness knows I'm not heard much anyplace else.

I can also go off on a tangent about how social media has expanded to more than just a "weak" substitute for phone calls, letters, or face-to-face visits as generations before my own have come to recognize it, but that's a post for another day. Another day! Time you would think I would make if I'm paying $10 a year for this ghost-town of a page.

This post in particular has been a long time coming because this past April I received another registration renewal notification email, which as it does every year, prompted me to start coming up with ideas for a new post. I can't remember if it was this year or last year that I decided I should post the answers to an interview I completed for Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) shareholder scholarship recipients. Either way, that interview was completed two years ago, so I would like to take this opportunity to publish this interview – and compare my answers then to how I would answer them now.

Where are you from, or where is your family from?
My family and I are originally from Dillingham, Alaska.

Did you live in your village?

We did all my life, but we’ve just recently relocated to Anchorage this past summer.

How do you remain connected to BBNC/ Bristol Bay/ your village while attending college/working?

I still maintain some social contact with family, friends and former coworkers still living in the Dillingham area.

How do you give back to your native community?

I am now working in Human Resources (withholding company's name for privacy purposes), helping to achieve our vision by serving on the team that welcomes and orients all new care providers and other new employees.

How has the ED Foundation scholarship helped your educational endeavors?

The Education Foundation scholarship has helped immensely in my educational endeavors by funding my college experience as well as inspiring me to continue living and working in Alaska.
What are you studying?
I am not currently studying anything, but I am in the process of working towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance.

How will your major benefit natives in your region/Alaska?

With this degree I can continue on to bring music back into Alaska Native schools or universities through pursuing a career in education; or I can represent Alaska Natives in a professionally-performing orchestra or as a composer – either classically or in the film industry.

How did you find out about the BBNC scholarships?

My family and I have been BBNC shareholders for as long as I can remember, and my older brother attended and graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with help from BBNC’s Educational Foundation, and my family urged me to apply for the same scholarship funding when I graduated from high school.

What is one hardship that you have had to overcome while in school?

The biggest hardship I had to overcome in college was time management. In addition to planning downtime between classes to get assignments and other requirements taken care of, I also had to map out the rest of my academic career and continue to make adjustments as time went on.

Who is someone that has helped you to get to where you are today? Role model?
I owe everything to my parents, and my dad is my biggest role model. His honesty, integrity, generosity and caring attitude as well as strong family values are everything I hope to emulate as I continue to mature as a person.

What is one piece of advice you would give to an incoming freshman who has received a scholarship?

Above all, be grateful and show your gratitude – to scholarship foundations as well as family and friends and anyone else that helped get you to where you are. This also means more than just saying “thank you” – put that support to good use and give back by doing your absolute best.

What’s the hardest thing you have had to experience while in school?
The hardest thing I had to overcome was being away from my family – but it became a time for me to grow as a person and as my own responsibility, which I very much needed and came to enjoy.

Why do you think advancing our education is so important?

Education is an enriching experience, intellectually as well as socially. Go out and learn as much as you can and take advantage of as many educational opportunities as possible. There is a whole world out there to be seen, and bringing back new experiences can help us to adapt, evolve, and make changes to prepare for the future.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra is holding auditions by appointment within the next month, and I’m considering auditioning, even as just a standby for their Horn section. I haven’t played much since leaving Fairbanks a few years ago, so this will be a chance to pick up where I left off as a musician. Other than that, I have nothing else to share at this time, but thank you for this opportunity.
Obviously, as I'm sure I've mentioned countless times by now, it has now been two years! As time goes on, more and more of my family and friends are making their way from home over to here and beyond – my brother graduated this past spring with his Masters degree in school administration and has applied to a handful of school districts in Alaska and a couple in the lower 48, but stayed in Alaska for the summer to serve as a staff director and student mentor with this year's Rural Alaska Honors Institute in Fairbanks. Otherwise, everyone still keeps in touch online.

The department I work in is an ever-changing department, continually striving and working towards providing the best customer experience for hiring managers, current employees and new hires alike. We are faced with ongoing opportunities for professional growth and progression, and I hope to continue giving back in any capacity that I can, whether in my current position or elsewhere within my department. 

After working in my field for two years and staying conscious of my work schedule, I’m considering pursuing certification in office support or Human Resources. My academic and professional experiences have taught me that I can do anything I not only set my mind to, but also make the time to do – one other piece of advice I would give to students and people in general everywhere is that planning and doing are, in fact, two separate things.  

Now, endorsement in office support would validate the lines of work I’ve been in since my first job out of high school; obviously, Human Resources would give me that much more staying power in my current field – continuing to find and help the best people to provide for Alaska Native customer-owners. In addition to the above, my dad was the first of us to find work in Anchorage – he moved six months before we did, and my mom and the rest of my family and I worked to run a household (or two... or three) together until we could join him. My dad also inspired me to find work with the same company he did, and continuing support from my parents, the rest of my family, and my friends helps keep me grounded and focused.

September of 2013 was the last time I heard anything about open auditions for the Anchorage orchestra. A musical group to participate in would be great, but I don’t know where to begin looking. In the mean time, I broke down and bought a gym membership this past January, which I hope to use more (and the reason why I haven't been to the gym since this past February is something I'll have to save for my next post).

I've also recently had the opportunity to take a week-long Middle Eastern dance class under the instruction of Souzana as part of what I later learned was the 35th Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. (I have a knack for unknowingly signing up for milestone events.) Souzana taught the last class I took while I was in Fairbanks five years ago, both before I moved back home and before she left Alaska! The class culminated in a final performance as part of the Festival's World Music and Dance concert this past Sunday the 26th. I must have done well because I was invited to audition for the student group of Fairbanks' Middle Eastern dance troupe, Tundra Caravan! Unfortunately, that may have to wait until I return to Fairbanks full-time, if I do. In the mean time, I may look for classes or another group here in Anchorage. I could get into it and go on a tangent about Middle Eastern dance, too, but that's another-another post for another day.

The interviewer that sent me the above questions told me that I would be notified if my answers were ever published with them. I never heard anything back, so I'm guessing it's good I'm publishing them here.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

style blog: the first rule of style is to have fun and be yourself ♥

Since I feel like I lose a lot of people even before the introduction is over, I'll make it quick: "style" can be simple or complex, but whichever it is, it's completely personal and driven by choice. This is my take on my style, composed of my choices.

For those keeping track at home, we have long since surpassed the one-year anniversary of my moving to the bustling metropolis of Anchorage. My family and I have moved from two rentals to a place of our own. Things are falling into place as we continue to settle in, and at our own pace, which explains why I've been so slow to post anything on this blog or pretty much anywhere else, but that's beside the point.

As a recently self-realized adult crashing through my 26th year of existence and counting, in the past year or so I've grown both personally and professionally - but especially professionally, even earning the prestigious title of one of twelve Employees of the Year at my new job this year in the process. From what I've learned, one half of professionalism is through word and deed (with emphases on customer service and resourcefulness), and the other half is inevitably appearance. Considering my age and the field I transitioned to, it made sense to phase out of t-shirts, jeans and sandals (and Danskos, for my masculinity's sake) during the week. This is just one key factor of something I've learned to call my "style philosophy" - a term I've heard thrown around a few times in the realms of style, beauty/grooming and interior design alike. I used to watch a lot of TV.

I've been meaning to write a post about my "style philosophy" for a while, but the more I thought about it, the less I saw a need for it. After all, it is only clothes; as far as men's clothing goes, options are wildly limited in comparison to those of women's clothing, and really, I only hold merit to speak to my own style. This also begs questions of issues of sexism, gender roles and more in fashion, marketing, the economy and even society in general, but I'm not here for that. These are only clothes, my clothes, I'm talking about here, today.

There was a time where I was subscribed to a handful of beauty/grooming and style gurus on YouTube, and I didn't understand most of what they were doing until a few years in but found their videos hypnotic and therapeutic to watch. After a while, with YouTube videos, What Not to Wear, and brief subscriptions to both GQ and Details magazines, I saw enough to memorize how much of what goes where during what part of the year and for which skin tone and type (and I say memorize because I don't consider myself so well-versed as I am just well-rehearsed). From there, I continued learning by doing and finding what I liked and worked for me through excessive shopping (and a lot of trial and error), notoriously meticulous grooming regimens (unnecessary, some might say) and the occasional spa appointment (also unnecessary) - not to mention through Halloween, as well, but I digress.

it's amazing what you can do with a cream color palette
and a little bit of liquid latex for texture.
Like with beauty and grooming, style requires an individual approach tailored to your own needs and, most importantly, your own wants. You can certainly draw inspiration from sources like Vogue and GQ magazines, but ultimately, all they can provide are suggestions. Also like with beauty and grooming, I feel like one thing anyone gains from following anyone else for tips and tricks is simply watching that person in action. After all, clothes and grooming are just accessories; it is how everything chosen comes together to bring a person to their best that matters. There is also something to be said about how admirable it is to watch anyone talk about something that they're passionate about - it creates a positivity that's contagious. Who am I to deny that of anyone?

Most of my style philosophy can be summed up with four words: Old Navy by Gap.

button-ups, sweaters, layering/basic tees and polos
as far as the eye can see
I've been groomed for an affinity for style my whole life - and like with most people as I imagine, my mom picked out most if not all of my clothes for me growing up. It must have been in middle school where I started noticing I had favorite outfits, and most of these outfits came from Old Navy. Once I graduated high school, started a bank account and got a debit card of my own, things went downhill. Like releasing a tiger from its cage.

Realizing I could finally buy what I want is what I consider the beginning of my "style career" - if I can call it that. With the advent of online shopping, I saw the options Old Navy and eventually other stores had to offer, and I became aware of things like fit and cut shapes, patterns and prints, and material and care - i.e. not everything is machine-wash and tumble-dry, and sometimes things shrink and that's okay. It's from this awareness of possibilities I gleaned the most important aspect of my style philosophy: one of each. 

L-R: button-up shirt, cardigan, v-neck sweater,
polo, crewneck tee, v-neck tee
Shortly following this is the next key aspect of my style philosophy: in every color. 

L-R: red, orange, yellow, frog green, olive green,
kelly green, blue, light purple, dark purple

Men's clothing selections are limited virtually everywhere, so owning just one of each piece of clothing in one color each would be liveable but less than ideal. For me, at least.

After the honeymooning phase of first creating my bank account faded to a close, I also learned to ask myself two things, never in any particular order: one, do I really need this? And two, how much is too much (or how many is too many)? Always remembering what my parents tell us kids whenever we shop for ourselves (if you have to think about it, don't buy it) has also helped and continues to help cut down on time I waste trying to make decisions. Price is usually a dead lock, but versatility is another deciding factor - if I can't make more than one outfit with it, or wear it with more than one color scheme, I probably don't want it.

Outside of these four ideas is another ever-present set of other questions that nag me every time I shop: will this work with what I do from day to day? How will this look in passing? Does this make sense?

There is a word to describe entire looks that make a statement and photograph really well: editorial. 

lady gaga for V magazine, fall 2013
A vast majority of advertisements in style magazines utilize "editorial" looks. They look great in print, but I always try to picture someone working in a job like mine wearing what's pictured: entry-level, with lots of running around, high visibility, and occasional grunt work. This helps me decide if my clothes will work with what I do from day to day. Plus, show up to work in a blazer and everyone will ask what you're interviewing for...

The most I see of anyone outside of my teammates at work is a passing glance, and in passing, things tend to blur together. Greater contrast in colors and bigger or more unique prints and shapes stand out more than anything else, so I gravitate more toward these when shopping and putting outfits together. This idea of greater contrast helps me narrow choices down when shopping for one of each in every color, too.

Whether or not an outfit makes sense is mostly how it looks and feels on. Before it's worn, it's also a matter of season and/or material, which is something I learned the hard way. The following are just a few examples.

  • Am I wearing a winter sweater in the summer just because I want the coverage of long sleeves?  I could have worn a long-sleeve button-down or Henley t-shirt. Or a lightweight sweater. You can find things if you look for them.
  • Am I wearing linen pants in the middle of winter because they're the right color, and then wondering why I'm so cold? Should have just worn jeans. They make colored denim... or there are also colored khakis. The options are endless.
  • Am I wearing a long wool coat during the rainy pre-winter season because it's "basically a trench coat"? Find me a longer-cut rain-proof jacket. Like a trench coat.
  • Am I wearing full-on dress boots and wondering why I'm having trouble walking on ice? Someone teach me the difference between inside shoes and outside shoes...
  • Am I wearing short, loose layers on top of slimmer-cut pants because "the colors work together"? Get me into loose-fit khakis so my proportions are more balanced like a person and less like a marshmallow water-molecule model.
courtesy of Pinterest
That last point also begs questions of size discrimination in the fashion industry, which is not a new topic at all. Generally, I currently wear a size L (sometimes XL) in tops, and 34x32" or M in bottoms. Fortunately, most stores offer equal options for ranges that include these sizes; at the same time, however, both are sizes common enough to frequently sell out before too long.

This experience, my experience, barely scratches the surface of issues other people of plus sizes face: plus-size or big-and-tall selections from stores that aren't "specialty stores" (like Torrid or Destination XL) are remarkably more limited than men's clothes in general, and are usually plain. In contrast, specialty stores, while welcome, often mostly offer "statement" clothing (i.e. cuts, contrast and prints), which almost implies that anyone that wears big-and-tall or plus sizes needs to dress one way or the other with little in-between if any at all. Such might be why I subscribe to contrast in colors and unique shapes, but not all approaches to style, mine included, are for everyone. Clearly.

I was never good at closing anything that I begin to write. Most of my spoken in-person conversations at work end with my making an excuse to get back to my desk, if anything more than "so... yep!" and a quick turn on my heels. Unless I'm bombing a two-minute presentation or answering a direct question to give the illusion of participation at a department or team meeting, I'm prone to getting talked over and losing everyone's attention, as I have been for most of my life. By this point I'm surprised I made it this far but also feel like I've talked far too much, so I'll wrap this up one last time:
  • My family and I finally made it to Anchorage forever ago, and I "became" an adult because that's something that just happens
  • To work a work job, you need work job clothes
  • I am a wealth of beautiful but impractical knowledge
  • Personal style is driven by personal choice
  • I shop cheap so I can shop more--er, get one of each, in every color if I need it, it's not too much, or too many, among far too many more considerations than are necessary
  • Me taking too long in a store is actually me having gotten better about asking myself things when I shop, along with dressing colorfully yet accordingly both for my station and the weather
  • Bigger people are often left out as far as clothes go, so as a big person, my working with what I'm given is "making a big deal" about clothes
Thank you for your time.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

not amused.

Trying to figure out how to access my billing information for this site was far more complicated than it needed to be. Google made no mention of how to access a Blogger account after it was appropriated and turned into another Google app, so I had to find answers on someone else's blog. I could go into even more detail, but I highly doubt anyone is paying attention, in any case.

Since my last post, I've moved twice. First was from Dillingham to Anchorage, and then came from one house in Anchorage to another. It was a lot of work both times, but my family and I did what we had to do, and got it all done.

Just before leaving Dillingham, I interviewed via conference call for another job in the healthcare field and was hired on despite being on the brink of relocation. My only break in employment was the one week I planned just before the move. I did take a substantial pay cut, especially moving from two jobs to just one, but I'm still doing something I love and with people I get along well with, and the cost of living is much lower here.

This past October I traded in my black '06 Subaru Impreza 2.5i for a white '10 Jeep Compass Limited. This meant an increase on my loan and monthly payments, but not to an amount I couldn't handle.

It has been three, almost four years since I stopped attending college full-time. I've recently collaborated with my supervisors to create an Employee Development Plan, which involved researching requirements for degrees in Human Resources, Human Services, Computers, Information and Office Systems (CIOS), and Office Support. UAA offers an Occupational Endorsement Certificate (OEC) in Office Support, which also paves the way for an Associates degree in CIOS. This is basically the line of work I've been since graduating high school, so this is why this field interests me so much.

As was the case with mapping out degree requirements for Music Performance at UAF, this OEC in Office Support and subsequent AAS in CIOS looks great and simple on paper, but execution will take time and money. For now I'm starting on the OEC by enrolling in a Basic Keyboarding class on my own dime this summer.

Talking about academics, especially where I'm involved, exhausts me quickly, so I'm going to end that there.

I'm racking my brain for more things I need to update everyone on at the same time. I know I need to post updated skin care tips and clothes and style crap because my philosophy on both has changed drastically in the past year, but those are ramblings for another day.

I promise to update more regularly here. I mean, I spend enough time on the internet.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

an ode to my backpack

With a backpack like this, it's probably no surprise
I'm a huge deadmau5/Joel Zimmerman fan.
This is what my backpack looks like: hard-ass shell and decent padding and back support. I keep my life in it: laptop, charger, notebook, pen, gum, lip balm, iPhone cord, forever stamps and an extra pair of shoes.

This morning's dream started when I went to a party somewhere at one of my older brother's friends' houses. It was fun and all, but I moved back to the living room after everyone else moved to another room so I could take my laptop out and use their internet.

Before I knew it, my parents were in the living room with me, talking about how they wanted more coffee but couldn't figure out the setup because the water had to come into the house from outside or something. Not really wanting to help them figure the setup out, I packed up and told my parents I had a work function to get to. And I did, and to that meeting I went.

I got there, put my backpack down and got my work shoes out. The only thing I remember doing at this meeting is standing with everyone and starting to sing "My Country 'Tis of Thee" because whoever was presenting was actually doing a presentation on how easy it is to get everyone to do something in unison in a meeting setting. After he told us that, I realized this meeting was bullshit and packed up and left.

For some reason I thought airport-crashing was a good idea; I'd think I was going somewhere myself but I don't remember getting a ticket. I don't even remember going through security, but that's beyond the point. What happened next was, I came across a food court next to some gates. I don't remember getting anything to eat, but the next thing that happened is clear as day to me.

I was walking away from the food court and noticed someone sitting in their chair, legs up so they can work on what looked like a sketch. The jet-black hair, flawless makeup and star tattoo - it had to be Kat von D. Not wanting to freak out or overwhelm her too much, I calmly asked her, like I would approaching any other friend I haven't heard from in a while, "are you Kat?" She looked up, smiled and said, "yes I am!" I told her I loved her work and asked if I could get a picture with her, feeling for my phone in my pocket before I sat next to her. Thank God, the one time I need it for a picture and it was there. She was happy to oblige, and I turned on the frontward-facing camera.

We posed with our heads together, and took me a while to figure out how to best position the camera so my massive head wasn't the main focus of the picture. We took a few pictures to be sure, and somehow posted it to her Instagram from my phone. We spent the next few minutes talking and laughing about different things, and I even got to watch her do a really quick sketch that someone else at the gate asked her to do. she worked fast! What happened next was inevitable, but still beyond description.

"Yeah, what's happening?" Joel hesitantly asked, half-smiling as he saw I was sitting closest to his fiancée. "Joel, this is Nolan." Kat told him before I said hi and extended my hand for a handshake. He gladly returned the handshake, and apparently recognized me from somewhere since he paused for a second before saying something along the lines of "ohhh, right! I haven't heard [names a couple of my songs] in a minute!" I thanked him and told him I was a huge fan of his. We all went on to talk and laugh about different things until they had to board their flight. How I was able to keep my composure was beyond me because to anyone else, it must have looked like we were all old friends.

But anyway, the next thing I remember doing is packing up and going to a park. I had to take a call from someone so I put my backpack down somewhere and walked around while I took the call. After I hung up, I looked back, and perched on top of my backpack was a huge black and red moth. Being an insectophobe, I immediately jumped back and ran away from my backpack. 

I looked back after running and saw someone else at the park that was walking, and asked them to tip my backpack over (meaning towards them) so the moth can fly away and they can pick it up and bring it to me, but apparently they were just as insectophobic since they tipped it over like I asked but ended up jumping back and running from it like I did after the moth flew off. After they did that, a couple of stray dogs came running through and somehow carried it off somewhere.

I hollered across the park at the person I saw, asking if my backpack was over there, and they answered it was right next to them, so I started towards them. Somehow, all that was left behind was one of my backpack's back support beams. "I think I saw those dogs that ran off with it head for the beach down the hill," they told me. I thanked them and ran to the beach.

Once I got there, I saw tons of people playing in the water, and the waves were littered with silver-colored beach toys. Perfect.

The last thing I remember doing is trying to maneuver myself into an inflated kiddie pool, with an elongated sand shovel in hand. My raft and oar. 

I looked out over the water for my backpack, and never felt more lost in my life.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

the reluctant activist: why so reluctant?

Most, if not all causes, are formed from emotions surrounding an event - whether on a personal or global and historic scale. Causes often go unadvertised or unfulfilled because these emotions are expressed only to be marginalized, written off as something else, or ignored entirely.

I've seen a quote from Hank Green, one of the Vlog Brothers on YouTube, floating around online saying something about how the emotions and other things he experienced as he was growing up were just as real as anything as he experiences today as an adult, and age shouldn't have anything to do with how seriously anyone takes anyone else.

Basically, I now consider "you're just a kid" and "it's just a passing phase" to be cop-outs.

Emotions are nothing to be marginalized, regardless of age or other identity factors. Nothing is to be marginalized.

Words are more than sounds or shapes. What you make of them is up to you, but shitting on what someone else makes of them is a dick move in general.

Sometimes the most anyone can do is talk, ask “why,” or even just listen, but sometimes that’s all people need to get things back on track, whether they’re just passing feelings or an entire life or entire lives and welfare on the line.

I’ve participated in online petitions and worn colors on certain days, but can’t help but feel judged for not personally ending world hunger, personally bringing world peace about, or personally finding or funding entire researches for cures for incurable diseases.

I’m just one person, and all I have are words. And a computer with internet access and strange tastes and preachy opinions I MUST pollute the world with.

(Accurate) knowledge is power. Know and love who you are as a person, or be the change you want to see until you do. And above all, never be afraid to ask for help, or to help others.

Do what you can, with what you have, from where you are, and as much as you like. Someone, somewhere is bound to appreciate it.

Friday, December 28, 2012

to my parents on my birthday

my mom and me, circa 1989-90?
originally my profile pic for mother's day 2011

I already acknowledged on Facebook that it's my birthday on December 28th. In addition to establishing that, I invited my friends to congratulate my mom on 24+ years of amazing parenting on me instead of writing on my wall because it is just as much her day as it is mine.

On Twitter, I went on to acknowledge that my dad gets just as much credit because he was an equally important role model and mentor. What I didn't point out is, my dad doesn't have his own Facebook.

Anyway, from there I mentioned how my brother Ricky would always get our mom flowers on his birthday. I was never gifted with that kind of considerate foresight – because with my birthday being so close to the end of the month, I always managed to spend what was in my account before I could think of getting any kind of gift for her. Looking back, I am mildly disappointed, and always was each time I realized that, but she didn't ever seem to mind.

To most, birthdays signify just officially aging another year. As far as I can see, 24 means just another year until I have to buy my own health and car insurances. For me, the 28th of December, however, just as much as any other day should be, has become a day to be thankful – for the gifts and the well-wishing from everyone, but also being blessed with everyone in my life, including my parents. Especially my parents.

Thank you, Meem (and Didee) – the person that I was, that I am today, and will continue to become, I owe to you both indefinitely. As gifted as you insist I am with words, I cannot express enough how much I love you both.

With how much we've faced, especially in this past year, and with the big changes all of our lives have in store especially in the near future, it has been and will continue to be a team effort. Thank you, again, for everything.