weekend in arcadia

I have ridiculously horrible short term memory.

Saturday morning, I went to the first session of summer CHAMPs. We’re only going to have three sites this summer, and unfortunately I’m going to miss the second one due to yearbook’s editor retreat. Since there wasn’t any transportation available this weekend, and Stanley had shown interest in coming to CHAMPs with me previously, I asked him to drive me and hang out with the kids with me. We picked up Lucy, an alum, and headed to downtown at around 9. We got a little lost on the way but still got there around 9:30. Neel arrived shortly after, and the four of us ended up being the only mentors there. Good thing there were very few kids there as well, because otherwise it would’ve been way too difficult to organize.

The day before, I had asked Stanley to get about 15 feet of white butcher paper for me from his RA friend, so when we got to CHAMPs, I spread it across three or four tables and wrote a big “WE LOVE CHAMPs” on it. I opened the crafts cabinet and got out all sorts of random things – feathers, paint, sponges and stamps, sprinkles, yarn, etc., and just let the kids have at it. It ended up being a relatively successful impromptu event. There weren’t that many of my K-2 kids, so I still miss them, but it was great being around some of the other kids again. I think our biggest problem at CHAMPs is not being able to discipline the kids, but I’m not sure how to take care of that, either. What’s a legit means of threatening them in a way that they’ll really listen? I’m not still naive enough to think that honesty and truth, by example, will work itself out. What steps can we take to grind these lessons into the kids’ minds?

After CHAMPs, we headed back to our apartment to pack for a weekend Arcadia adventure. After getting to Stanley’s house, Layla and I just bummed around and read – I finally started reading The Giver, which I finished before the end of the day. After getting settled, Stanley and I left Layla at home reading and went to the mall to get my ears pierced. The hot weather (according to Layla) made us both easily irritable, and a short irrational quip led to a wasted afternoon of me not getting my ears pierced. We headed back (in silence) and I finished The Giver (More on that later) and eventually made up. We accompanied the rest of the family to Stanley’s aunt’s house for a BBQ. As a true Cantonese household, the mah jong table was set up and being played on when we arrived. After the adults dispersed to deal with food, Layla, Stanley, Justin, and I took over the table for a couple rounds. I won both rounds by zi mo (自模) which was TOTAL LUCK. It reminded me of old times at Guilin with Alex and Danny and Fifield…that was a fun trip. At the BBQ, they had one of the street-vendor-style egg-cake (雞蛋糕) waffle things, and they were awesome. To complete my vision of Taiwan, I had a Hey Song (黑松) sarsaparilla soda, too.

While waiting for the adults to finish socializing, Stanley, Justin, Layla, and I sat around and watched Harry Potter on cable, haha. We got back to Stanley’s house at around midnight and pretty much just crashed after the long day.

Sunday morning, I got up at 9:30 to take a shower. After Stanley got up and we had breakfast, we dropped Layla off at Matt’s house (WHERE I SAW THREE PEACOCKS!!!! SITTING ON HIS FRONT YARD!!!!). Then Stanley surprised me by bringing me to Huntington Library! I had never been there, and I’ll admit that I thought it was a book-library when I first heard of. Actually, it’s a huge estate with various art galleries and open gardens. We went through a gallery of British art and design, then followed up with American paintings and work from the Arts and Crafts movement. I was a bit tired by the time we saw the Greene & Greene collection, but it was super cool to see work that I learned to be the response to industrial improvements in mass production. I was reminded of how much I used to like researching art and art history… DESMA10 and ARCH&UD10B were awesome and I wish I had time to take more classes in those subject areas. I wrote down a few artists’ names and pieces for future research (Edward William Godwin – Anglo-Japanese style, Samuel Gragg – side chair, Allan Adler, Edward Ruscha, Sam Francis) but I don’t know when I’ll get around to that.

The Huntington was awesome, it also had a cool botanical garden (The Rose Hills Foundation Conservatory for Botanical Science) with little labs for kids to explore with. Clearly, I took advantage of them and played with microscopes and felt like a freshman in high school again. It reminded me of the indoor rainforest at the Academy of Sciences in SF.

After getting scorched in the sun while walking through the Japanese (bonsai!) and Australian gardens, we headed over to the mall for a second attempt at getting my ears pierced. After having a late lunch of McD’s (because we are high class), we went to Icing and…success! I now have two holes in each ear, and I really like it. It took forever for the lady to mark my ears perfectly symmetrically, but it paid off to wait, and now I am super satisfied. It looks really good, if I may say so myself, and I can’t wait until it’s all healed up so I don’t have to be afraid of hurting myself, haha.

But now, awesome weekend is over and it’s time to get back to schoolwork and concentrating and all those lesser-fun things. Alas, the life of a college student in the summer. I’m glad UCLA is nearer to the ocean and hence not 100+ degrees every day…

eating and living

I moved into my apartment about a week ago, and so far living on my own has been a blast. They say apartment life makes people too lazy to cook/eat, but that is most definitely not the case here. We’ve been taking turns cooking dinner almost every day, and it’s fun to buy food and prepare it and eat it all deliciously and stuff. We haven’t really gaged how much food expenses will cost per month yet, but it’ll be interesting to see how it compares to dorm food.

So far, my summer’s been pretty uneventful. My first week of summer school was excessively easy, with one professor spending half an hour reviewing what a “mole” was, and the other reviewing ODEs from Math 33B. The third class I’m taking, a physics lab, doesn’t start until next week. I’m a bit afraid for how much time it’ll take to write up each lab report, but two of my apartment-mates are also taking the same class as I am, so at least we’ll be able to work through them together. We picked up a couple free couches from the neighborhood, so our living room is all decked out in furniture. Stanley brought his projector from home – we’ve already utilized it by watching a couple of movies projected against the main wall of our living room.

My goal for the next few weeks is to get exercise every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I only have one class on each of those days, so I don’t really have an excuse not to. Maybe if I’m able to wake up early, I’ll run a perimeter in the morning and feel good about it for the rest of the day. Last Wednesday, Layla and I met up at the gym and worked out for a bit. After working mostly upper body, I ran a little over a mile while she stretched. I felt guilty running only 1.2 miles, knowing that I’m perfectly capable of running about 4 miles in one go, but the lack of wind while using a treadmill leads to extra sweatiness, which is too uncomfortable for me. I want to be more fit! So I’m going to try hard to get back in shape.

Last night, Layla, Stanley and I watched the 11:45 showing of Transformers at the Mann theater in Westwood. There weren’t many people in the theater with us, but we sat on the mezzanine level anyway, for a better/easier view of the big screen. Layla and I sneaked Starbucks into the theater, too :) I’ve decided that my drink of choice is now either a peppermint white mocha (hot or iced) or a black tea lemonade. One of these days I’m going to try the other teas, but until then… I’ll stick with the safe route. I didn’t know what to expect of the movie, since the majority of my friends had conflicting opinions, but I ended up really liking it. Just a few things though: First, I thought that Megan Fox was less hot in the sequel. She just seemed a bit overdone… too much lip gloss? The scene with her Baywatch run was impressive though. The theater applauded for her, haha. Second, the soundtrack was much less exciting in the sequel. There were too many dramatic tones and less rock music, which I really really enjoyed in the first Transformers movie. Linkin Park’s ending theme (New Divide) was great, though, as expected. Lastly, there were a few lame plot twists (teleportation, what?) but overall, awesome. I like that lead army guy, he’s cute. I find it crazily creative when directors/producers are able to pull stories out of things like the Hasbro action figures, or the Disneyland ride (for Pirates of the Caribbean).

After the movie, we walked home and got back around 2am. I crashed soon afterwards, and didn’t get up until 1:10pm! I didn’t expect to oversleep that much, but it’s the first weekend of the summer, so I guess that’s not abnormal. Layla’s friend Jerline came to visit, and we headed over to the pool across the street (also owned by our apartment complex). Wow, the sun in LA is SO HOT in the summer! I got a pretty dark tan after only fifteen minutes on each side at around 3pm. While tanning my back, I felt too disgustingly sweaty so I gave up and stepped into the pool. Just chilled for a few minutes before heading back to our apartment.

Tonight we’re going to San Pedro to watch a Shakespeare comedy for Layla’s post-birthday party. Hopefully it won’t be too cold on the beach :)

(I guess I’ll upload pictures later, or update this post in a few days. I forgot to bring down my copy of CS3 to install on my PC, so I have to do all photo editing on my laptop. Inconvenient, but I’ll deal. Just makes for slow work is all. Speaking of work, I haven’t touched my deck since I moved in. Goal number 2, to finish hearts by the end of the summer!)