two cute

A few hours ago I looked up The Fray’s new song, You Found Me on youtube (I was about to pre-order the album on Amazon, and while youtube surfing, I came across Plain White T’s – 1, 2, 3, 4. It’s definitely one of the cutest songs I’ve heard recently, so I figured I’d share. Enjoy!

Also, I just gave in and opened my box of Godiva Raspberry Premiere Biscuits. After eating one, Kency claimed them to be “amazing. They’ve got like, the perfect amount of raspberry. Sometimes it’s too much and overwhelming, but this is perfect.” Emili also says, “Delicious!” It’s true that $8.50 is a bit much for fifteen pieces of chocolate, but I never feel too guilty buying expensive edibles. Because they’re awesome. If you try these and love them, I’d also recommend the Petite Mousse Biscuits. They break apart and melt in your mouth. Heather’s reaction was, “Ohh my goooooddddd!!!” Seriously, Godiva chocolates can be the go-to present for anyone, anytime. (But Valentine’s Day is coming up! Now you have an excuse of a reason to get some for yourself.)

Actually, to clarify: Not always. My exboyfriend gave me a box of chocolates once, and, well, it was just one of those boxes of chocolates that are nice, but not so thoughtful. It doesn’t take too much extra effort to find something more special, I think. An assortment says I don’t know what you like so I hope this is good enough. My advice is to pick something more individual (like these, yum! or these, which my sister likes) that says I know you well enough to know you’d like these. An exception is the G Collection which is well, completely and totally great.

Wow I really just blogged about Godiva chocolates for no reason. I hope somebody somewhere gets some from their sigoth (read: significant other) and loves it because of me. That’d be awesome. (Too bad if I receive Godiva from my boyfriend now it’d lame because it’s already obvious that I’d like it. Okay I really need to get back to work now…)

irvine daytrip

(Really really) early on Saturday morning, Stanley and I went to a weekly car show in Irvine, Cars & Coffee. I’ll openly admit that I know next to nothing about cars, but it was still pretty cool to see a lot of extremely old and rare cars. Stanley pointed out a handful of models and explained a lot of different specs and such to me, which was realy cool. I love knowing things, but am not always in the mood to research on my own. So having him explain things kept me interested in the cars. I think next time I’m surrounded by a lot of extreme car enthusiasts, I’ll just ask someone random to explain how things work to me, too. I brought my camera to Irvine; It was interesting for me to shoot a subject I never encountered before – automobiles. Of course I didn’t have any special equipment with me, but I was mostly just composing and taking quick shots of whatever was happening/seen around me.

We stayed the entire two hours to watch the cars leave at around 9. I sat with Stanley at the entrance and played with these three pit bulls that were really cute. I also saw a six-month old blenheim CKCS that was so adorable. I chatted with the owner for a little bit about what my dog, Monty, was like with a few years under his belt, and then really missed my puppy… After we left, we eventually found our way to Rose’s apartment. We relaxed for a little while before deciding on eating lunch at Diamond Plaza, a decently-sized Asian plaza with a handful of restaurants. We met up with Maggie and ate at Ajisen Ramen, which was deliciously tasty! After lunch, Rose, Maggie, and I took purikura (photo booth sticker pictures). Seriously, taking those pictures is one of the most fun things ever. I guess that bit of Asian in me will never cease to exist, haha.

We left and went to Maggie’s house. She had this awesome karaoke set, so we sang a few rounds of Chinese pop songs before heading back out to Yogurtland. I still like tart yogurt better than sweetened froyo, so I wish they had a mango tart yogurt. We got kiwi and mochi and mangos on top of regular tart, strawberry tart, and mango. Strawberry tart was lame, but probably just because I’ve been spoiled by the Pom froyos at Pinkberry and Redmango. After Yogurtland, Maggie drove us all to South Coast, one of the malls in Irvine. I looked for sunglasses (I swear, no sunglasses look good on me) and Birkenstocks (didn’t find my style, but did discover my size). I also found the bracelet I wanted at Tiffany’s, in my size and color. I got a call from Tako in the afternoon who told me she wouldn’t be able to make it to dinner, so Maggie, Rose, Stanley, and I just went to dinner at Islands. Rosie and I shared a burger with mushrooms which was really good. After dinner we went back to Maggie’s to continue karaoke-ing and take a break before getting shaved ice at Guppy’s. Stanley fell asleep at Maggie’s, though, so instead, the three of us just karaoke-ed for a few hours with really old American songs and lots of Chinese songs. It was really fun, so by the time I woke Stanley up it was already pretty late. We headed home to get back to school around 11. I was so tired that I just fell straight asleep right after climbing into bed.

Overall it was an extremely long day, but I’m glad I went. It was a lot of fun, to see Maggie and Rose (and lots of cars). Lots of thanks to my boyfriend for driving me around and tagging along!

i like school

Last night I was struggling with my schoolwork and hence having a bit of a mid-week crisis. Lately I’ve been reconsiderig my major (for the upteenth time) and so when my frustration with math reached its peak, I gave up and went to talk to Stanley. I wanted to be a mechanical engineer so that I could have more choice and versatility with my future studies. With a degree in ME, I could either continue studying engineering, or transfer to an art school to study design or architecture. Having background engineering knowledge would help me the most with industrial design, yet another strong interest of mine. Not to mention I’d be able to get a job relatively easily with the engineering degree.

The worst part about the classes I have to take is that I don’t understand what’s going on. It’s a big problem, because when one doesn’t understand, it’s extremely difficult to foster an interest in the subject. Without interest, one loses motivation, which obviously leads to discontent.

Why am I still studying to be an engineer? Why haven’t I transferred out yet? I don’t have a concrete answer to these questions – I’ve been questioning my path. I used to think that the reason why I wasn’t out there studying fine art was because I lacked the skill to succeed in the art industry. But honestly, seeing where I am now and how I’m getting through my physics and math classes (barely)…I wonder if I’m that much better at comprehending the maths and sciences. Which just means, no matter what I do I need to work hard. Who cares if I’m not good at it. Like my dad claims, perseverance is key to success. Is it really? Will working hard without enjoying my work now be worth it in a few years? I can tell myself it’s just a few years to get through, and it’ll be okay, I’ll be done soon. But I mean, is that really what I want to be doing?

Yes, I guess it really is. I want to be a mechanical engineer. I want to be able to say I did it, and to have learned what I claimed I would. Even if it’s solely out of spite (which I used to avoid at all costs, now I’m just accepting myself) I don’t care, because I chose this and I’m going to do it.

It’s not too late to change my mind, but that’s irrelevent now. My dad told me in the middle of my first year, that if I really wanted to transfer into a significantly different major, then I could stay at UCLA a fifth year to graduate. I’m almost halfway through my second year of college, but I know that if I wanted to get out, I still could. If I decided that I were unhappy enough to really want to leave HSSEAS, I would. But I’m not as unhappy as I seem to complain about, actually. Because, I guess, it’s just so satisfying to walk into a classroom full of nerdy looking Asian guys and know that I’m just as good as they are. (Just kidding.) More like, although everything so so freaking difficult to understand, I know that love learning. The harder a class is, the more I learn from taking it. So I should (and do, I guess) enjoy my classes, in a way.

Educational masochist, yeah, that’s me.

birthday (suits)

So like, my boyfriend is pretty awesome.

Tuesday was Kency’s birthday. Monday night, around dinner time, Stanley asked me if it would be a good idea to get Kency a bunch of daisies to surprise her. I told him of course, and later that night walked to Whole Foods with him to pick up the prettiest bouquet. It wasn’t until we got back and I arranged the flowers in her vase that I remembered that months ago Kency had mentioned to the guys that last year, she bought herself flowers for her birthday because she didn’t get any. Also, when I went to Pomona in October last year, she asked me to give Frances a gerbera daisy (her favorite). These things were hardly mentioned just once to him, in passing, and yet Stanley remembered. I think that’s pretty amazing. (Maybe my expectations are too low?)

I don’t have class on Tuesdays, so I slept in. I woke up in time to catch up with Layla and Kency at Ralph’s, where we went grocery shopping for the delicious ingredients of ice cream sundaes. In addition to four cartons of ice cream (Yum! :3) we got cookies, waffle cones, hot fudge, caramel, butterscotch, cherries, bananas, and chocolate crackers. After bringing everything back to our dorm, we cleaned up our dorm and set everything up. We ate an early dinner at Rendezvous with Daniel before heading over to Nghiem’s suite to play Rock Band! It’s been a long time since I’ve played, so it was lots of fun despite lack of skills on my part, haha. I went back to my dorm for some last minute things; Kency’s ice cream sundae party started around 8:30. Although I had a pretty significant chunk of homework to work on, I wasn’t able to work with new and old friends in our room. I probably shouldn’t let myself go a day without studying, especially when I’m taking two upper-division classes, but too late. I guess I’ll just have to start working harder now…

But here was the most interesting part of the night.

By the time everyone left it was too late to start working on homework. I had just about settled down when my roommate ran into our room and announced that there were people in the building next to ours having sex. (No joke.) When I got to Josh’s room, the guy was still wearing his boxers, but not for long. Soon enough, they stripped down all the way, apparently not noticing at all that their curtains were wide open. Pretty much the entire time we couldn’t stop laughing at their stupidity. Seriously? For the world to see. It was the first time I ever watched sex, but it was way too ridiculous – they had sex like rabbits in heat, I swear. They were done in less than five minutes, and as they were cleaning up (a conveniently located roll of toilet paper did it’s job) the guy finally noticed the open window and closed one side before looking out. We let him know he had an audience with a bit of lightplay.

Here’s Josh’s take on the show, and Emili’s hilarious commentary. I’m totally speechless.

typographic growth

One of the websites that I check daily on my Google reader is (iLT). Although I never studied typography or fonts formally, I developed in interest with them alongside webdesign, as they often go hand in hand (especially in this digital day and age). Today’s blog about vertical heights is definitely a good starting point for anybody who wants to foster an interest in typography. I’ve read a few snippets about type terms/usage before, but nothing too serious, so as a reference, I definitely found iLT’s “Inconspicuous Vertical Metrics” blog to be informative and interesting. Blogger Alec Julien put together lots of comparisons to exemplify the different terms, too, so everything’s super applicable.

As for other type-blogs, I’ve found Death by Kerning to be an often-updated one worthy of RSS. If anybody knows any other quick online references/tutorials for other typographic elements or font blogs, please share!

solving people

Three days a week, I wake up at around 7AM to attend my 8AM Differential Equations class, taught by Professor George Mohler. This morning my friend Josh blogged about my professor’s ex-musical career. His roommate had Googled my professor’s name, hoping to get to our course webpage, but instead stumbled upon, which appears to be a small collection of uber-indie artists that once-upon-a-time tried to make it to stardom.

It’s pretty inspiring, actually, to see that my math professor, who seems a bit bland during lecture (but I’m not judging!) has something about him. A twist, I guess. It’s comforting, I guess, to know that no, he’s not just a math professor at UCLA. He’s also a musician. He has interests, and his entire life isn’t all about math. Seeing where I am in my life right now (an undergraduate engineering student, not so sure about her future), it’s a bit hard for me to visualize where I’ll be in 10 years. It’s difficult for me to think about the hobbies I want to pursue, the studies I enjoy. But Professor Mohler? He’s got something. He tried his hand at one of his passions. Maybe it didn’t work out so well (Listen: George Mohler – Love to be in Love) but I guarantee there are people out there with this song on their iPod.

I was talking to my friend Rohit about my Mechanical Engineering 101 class’ professor a few days ago, about how he seemed like an interesting person. I argued that since he uses a Camelbak water bottle, he’s not just some guy. He might be some guy who wants to help the environment by utilizing a reusable water bottle. But we might never know, since all he is to us is an MAE professor.

I really really like people watching. I watch strangers all day on campus, while I walk to and from classes and work. It never ceases to amuse and amaze me the way people act, look, talk. Because with every motion, word spoken, it’s like you learn something about a stranger. A stranger that’s part of this community, our culture. And I guess in a way, it builds this conception of myself and what I think. Because what’s my opinion but a really convoluted mixture of everyone else’s?

Anyway, I think I might be getting sick, so apologies for mismatched thoughts. But tomorrow’s my day off so hopefully I’ll get to sleep in and get better. Oh yeah P.S. I met someone today who finished today’s crossword puzzle. His name was Paul.

back to school

My roommate Kency just came up to me randomly and said, “Jenn, I’m glad you’re happy.” And it’s true – I had a really good day today, and I have been so much happier recently compared to just six months ago.

This morning I woke up at 8 to get ready for CHAMPs. It was the first site I attended since early November, so I was really excited and awake in the morning. I met a few new volunteers, and introduced them to our system (and tried to convince them to work with the K-2 kids). On the bus-ride to downtown Los Angeles, I listened to my iPod and just relaxed in preparation for the morning. After getting to Casa Heiwa, everybody introduced themselves over breakfast (bagels and cream cheese, of course) and then I headed over to the K-2 room. Man, I totally missed those kids these last two months. Dasauni and Aleena, the cutest siblings ever, came today, and it was great seeing them and playing with them alongside Destiny, Memphis, Lailone, Gabriel, and the rest of the kids. I’ve definitely gotten attached to a large handful of those kids since I started attending CHAMPs a year ago, and don’t plan on quitting as long as I reside in LA.

After we got back to UCLA at around 1, I went back up to my dorm to work on homework due early next week. A few days ago, my computer got infected by a virus – my friends were using it while I wasn’t around, and when it froze, they came to get me from my boyfriend’s room. Josh had this serious expression on his face, and said he had something to say to me. Josh and Emili were freaking out about whether I’d get mad at them and yell at them for crashing my computer…I just laughed it off. No way I’d get mad at them for something that could’ve just as easily happened to myself. But anyway, last night I asked my boyfriend’s roommate, Matt, to help me get rid of the virus that caused the crash (and the successive crashes afterwards). A software genius, he spent a few hours figuring everything out and cleaning my PC up for me while I used my neighbor Wesley’s, spare laptop to do my CS lab (with Visual C++ instead of Xcode). When he got my computer working again, I was so happy! It’s really nice to not have to reinstall Windows on a reformatted PC.

My afternoon continued with my first problem set for MAE101 (Statics & Strengths of Materials). I got through quite a bit of it, happily, and was totally ready for our floor dinner reservations at BJ’s at 5:30. Kency wanted to go out to BJ’s tonight for her birthday, so twelve of us went together (Josh, Wesley, Emili, Harrison, Sing, Lynn, Matt, Dennis, Nghiem, Steven, Kency, and myself) to Westwood. The food was delicious and plenty, so we’re planning on a leftovers-party tomorrow in the dorms. After the meal, of course we had a few pizookies for the table, which were pure yum. We took a group picture outside of BJ’s (which I opted out of) and then headed home.

My day was productive and fun, the best day I’ve had in what seems like a long time. (The only thing missing was Stanley, who I saw in the morning but went home while I was at CHAMPs. I missed him the most while the rest of us ate dinner.) Tomorrow I plan on going on run in the morning, a quick Costco trip, finishing the last of my MAE101 homework, doing the bulk of my math homework, and maybe some shopping for a birthday present.

It’s been a pretty good first week of school. Earlier this week Heather and Sophie visited me at UCLA and we went to Rodeo Drive, Sprinkles, and Pinkberry. I really like being around my high school friends, as it always seems like they know me better (or at the very least, differently) than my college friends. I hope that this quarter doesn’t get too much busier, as I’m afraid I won’t be an efficient time-manager. If all else fails, though, I’ll at least have learned my limits.

PS. After we walked back home, I stopped and sat down outside to relax and check out the full moon. I was just sitting around with Matt and Wesley when Steven Chang, from Miller/Lynbrook walked by with his girlfriend, Daisy. Man, that brought me way back, haha. I vaguely remember being pretty good friends with him in 8th grade…


Yesterday, I went to the LACMA with my boyfriend, Stanley. We got there pretty late, a little after 3pm, so we didn’t have that much time to cover much of the museum (which is actually pretty huge, split up into a few separate buildings) but the first building we stepped into was the one I was probably the most interested in – the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA. In the last few years, I’ve met people who misunderstand, abhor and even despise the concept of modern art, but I am definitely not one of them. For me, the intensity of representation is one of the most defining things about art, and whether abstract, direct, simple or complex (often a mixture of all), I feel as if it’s often all about the ideas formed as well as the expressions evoked and expressed, no matter the form. Long story short, I noticed a few artists at the BCAM at LACMA: Inaugural Installations exhibition (and the rest of the museum) that I decided to do more research on.

John Baldessari
The piece that caught my attention was the wall mural, Buildings = Guns = People: Desire, Knowledge, and Hope (with Smog). I noticed that the word “Hope” in the title corresponded to a giant print of a blue rose. After checking out the mural for awhile, I moved on to the other sections of the exhibit which included other paintings of Baldessari. He had a handful of really conceptual paintings, as well as some that were purely text against blank canvas. I found humor in his cynicism and view on modern art, and as an influential contemporary artist, I think he’d be good a good choice to look up.

Helen Frankenthaler
Frankenthaler’s work reminded me vaguely of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s, so of course I had to do more research after seeing her work at the LACMA. Her abstract works had a certain graffiti style to them (akin to Twombly’s and Basquiat’s, in some ways), and it’s interesting to see how that they compare to her earlier more color-field style. I feel as if her style is easier to read and understand than Baldessari’s work, maybe because of the easy juxtaposition of the elements in her paintings. Either way, I definitely found her work to be interesting to observe.

Overall, I definitely found the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the LACMA to be worth going to. It’s not overwhelmingly large, nor is it too extensive (it mostly focuses on a few influential artists) but still, it’s been awhile since I’ve museum hopped, so it was nicely portioned cut of my day.

ben’s jenn’s 3

I spent the last few days decorating a “3” for my friend Ben. We were at Santana Row the other day with a few other Bruinlife 2008-ers (Christine, Erica, and Steven) and were wandering the stationary stores (because really, that’s all we can afford at Santana Row). Ben ended up purchasing 4 numbers to spell 1337, and offered me a 3 to decorate for him. I definitely made it my own, as it’s very stylistically me. It was a lot of fun to design it and then execute my ideas. It’s really messily done, but I really like the way it turned out anyway. It’s me, in a 3.

I still have all the color scraps of cloth from my Making Amends and Connections pieces from high school, so I used grey and blue coth to cover the letter after painting it blue (it was the only paint I had in my room, from summer school). I cut leaves and shapes from red and green cloth to make a miniature rose-bush of sorts to put in the bucket of the 3. So here’s a blurb about my concept and idea –

Definitely I wanted to incorporate the idea of the importance of nature and environment into my 3, because I mean, seriously? Nature is always amazing, though people forget it often. The shapes and curves of the 3 made it really ideal to keep something inside, so easily enough I decided to “plant” the flowers inside. It kept it all together well composed, and so for awhile, I had the plant-part done but not the rest of it, which I hadn’t decided on. I really wanted to continue working with my fabric, because of how messy and hands-on it looks (I like it like that) so I cut out the 3 shape twice in dark blue, for the front and back. A few days ago, I found these miniature brad-buttons at Target, so just playing with them I put them into the cloth, gradienting light blue on the top to nothing on the bottom. After setting that up, I realized it looked like stars against a night sky, so of course I had to keep it that way! I did the same on the back with the light grey button-brads. And voila, pretty much it. Oh, lastly, I found these really old earrings that my sister was about to toss – they had little lock/key charms on the end, so I cut them off and hung them from the serifs of the 3. They hang on the side, so from the front & back you can’t see it. I knew I wanted the lock somewhere easily visible, but I wanted to hide the key somewhere within the “garden.” Thinking about it, though, it didn’t seem to fit well, so I kept it on the side, underneath the lock across the jump of the 3. Separate but together, as a lock and key should always be.

I had problems with the super glue – I didn’t experiment and forgot that the glue would darken and stiffen the fabric. I should have put the plants through the cloth more neatly, and stuck with double sided tape instead of super glue. Oh well, though, the grey cloth = dirt will just be like that. Yeah, honestly, I should have experimented and sketched more ideas, but I was so into decorating and getting started that I couldn’t help just jumping in. Next time, I’ll hold myself back so I can think things through more clearly.

I uploaded a few other old and new sketches onto my portfolio site, mint. I plan on updating that more often, and hope to change the layout sometime soon (ish) as well.

a refreshment

This is where I want to be in 2009.

I want to find myself somewhere where I am comfortable with myself. Where I’m not afraid of making mistakes, because I’m confident that the only mistakes I’ll make are in ignorance and not due to stupidity. I plan on being somewhere, with people I am constantly learning from and with. I want to be in a constant state of education, because that means I’ll be growing. Even if I don’t have a clear destination in mind, I hope I continue moving, because only in motion and action can I experience the live I’m living.

I’ve realized that one of the most necessary things I need to find happiness and contentedness is balance. I hope that in the coming year I learn to have confidence with room for modesty, to be selfish selflessly, that I offer help only if it doesn’t lead to sacrificing my own well-being, that I’ll avoid excessive honesty and treachery (in which case any amount would be excessive) and that I do my best to share my happiness with those around me.

New Year’s Resolutions:
1. Produce at least one piece of (serious) artwork/concept a month
2. Spend less money on “fun things”, because there are better things to spend money on/save money for
3. Disregard fear, because most of the time it’s irrational
4. Study, so I can do better in school
5. Learn to love again, because it’s important

This year has been a painful one for me. I unexpectedly lost both friends and loves, and although the experience shaped me, I often regret the steps I chose to take that led to where I am. I made big mistakes that led to an emotional crash, and it took me months to pick myself up again. But here I am. I’m not refurbished, in no way am I as-good-as-new, but I am beaten up and have been taught. I’ll remember, because the cognizance of pain is permanent. And now I’m more ready than ever, to accept what life has in store for me.

I put this together a few days ago as a representation of my 2008. I spent a few hours looking through my digital photo album and took two pictures from each month. I tried to pick pictures that I never liked enough to make part of my portfolio, just so I could learn to appreciate them more. It helped, actually, because as the time between a photo is taken and when I view it gets longer, the less I remember why I didn’t like it as much to begin with. One of my more lax resolutions is to take more photos this year, and to try to bring my DSLR (a Nikon D40) around more often. This way I’ll always have the choice to capture a moment on (digital) film. I guess at the same time I want to learn how to utilize my camera more efficiently rather than give in to my shutter-happy tendencies, too.

It’s time to take things more seriously.