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Sunday, July 31, 2005

the film diva is back

Brandon and I bought a mini-dv handheld camcorder this weekend for our wedding and honeymoon. Meet the Panasonic PV-GS250.

It's one of the best consumer grade handheld mini-dv cameras and I cannot TELL you how excited I am to get my hot little hands on this baby and start shooting again.

i'm pretty sure that i ain't no hollaback girl

Two completely unrelated things.

1) Allison and I have been discussing the significance of the lyrics of the Gwen Stefani song, "Hollaback Girl." Neither of us is entirely sure what a Hollaback Girl is, but if Gwen doesn't want to be one, we're fairly certain that we don't want to be one either.

Thankfully, Charlsa's sister Aurora found this article which goes the distance to try to explain the song line by line.

[WARNING: this article contains many incidences of the "S" word -- because the song repeats it about twelve thousand times.]

2) I made the best damned chocolate chip cookies EVER yesterday. No. Seriously. EVER.

I have made my fair share of chocolate chip cookies in my life, but these are head and shoulders above any I have ever made before. I wish the technology existed for me to create an online repository to keep these cookies so that each and every one of you could partake of the blissful serendipity that is this particular batch of chocolate chip cookies.

Alas, it is not possible, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

In addition, I'm vaguely worried that I may have peaked. What if, being the best cookies I have ever made, they are, indeed, the best cookies I will ever make? Have I reached my cookie-making prime? Should I retire at the top of my game and always remember fondly the Best Cookies Ever (tm) while munching on the tasteless mediocrity of store-bought cookies?


Who wants cookies?

Friday, July 29, 2005

Pimpin' Liek Woah

So, some of you may know this, and some of you may not, but my dad is an AWESOME artist. I just finished uploading 13 new drawings that he sent me to his online gallery at

Here's a little preview:

The drawings in the gallery are illustrations for the novel-length fan fiction I've been writing over the last year. It's a family affair now, and honestly, I think his drawings might be the best part.

No need to have read the story to appreciate the art. It will friggin blow your mind, yo.

I'm going to stop talking like that and return you to your regularly scheduled bloggage now.

Peace out.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


I've updated with a new review of the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

I've also gone through and tagged all the entries in that journal, and I can suddenly see how these little tag thingies could be really useful. Hmmm...
Our invites have arrived!


Click the thumbnail to get a better look.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

La la la la la la...

Smurfs: the movie.

I couldn't make this stuff up, folks.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

no spoilers!

Some thoughts on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince -- WITHOUT SPOILERS!!!! (Except for one tiny one at the very very end.)

I liked this book much better than Order of the Phoenix. I felt it was a bit heavy on the explication, but for good reason I guess. There were more parts that I really liked than parts I really DIDN'T like, so that's all good.

I cried. This is the first time in all six books that I've cried -- and it wasn't necessarily at the point you might think. Only a very few books have ever made me cry. I've cried while writing things of my own, but again, it's rare. So that's a good point. =)

Reading this book was a very different experience for me because of my involvement in fandom. I eschewed reading my flist for the last three days because I was worried about being spoiled -- and a good thing, too -- Gun! I'm looking at you!! But I made it through without being spoiled.

The thing that was different, was that I kept thinking random thoughts as I read -- like, "Oh! This group will be happy about that!" or "I read a fic like that once!" Or "NO WAY! That's what I wrote!" (Ok, not too much, but certain small things I guessed correctly.)

Honestly, I've NEVER analyzed a book or series of books as much as these -- not even in school! And when I did finally hop on the internet when I had finished, I was bombarded by the craziness -- people are going NUTS! Either happy or disappointed, EVERYONE has an opinion. Within five minutes of signing on, I was chatting with FIVE different people at once while trying to scan my friends list on LiveJournal.


I have one friend whose first reaction was to decide to eschew fandom entirely -- "retire" as it were from writing and drawing Harry Potter fanfiction. I have a couple of other friends who are entirely re-energized and ready to go again.

As for me? I'm still digesting. I loved the book, and there is SO much fodder for fan fiction, so many stories left untold in this book alone.


I don't think I will write another long fan fiction story. "Sect" has been fun, but so very draining. And it's a little silly now that it's all been made obsolete as it were. I don't think I'll be able to stay away from fan fiction all together. I'll have too many stories to tell, too many new friends to make, too many old friends to keep, and, frankly, WAY too much fun to be had. But I don't think I'll be writing the sequel to "Sect of the Serpent" that I had vaguely planned.

To tell the truth, I'm feeling that whole "kid scribbling with crayons" feeling again -- and I think that's a good thing. As I read, I realized that I'm REALLY (really really really) not as good at writing those wonderfully complicated multi-layered plots that JKR is so famous for. Then again, I also realized that the JKR that wrote "Sorcerer's Stone" wasn't as good as the JKR that wrote "Half-Blood Prince" either. What I mean is, I intend to improve, and when I've got five more novels under my belt, then we can compare apples to... well. Whatever. =)

The impulse that I really feel in these first few hours post HBP is actually to begin writing my OWN stories. I plan to finish my current projects, but I'm really ready to stop living in JKR's shadow and strike out on my own. She's been an excellent teacher, and I've learned a lot in my apprenticeship -- I've learned a lot of my strengths, and even strengthened some of my weaknesses. In fact, some of the nicest compliments I've received have been from the people who have told me how much I've improved since the beginning. Those are the compliments I cherish.

In any case, I think I'm ready to move on. "Sect" has improved my self-confidence in my writing and teased my muse back into helping me out.

My only problem is that now I have to wait TWO MORE YEARS to find out what happens next! *squirms and twitches* Oh well. I'll just have to read HBP a bunch more times and then -- back to fanfiction!

And? Zombies are now canon.

Does it get any better than that??

Friday, July 15, 2005


Ever since I started a separate journal on LiveJournal for my Harry Potter discussions hobby obsession, I haven't posted very much about it on this journal. This is more my personal forum for friends and family (and, I suppose, perfect strangers) to keep up with the goings on in my life.

However. This weekend is a very big weekend for me, and so I feel I would be remiss if I didn't include some of my feelings about it in this journal -- even though it is DISTINCTLY Harry Potter centric.

At 12:01 tomorrow morning, the newest book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince will be released. The only way you could possibly not know about this is if you have been living under a rock for the past several weeks, and if that is the case, what are you doing reading my blog? Get out and get some sunshine for God's sake!

This is a major event for Potter-heads like myself. In fanfiction terms, we call it "new canon" -- in other words, an addition to the cadre of Harry Potter events which are "true."

This is the first time one of these books has been released that I have been a part of the organized fandom. (I like to clarify by saying "organized" fandom, because I don't believe that one has to be a part of said fandom to be a fan.) In fact, the last time a Harry Potter book was released was the first time I made any kind of a fuss over it. Last time (about two years ago) Brandon and I were unemployed, so we went to the midnight release party and received our copy along with thousands of other screaming fans just after midnight -- and promptly went home and went to bed.

This time is a bit different. We aren't planning to go to one of the parties, but I have already researched which 24 hour groceries in our neighborhood plan to carry the book, just in case I can't sleep, or wake up at some ungodly hour of the morning and NEED to go out and get it.

It could happen.

In all honesty, this is a bit of a surreal experience for me. I have never been a part of a fandom the way I am now. I've never been one of the thronging masses waiting desperately for the next... whatever. I went to see the first new Star Wars movie the day it was released, but I didn't go at midnight, and I only went because a bunch of friends were going and they got me a ticket. I've never participated in discussion groups or chat groups about anything before. The closest I've ever gotten was to chat once with a group of Blake's Seven fans -- but only once. They scared me a little bit.

And I'm sure that the Harry Potter fandom would scare anyone looking at it from the outside. On LiveJournal, you only have to click on my "friends" page (to see entries of other people I've marked as friends) to feel the hysteria that's quietly bubbling under the surface. Many of my friends have voluntarily "signed off" of livejournal -- and thereby the fandom at large -- in order to remain spoiler free for the reading of the book.

That's right. The spoilers are apparently flying thick and fast if you know where to look. The only pseudo-spoiler I've succumbed to was to read the blurb on the back cover of the UK edition, a photo of which was released a few days ago. (I would have read the American version too -- except that the American hardbound copies don't have blurbs on the back. I have, however, seen pictures of the front and back of the American copy.)

Every other minute I see something on the news or in a newspaper or online about Harry. The DFW Star Telegram had a cute article about how Harry would read, written by other famous authors like Dickens or Shakespeare. How do I know that, you may ask, as I live in California? Why, I subscribe to The Daily Snitch on LiveJournal which linked me to an article about it at The Leaky Cauldron.

I realize that it's all a bit silly. I understand that we're all slightly manic and weird and obsessive. I realize that my children will probably laugh at me and tell me that the Harry Potter books are OK, but really not nearly as brilliant as whatever the latest thing for them is.

But, when it's all said and done, I feel like I am a part of something. It isn't the Berlin Wall coming down, or the end of a war, or the first moving picture show, but it's still history. Where were you when we landed on the moon? Where were you when Kennedy was shot? Where were you on 9/11?

Where were you when the Harry Potter books were released?

I know it's not the same. It's not earth shattering, certainly not life altering, but it is one of those moments. It's one of those pop culture events, one of those once in a lifetime -- once in anybody's lifetime -- moments that stick out amid a million other moments.

And more than that, it's a moment to be happy about. How many of those do we get collectively as a community, as a nation, as a world? How often do these marker events revolve around hate, war, sadness, or strife?

It seems to me as good a reason as any to go out and celebrate with the rest of the world that a book -- not a movie, not a video game, not a drug or a vice or a sin -- can bring us together.

I used to be a little bit embarrassed to tell people that I was a Harry Potter fan. I mean, it's a kid's book, right? It's a guilty little secret so big that the European presses have started printing "adult" copies of the book with less obvious covers so that adults won't be embarrassed to be seen reading it on the train.

Personally, I'm not embarrassed any more. I read Harry Potter books. I rediscovered my muse writing Harry Potter fan fiction. I participate in the fandom, and I've made friends from all over the world. Hell, I have even been interviewed by a perfect stranger in Bombay, India who read my fanfiction and was moved by it enough to want to write an article about it for his newspaper.

I'm proud of that. I'm proud that after a four year dry spell I've finally rediscovered my passion for writing.

And I'm proud to say that I will be one of the millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions of people, young and old, in dozens of languages, in every industrialized nation of the world, who will be eagerly awaiting the stroke of midnight tonight.

And I'll be proud to say, "I was there."

Thursday, July 14, 2005

random post

I had the strangest dream this morning...

We were watching that show Brat Camp last night, and I think I dreamed I was at Brat Camp -- or something similar. Anyway, I was eating something (that I wasn't supposed to be eating?) and one of the brackets on my braces on my lower teeth broke off. So I went to tell the counselor person, but as I was talking, the other brackets started falling off and pretty soon I was coughing them up and spitting them out until all of my lower braces had fallen off. And there was something about we were in this oriental silk shop and we kept going to parts of it where we weren't supposed to go.


Oddly enough, the part about the braces kind of happened in real life. We were on vacation at the Grand Canyon and I took a big bite of a piece of apple and the wire connecting my top braces popped right out of its little socket in the back. We had to go to Flagstaff or somewhere and find an orthodontist open like three days after Christmas for them to put it back in, because my whole mouth hurt; the wire popping out had released all the tension on my top teeth, causing them to ache, and the loose wire also cut up the inside of my cheek pretty badly. No amount of dental wax could prevent that.

God, I hated having braces. But I like having nice, straight teeth.

[end random post]

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

so it is a small world after all...

I just got interviewed via email by a reporter in Bombay, India for an article in her newspaper about fan fiction and "Sect of the Serpent."

I am freaking blown away by this.

I already knew that "Sect" has an international readership, but this is just beyond cool. I feel all famous and junk. =D

Monday, July 11, 2005

I don't think we're in Newport any more, toto...

Well, I have survived my very first Monday at my new job. Barely. I have a headache the size of Montana to show for it.

On Friday, we got kicked out of our lease at the building in Newport Coast. We packed everything in the office in a matter of hours, loaded it into all of our cars, and moved it to the new building. Unfortunately, the new building wouldn't let us move in until after 5:00, so we weren't done until almost 7. I got to work on Friday at 8.

Thankfully, with the four of us and one of A.'s friends, we managed to move almost everything in one trip. Frank had to go back for a few things on Saturday, but nothing major. We moved everything into our new offices in Huntington Beach in just a few trips. Not nearly as cool as the ones on the water, but they'll do.

Today, I got to work at 8:30 and found, happily, that they had just finished moving in our furniture. F. and I rearranged a few things and got down to the nitty gritty of unpacking. We didn't have internet until after noon because there were issues with the ethernet jacks not being wired correctly. Also, our fax machine doesn't work. I spent two hours trying to figure that one out, to no avail.

Around 1pm, I finally got on my computer to check my email, and there was a message from L. (who is in New York this week) with a list of errands for me to run. Today. This morning if possible.

Yeah right.

Suffice to say, they didn't get done until this afternoon. And by the time I finished, traffic on the 405 was a mess, so I came home. I just couldn't see the point of sitting in traffic for an hour to try to get back to work...

So. So far so... crazy. I think I've said this before, but it's a little bit difficult to form an opinion about this job when I KNOW that this first week or so is completely atypical. Then again, I think I can already say that I think I'm going to like being an Accounts Coordinator, but not like being a Personal Assistant quite so much.


I just realized something horrible:

I don't know where the bathrooms are in my new office building.

More about the move to come. Right now, I have to go search for the little girl's room...

Friday, July 08, 2005

quote for the day

Undershaft. But, Mr Cusins, this is a serious matter of business. You are not bringing any capital into the concern.

Cusins. What! no capital! Is my mastery of Greek no capital? Is my access to the subtlest thought, the loftiest poetry yet attained by humanity, no capital? my character! my intellect! my life! my career! what Barbara calls my soul! are these no capital? Say another word; and I double my salary.

From "Major Barbara" by Bernard Shaw. Sums up my working life pretty well, I think. (Though, I haven't actually mastered Greek. But then, it's *all* Greek to me.) =D

just trying things out

Just trying out the new photoblogging feature that Blogger has installed. Pretty cool, no?

For those of you who haven't seen this picture, this was taken at Crystal Cove State Beach by a bored and friendly lifeguard. From the left, my uncle Lee, Brandon, me, my aunt Leslie, and my cousins Olivia and Eliott.

Niriders, you were asking for advice on how to share pictures on the web? This is pretty darned easy. But if you don't want to start a blog, I would suggest Flickr. It's a free photo hosting and sharing service. You can view my flickr page (which I'm still learning how to use) here.

gentlemen, start your crazy...

Just a quick update before the insanity starts.

I spent nine and a half hours at work yesterday. Three and a half of those hours were spent doing the following:
  • Buying tape and boxes at Staples
  • Dropping off movies (not mine) at Blockbuster
  • Picking up clothes at Forever 21 (again, not mine)
  • Picking up and dropping of dry cleaning (again... you get the picture)
  • Picking up the mail
  • Picking up the lease at the cool PCH offices that we're probably not going to take

I was also supposed to deposit a check, but I forgot to take it with me. *facepalm*

The rest of yesterday was spent looking for things that I didn't know existed, and packing. Lots and lots of packing. Today will consist of more packing, moving, and then lots and lots of unpacking (though, the unpacking probably won't happen until Monday when all the furniture gets to the new office).

We (and by we, I mean L. and F.) decided to take a temporary office space in Huntington Beach. Not ON Huntington Beach, though that would be awesome, but in the city. This is good because it means that I won't have to work out of L.'s house for two weeks while we wait to move into the PCH office space. It is less good because it is hella far from all those errands I listed above. Since L. is going to be out of town for most of the month, I probably won't have to do a lot of those, but I will have to pick up the mail.

Other than that... I don't know. Things are too crazy to really form a coherent opinion at this point. I can already tell that there are things that are going to be challenging (and really, that's the nicest word I could think of to put there -- so not challenging in a good personal growth sort of way). On the other hand, I'm so busy that I barely notice the time passing, there's always something to do, and I'm never bored.

Never a dull moment, as they say.

Also, L. insists on keeping her stash of cookies and chocolate in MY office. (She is TINY, by the way.) This does not bode well.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

If I were going to move...

I think I'd move to Buhtan.

They have just drafted their very first constitution, including many tenets of their national faith, Buhdism. One of the provisions of the provisional constitution is that it is a duty of the government to work towards its people's overall happiness.

That's right. The government is making it a constitutional responsibility to do everything it can to help its citizens lead happy lives.

Anybody know what language they speak in Buhtan? I may need to get me some Berlitz tapes...

yay for employment

New job is teh cool (at least, as compared with old job; still involves *work*, but what are you going to do?). We are getting kicked out of our current offices, and the new ones that they're looking at are RIGHT on the water in Newport Beach off PCH. Apparently, mine is the only office with a view of the water. *happy dances*

Also, small company = no more internet filters. Hurrah! I have access to email again. I cannot BELIEVE how much I missed it. *kisses email* Also? The USB ports on my computer actually work, hence my very cool flash drive actually works again. TRIPLE YAY!

(Not that I'm going to have as much down time here, but hey, it's the thought that counts.)

I'm hired here as an independant contractor. While this is bad for things like getting paid overtime and having to save to pay my own taxes, it is good because I ONLY work the hours I want to work, and I can up and leave to run errands or whatever whenever I want. Other cool thing is that one of my bosses has me running errands to Fashion Island for her ALL THE TIME. Fashion Island is cool. =D

Next week may be crazy as we are getting kicked out of our current offices and cannot move in to the future offices until the fifteenth. May be working from home.

Loving this job.