a left-eyed girl

living in a 2 dimensional world

Not exactly writer’s block

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More often, I’m the type of writer who has way too many words than the type who gets stopped up (I’d call it word diarrhea even). Therefore, it’s almost a godsend that I’ve become a bit more picky about what I’d like to publish on this blog. Seriously, this internal censor is quite a good trait that I’ve developed. I used to blog endlessly about anything and everything, but these days, I’ve become more selective, trying to structure my entries around a single topic (with requisite divergences of course). It doesn’t always work, hence the ridiculous amount of partly finished drafts, but I hope I’m sounding more cohesive than I used to.

(Now, if only I could centre an entire blog about a single topic, I might be getting somewhere… Alas, I’m happy with sticking to a single topic per entry for now.)

To take care of all the word-overflow that’s not made it onto this blog, I’ve been writing more in my private journals that I keep at my bedside. Since I’m so lackadaisical when it comes to using paper journals, I currently have two partially filled journals that I’m working on finishing. One of them was started back in the late 90s. The other was started more recently, at least early 2000s. I don’t have any idea what I’ll do with them when I’m done other than stick them with the rest of my paper journals, but I do like starting a new journal and then (eventually) finishing it. Part of me wishes to burn my old journals, but then part of me likes to flip through them every so often so I can laugh at how silly or melancholy or overly dramatic I was in some entries.

(Some of my teenage journals are so appropriately angst-ridden that they are very interesting to re-read and see how I’ve changed, hopefully for the better, over the years.)

Of course, there is very little censoring happening in these paper journals, so I get to read all the really stupid stuff, e.g., petty complaints about people in my life, small (basically minuscule) accomplishments, and highly embarrassing unabashed bragging. Apparently, I’m pretty awesome, and I’m not shy about it. In the same breath, I should mention that I’m a psychotic maniac prone to crying fits and screaming rages. And I get excited really easily. Really easily.

[Warning: Tangent Ahead!]

I’m not sure if I’ll ever grow out of that kind of stuff, but I’m okay with that. I used to wish that I could change my personality. Ideally, I’d love to become calmer and less excitable in general, but I’m not sure if it’s possible. One month, I tried to be less excitable and honest, it was one of the worst personal goals I’ve ever come up with, almost as bad as the time when I tried to become more introverted. I’m a firm believer that people have some very basic personality traits and while other things about the person may change, those very basic traits may remain the same for their entire lives.

And yes, this means that I think being easily excitable is one of my basic personality traits. What I become excited about might change, but when I am focused on something in particular, everything about that topic gets me riled up. That even includes people! I still get very much overly excited when I get to meet up with friends that I am very fond of but don’t see often. Often after meeting with them, I’ll ride on a high of happiness, causing me to tell Frannie all about our meeting in sometimes excruciating detail. The boy is a saint for putting up with me.

[And this is where we doe-see-doe and hopefully promenade it back to the original topic with a thoroughly ungraceful transition phrase…]

But anyway, I may continue to be easily excitable for the rest of my conscious life (until my brain turns to mush and I become a vegetable), and I’ve come to terms with that. It’s probably the reason why I like to write so much. There are way too many words and stories stuck in my brain and I feel like no matter if I wrote for hours and hours, I still wouldn’t be able to get them all out!

Now if only I could devote as much time to proofreading and structure as I do to spewing raw writing and maybe I could actually get somewhere with this. Until then, I’ll satisfy myself with the meandering blog entries and random paper journal entries instead.

Written by Reese

July 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Posted in just life

The end of June

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Yesterday, the last day in June, I had the wonderful fortune of meeting with a rarely-seen friend. We seem to like each other just fine, but we just don’t see each other often. In between visits, we have very little contact, preferring to do all our catching up in person rather than maintaining steady virtual contact. The odd thing is that we seem to be able to pick up just where we left off whenever we do get a chance to meet.

I have very few friends with whom I can do this, but they do exist. Some friends require constant contact, and if either of us lags, it feels a little weird the next time we see each other. I’ve even had a few friends that required daily contact, people who reply to my emails within a few hours, sometimes replying multiple times a day. What I really dislike is when people shoot email replies back to me and reply to my sometimes carefully written dissertations (ha, but I must admit that not all my emails to friends are so long and well thought out) with bullet points or in-line quoted replies. I think sometimes other people don’t understand that I actually care about well-crafted responses from people, preferring to not feel like "yet another business email reply." Sometimes it’s the in-line quoted replies that irk me the most because that really feels like a forum post reply or a business email. You wouldn’t write a hand-written letter to someone and insert quotes from the other person’s letter. You’d more likely say, "To answer your questions about…" to preface your paragraph.

Just a personal quirk of mine. I may not be a writer anymore, but I still care about writing form.

But anyway, I find these constant-contact friends are quite difficult to keep in touch, and often the friendship will deteriorate to the point where we are no longer friends. In fact, I find these friendships so tiring that I’ll sometimes sabotage them by lagging with my responses until contact is lost. Yes. Sabotage. I’ll admit that I do it. All the person needs to do is shoot off a few quoted-in-line emails to turn me off.

Ok, enough of the ranting and raving about email penpal etiquette, or rather my own very rigid ideas about ‘acceptable’ letter writing anyway.

Now that June has come to an end, I’ve come to a few conclusions that I feel the very selfish need to share.

  1. Keeping your nails manicured is difficult (see point #2 below).
  2. Learning guitar is really difficult. Also, it mucks up your manicure.
  3. I can ride my bike for long distances, but I think my enjoyment goes down after 5 hours of riding, so I’ll try to stick to <5 hr bikerides in the future.
  4. Being honest with someone can be very helpful, but it can also be very hurtful. Choose wisely.
  5. Keep a variety of friends close to you, including the one that makes you laugh or distracts you when you’re down, the one who understands and doesn’t need to say anything, and the one who’ll hug you when you cry. Also, make sure you turn to the right one when you want a certain reaction. It can be disappointing when you ask someone for something they can’t give you.

And just because I like making lists, here are 5 things I am very grateful for this month, just to remind myself of some good things in my world. In June, I was grateful for:

  1. The library for having interesting books on the display shelf.
  2. My girlfriend making plans to visit us.
  3. The generosity and good will of people I don’t know well.
  4. Supportive friends who are excited for change and new beginnings.
  5. The freedom to choose how I spend my free time.

Written by Reese

July 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Posted in just life

The Girl I Loved

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There are so many things I loved about that girl with the sharp eyes. I don’t even know if I could count the ways she infiltrated into my life, seeping into the nooks and crannies before I noticed. I kept finding pieces of her there long after she was gone.

So of course this is where you ask me, what kind of girl was she? And this is where I open my mouth to speak, but nothing comes out, because there’s no way I could possibly focus on one thing at a time. She was a swirl of everything, and I can never remember one specific thing about her before I’m pelted with all kinds of memories of her. So let me just tell you about my memories of her and maybe you’ll catch some sort of the essence of who she was, now that she’s gone.

Her feet were smaller than mine, but she was still quite tall; I could just see over the top of her head. We measured ourselves against each other once, our backs pressed against each other, our feet bared on the blonde wood floor with the heels pressed against each other. I remember the way the back of her calves pressed against the back of mine, how her elbows jutted into my side as she tried to pull herself up to be taller.

She was stubborn and single-minded. Once, she and I walked home from the ocean, across an entire city, because she refused to have to take a bus to get home. "Why do I want to pay $2 to get home so quickly, when I can walk and see everything around me," she would ask me. I didn’t have an answer for her so we walked and walked, our feet becoming sore, our shoulders tiring from holding our bags.

This girl that I loved, she had a lot of favourite things. She had a favourite handkerchief that she washed every other day in the sink after she got home, squeezing all the water out of it so it would dry in time to use the next day. I still remember her pulling it out of her handbag to dab at the edge of her mouth or to wipe the corner of her eye. She had a favourite bench at the park and a favourite drinking glass at home. Actually, she had one glass she preferred for water, a different mug for coffee, another glass for drinking beer, and a stemless glass for wine and liquor. She had a favourite dress that was slightly torn, but she didn’t think anyone noticed, so she kept wearing it until the material became so thin it started to tear. Always a creature of habit, once she decided to love something, she used it until she broke it or it was lost.

She told me once that she thought the way my left eye crinkled when I laughed was nicer than the right eye. I wasn’t sure if I should feel happy for my left eye, or sad for my right. I suppose it all cancelled out in the end though, so I felt ambiguous about it, but every time I laughed, I tried to see if her smile favoured my left side over my right.

She let me worry about the small things like that, the details of our lives, like the way our hands folded together, her cool fingers nestled between my warm ones. Her palms and fingertips were always calloused from some reason or another. She played the guitar for a while and built up a thick set of callouses on her left fingertips. I liked to feel them scratch against the back of my knuckles.

When I close my eyes, I think about the feel of those rough little fingers pressing into the valleys between my knuckles. I think about how her neck always smelled like a mixture of skin and lavender conditioner, how her hair was unruly and curled in only one direction. She used to bake cookies on a whim, humming along while she scooped out the dough onto the sheet. Rushing through our flat, she’d leave behind the faint smell of her perfume, bunched up socks under the coffee table, a few hairs shaking loose from her hairbrush and collecting on the bathroom floor.

I miss her loud laugh, the soft padding of her feet running down the hallway, the way she shook her hair and hips to music, the way she kept her torn stockings just in case they’d be useful. I even miss the way she rolled over in bed immediately upon waking and reached over to rub on my hair. It was always the first thing she did each morning, her legs stretching under the covers. And I remember rolling my head towards her and cracking open my eyes to look at her face. The first thing I see is her hair spread against the pillow, sticking up in funny ways from sleep, but even now, I can’t remember her face entirely. I think I see her, but then she disappears, replaced by all the snippets of my memories. I remember her, and yet I never had her. She was never mine.

Where have you gone, my love? Come back to me.

Written by Reese

June 27, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Posted in just life

Random Tip – Business Titles

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It’s not a good idea to abbreviate "Vice President of Sales & Marketing" to "VP of S&M."

Some people (including myself) will think you mean something else entirely.

Written by Reese

June 22, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Posted in just life

What’d you have for lunch?

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I sure do love my RSS feeds, using them to follow a bunch of personal blogs and specific content from large sites as well. As you can probably guess, a lot of my feeds have to do with bicycles, food, or photography. I can’t possibly keep up with all these feeds, so I tend to click through a lot of stuff and mark them all as read. Why do I even keep them, then? I suppose I keep them there as bookmarks so I don’t forget about those sites.

But wait, keeping sites I never read bookmarked in my RSS feeds isn’t very efficient.

So this is the part where I admit that I clean them up every so often and where I realised something quite strange: I have a thing for daily lunch blogs.

For example, I browse the following sites:

Obviously, I love reading about lunches. Really, I’m just curious about what people eat for lunch everyday since my lunch is rather boring and predictable (most days it’s a sandwich). Truth be told, I actually dislike going out for lunch and would rather eat my own food everyday, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to know what other people are eating out!

Written by Reese

June 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Posted in just life

Gratitude in life

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a gratitude list, but here are five things I’ve been grateful for this past week:

1. It’s so warm and sunny down the Peninsula lately. It’s usually chilly up in SF, so it’s nice to have a nice warm bikeride to/from work and then cool off up in SF at home. So much rather have it this way than to have to deal with the heat at home (the cat prefers it this way too!).

2. I adore how small San Francisco really is. Randomly ran into a close friend riding around last night, which was a very nice way to close end the day.

3. Everyday I’m grateful for this, but I am especially glad this past week to feel integrated and trusted at work. It always takes a while to get to know the people you work with and for them to trust that you’re trying to do good engineering, but once you feel it start to take hold, it’s a wonderful feeling. It really does make you feel like part of a team, not just people vying to make the loudest judgment call.

4. I am so grateful for being healthy and happy, and being able to take the time to work towards this. There are so many things to do, things that need to get done, that when you have some time for yourself, it’s so important to make sure that you’re spending that free-time doing what you love. On the physical end, I make sure that I’m eating healthy, home-cooked food and ride my bike for some daily exercise. I may not be the fittest person, but I I feel capable and physically strong enough to handle what I need to do from day to day. In other aspects, I’ve made extra efforts to ensure that I’m doing what I find fulfilling. It means making time for people I love and also for hobbies that I love. I make time to read to stimulate my imagination, listen to music that makes me tap my feet, and try to make time to write and be creative (I’m still struggling with this). What little time I have to spend with friends is so precious to me that I try to only spend it on the ones I love.

5. And last but not least, I’m grateful for Frannie. We’re not picture perfect all the time (nor would I want to be!), but somehow we make it work and we’re building big plans for our future together. I love that we talk about where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we’re going. I think talking about it a lot makes a difference for us, helps us find a common ground for the future, to understand that no matter what happens to us individually (or what we might individually want for ourselves), we can still see ourselves together. I wouldn’t want us to have an entirely unified future (we each have our hobbies and personal goals), but there has to be some kind of overall thread linking us together. I’d never want us to be just like the other, to want what the other person wants. We don’t have to be together all the time, we can have separate lives and still work together. No matter what happens, I feel like we’ll be standing upright facing the future together, and that’s exactly what I want out of our relationship.

Written by Reese

June 17, 2011 at 10:57 am

Posted in just life

A reminder to myself

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I started to write a somewhat whiny post about stress, work, relationships, and so on and so forth, but decided that was incredibly unproductive. Instead, I’ve truncated it to a much shorter post to remind myself of a few things in life. I so often find myself taken down by my own pettiness, so maybe writing this out will make it stick a little better this time around.

Don’t waste your time. Spend it doing activities you love. Spend it on people you love. You only have so many hours in the day, so use them wisely (don’t forget to sleep well). Fuel the relationships you treasure, the ones you’d like to see blossom. Minimize your obligations, not because you are irresponsible, but because you want to increase the activities you want to do and not just have to do. There will always be obligations that must be met in order to function successfully in society; meet them cheerfully and with energy, but don’t waste so much time on them that you forget to do what you want to do.

Don’t forget to be kind to others, even when they are unkind to you. Being mean and petty never got you anywhere, and it only perpetuates that kind of bad energy you’re trying to avoid. As much as you love science, don’t forget to feed your spiritual side, your soul, so to speak. A lot can be gained through understanding not just with your brain but also with your heart.

Be compassionate with others as well as yourself.

Written by Reese

June 15, 2011 at 11:13 am

Posted in just life

Fancy Soap For a Fancy Girl

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This past weekend, Frannie and I had the good fortune to spend some time in the East Bay. Maybe I’m a little biased because I went to college out there and have more than a few friends who live there and absolutely love it, but East Bay actually is pretty damned cool. If Frannie and I didn’t work in South Bay or down the Peninsula, I would have pushed for us to move to the East Bay, especially Oakland or Berkeley. I especially love how much personality those two cities have, and would have liked to have a chance to live near there again.

We visited most recently to check out the Chocolate and Chalk Festival in Berkeley, which happened to coincide with the Live Oak Park Fair (the original date for the Chocolate and Chalk Festival was rained out). The whole thing was actually smaller than we thought it would be, but we still had a lot of fun walking around all the booths and seeing the chalk art people were making on the sidewalks. We were both glad it wasn’t so crowded since it made walking around that much more pleasant.

There were a number of booths selling jewellery, children’s toys, hand-printed/sewn clothing, and handmade bath products. Out of all the booths, I liked the handmade soaps at one booth the most. He had a number of soaps on display, all of them highly fragrant. The interesting thing was that he had a selection of chai-flavoured soaps (mocha chai, vanilla chai, etc.) that smelled really spicy and good. He also took all the trimmings and put them together into a miscellaneous chai soap, which I thought smelled really good, so I bought a bar.

And now our bath smells like chai tea, which is a bit strange, but really not that weird when you think about how successful a business like Lush is. I’ve never been able to stand going into any of their stores because of the overpowering stink, but I would probably be okay with having one of their soaps in the bath. I don’t know if I’ve ever owned anything from Lush because I can’t stand to go into the store to buy or and refuse to buy it online without smelling it first, but I can’t do that without going into the store first.

It’s a cyclical thing.

I’m pretty happy with this random bar of mixed chai soap. I got to buy it outdoors so I wasn’t overwhelmed by the smell of all the different soaps, and I got to support a small business. Maybe I’ll make it my thing to treat myself to a nice smelling soap or lotion when I go to these outdoor festivals in California. There is usually a soap vendor there, and I feel better buying from someone who makes all the soap him/her-self. Plus, I can ask them questions about what’s in the soaps and how they’re made.

By the way, I don’t think the chai smell stays on your skin after you rinse off the soap. At least, I haven’t noticed that I smell of chai spices afterwards. Also, the soaps made by this guy in particular do not contain any sulfates, and are made from saponified oils, similar to how they make Castile soap.

Written by Reese

June 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Posted in just life

Raw Shark Texts, Page 384

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I have just over 40 pages remaining before this book is over, and I’m getting that sad feeling I get when I know a book is ending. Really guys, this book is great. I realise that I like probably 80% of the books that I read (I am so easily pleased, I know), but I am really really enjoying this one. The hardest part is knowing that the author has only written one novel, and it’s the one that’s coming to a close, so what’ll be next?


Guess I’m just that wound up in the characters. I find my own heart beating faster when they’re running from danger, feel that slight ache in my chest when they’re describing sweet memories and emotions.

I feel like I should point out a somewhat strange coincidence regarding this book. Shortly before I started this book, I made a new friend and have been discussing books and authors with him. I happened to recommend Murakami and he happened to recommend Italo Calvino. Lo and behold, there are four parts in The Raw Shark Texts, each prefaced by a quote from four different authors, two of which are the aforementioned (both recommended before I reached those sections)! Interesting coincidence, eh?

By the way, the other two quoted authors are Jorge Luis Borges and Raymond Carver.

As a result of this book coming to a close, I’ve decided to make it a point to read a bit of Borges, Carver, and Calvino. It’ll be a good tangential inspiration, I believe, especially since I am not dead set on the next book already. Lolita was on there, but that’s highly dependent on finding a copy at the library (they seem to constantly be on loan). If I find one, then I’ll read it, but otherwise, I’ll take a poke at these other authors and see what I can come up with.

Written by Reese

June 10, 2011 at 11:38 am

Posted in just life

The Raw Shark Texts, page 138

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Le sang

I was reading all about conceptual sharks when my nose suddenly felt wet and runny. When I wiped it against the back of my hand (yeah I’m gross like that), my hand came away smeared with blood. I managed to prevent it from getting all over my clothes, but did spatter a drop or two on my book, and also later found another couple drops on my skirt that I hope will come out in the wash. Luckily, this book is actually my own copy for once, so I don’t feel so bad about mucking it up.

Back in grade school, I was constantly being sent to the nurse due to sudden nosebleeds in class. The wintertime where I grew up was very cold and dry (as opposed to the damp winters here in California), so the membranes in my nose were prone to rupturing even if I blew my nose too hard. Needless to say, I’m so accustomed to it that when I can feel my nose leaks, assuming I’m not sick, there’s half a chance it’s bleeding.

As for the book, it’s really quite interesting. I cracked it open Sunday evening immediately before bed and have been devouring it ever since. It’s so fascinating and seemingly complicated that I’m not sure I can even explain it to someone else, other than: man wakes up with total amnesia, henceforth makes tremendous efforts to discover how and why. It’s very Memento, only written in mostly-forward tense. It does jump back and forth as he discovers information about the first Eric Sanderson, but it’s not as confusing as Memento to follow (admittedly, I also find films more difficult to follow and understand compared to reading a book, so perhaps it’s just my own confusion that’s the problem).

My print edition has 428 pages, so being that I’m only on page 138 and the story is just now getting interestingly complex, I’m hoping it maintains a similar pace for the remaining 290 pages. Even if it doesn’t, I’m quite excited to spend all the time I can reading it!

Written by Reese

June 7, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Posted in just life