March 2016

Mar. 2nd, 2016 02:05 am
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 So last I wrote here was in December 2015 days before a  solo road trip to San Francisco, and now it's three months after and in a way lots have been developed.

I learned that driving for 8 hours is a long time (which became an additional 3 hours than planned because I did not account for Bay Area morning traffic going northbound from San Jose), and that driving in the dark means I don't see large swaths of farmland and only infinite darkness broken apart by intermittent red tail lights. It's a neat experience. While surviving San Francisco morning traffic and waiting for my room to get ready at the inn I checked a room out in, I walked around a lot. I also Uber'ed a lot, which is a terrifying standard that's very normalized. Part of that normalization also includes Uber rideshare, so sometimes there's the chance of carpooling with silently awkward strangers. 

Walking around San Francisco was fun, and it was never without a whole block of neat cafes and tourists walking about and I walked through the various piers starting from Pier 99 and up north up to the Ghiradelli factory. The hot chocolate there, by the way, was delicious. Met up with a friend, and we spent the evening eating and talking, and that was pretty much worth the trip. Otherwise, tho, whatever romantic ideals I had about SF was a little... not so much shattered, but the romance is kinda gone after driving through it with its slow pedestrians, and that after a whole night of rain, morning full of bright sunlight is not good on hilly roads slick with water that reflects into my eyes when driving out to southbound 101. 

Part of the slight disillusionment also includes the fact that everything there is trendy and expensive, and that when people write about its gentrification, it's really... really...gentrified. Walking through random neighborhoods, which are nice walks by the way, made me realize that there's a lot of the usual city flavor that was lost, namely that it feels like there's a generic flavor to the city and that it feels weirdly safe to walk about alone along the circumference of the city. Not that i expect evil city temptations everywhere, and that i have the self-awareness of rock, but maybe it's just that it's so crowded that everyone really do just keep to themselves.

The drive back southbound was excellent, tho. 

Other things that happened was that I finished my online TEFL program, and now I got my shiny certificate to send to my recruiters in Japan and South Korea, and hope that something is biting in the near future. I think I'm leaning more towards Japan, since I gave all of the required documents for their program and it's possible that all that's left is to wait for when they'll place me in a school. So hopefully I get to go out of the country like all my other fellow postgraduates who blog about this on their facebooks. 

I think what's the most positive thing in 2016, tho, was that I get to patch things up with my best friend and we're talking again. After 6 months of not talking, it's really nice to really talk about why the thing happened that it did and that we're trying to keep in touch while she's in Armenia for the Birthright internship program doing journalism. She tells me that apparently Moscow airport sucks and that Yerevan itself is pretty cool, including that view of Mt. Ararat.

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 I drove at 3:30 AM and arrived in San Francisco at around 10:30 am. Night driving was actually fun and San Francisco is a terrifying place to drive in. Also terrible traffic. How can people live in this place and drive?
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 At 3 AM, I am going to drive about five hours to San Francisco.

Hopefully it will be an awesome drive and that I don't waste Friday by sleeping in my hotel room all day.
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 My parents and my little bro are right now in Hong Kong, leaving me and my older brother alone at home to try and take care of that homestead for a while.


Except not, since all it means is guilt-free eating and gaming while trying to make less waste as possible. Although, I did made impromptu plans to travel to SF this Friday so that I can visit at least one person while having enough time to just get out of town for a while to the more family NorCal area I was so familiar with. 

I have never driven to SF before. Hopefully I will survive that road trip without much mishap. 
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Made an excuse to accompany my brother and his posse of nerdy friends to a movie theater downtown so that I could abscond myself downtown to be within our own respective devices.

Now, I am sitting in a Starbucks after a merry meal at McDonalds's, because I forgot my wallet back home and so I have neither card nor license so that I could imbibe in either food function or drink function. Which is a shame, because I was looking forward to establishing new haunts while there is someone willing to drive around my sorry slush butt. 

In better news, this means I have some time to myself to actually commit to penning down my Kain/Tifa thoughts, because even after a couple of years I still have yesterday to write down anything substantial enough to warrant why my devotion to this OTP is warranted and that I cannot just wallow in old FFVII feelings and opinions while Liam O'Brien just goes around having new voice jobs, so I have the constant reminder of two characters around in my life. 

Another good boon is that I have all of next week free from work, so if I really do decide to go on some whirlwind adventure on the West Coast, I should plan ahead readily and divide my budget to either fit in a San Francisco romp, an LA adventure, or to even travel up to the Pacific Northwest blindly with neither friend nor adversary to greet me there. mostly because I am somewhat tired of a dry winter holiday and also somewhat sick of seeing people traveling about when I am still afraid to go on the HWY 101 for any kind of California destination. 

I'm a poor excuse of a Californian.  
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I work at a pizza place while I try to get myself certified for a career, and that pizza place happens to be right next to campus. That means non-stop students wanting pizza while on their last week of finals! Weekday is suddenly the weekend, and it's just nonstop lines out the door. 

Why can't students go home and eat cereal while they study, gdi college people. 

However, I asked for this coming weekend to be free so that I can spend time with the whole family where Lil' bro will come back from his first quarter at UCLA and right before the whole fam goes to family vacation in Hong Kong. 

I, however, will not be going to Hong Kong and will instead house sit with my other brother. In hindsight, staying behind feels like a missed opportunity. But maybe this weekend, I might try to go out by myself and maybe attempt a road trip! 

Definitely thinking of San Francisco, but also thinking ahead about traveling further through cheap airlines. 
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 As FFVII trailer goes live and somehow looks well along in development than other certain games have been since their official announcement (both by the same director to boot), it's like old fandom got a fire lit up under their bottom again and reigniting old sores. I guess I can say that I've been into FFVII for a long time, handful of years and nowhere near more than 20 for some folks, but compared to how I was while really into it and now, I'm trying to be more into an interested "meh" stage while trying not to remember my older feelings. Mostly this is because I realized my tastes have changed, and also because how I thought of the game is now more significantly different. 

But here I am, yougling FFVIII person who believes that Squall is the most relevant protag now than he was in his time, that cranky overdone recent grad baby that guy.
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I passed my CBEST test for becoming a substitute/prospective teacher in California! Time to find the jobs that need that requirement and hope for more opportunities to get the hell out of SB.

Also so been thinking very keenly about doing some solo travel for the winter holidays, if it turns out I have time for that. Been thinking of going out of state like in Seattle or maybe Portland for it. Or I guess, pass out more resumes in the Bay.

ah haha I'm going nuts from job hunting. 

So I went

Nov. 20th, 2015 12:19 am
zen_monk: (Default)
 So I went and dropped some money on something I've been thinking about obtaining for a while, and so now I signed up for a 120-hour TEFL online program to get certified. This came after getting an interview for teaching English abroad, and I realized that if I really want to distinguished myself from other applicants (and especially ones whose superficial qualifications would get their foot in the door with greater oomph than me), getting certified would definitely help. 

As well as bolstering my resume in other teaching applications too. 

What i sometimes don't get is what the outrageous price differences are if I chose to sign up for TEFL through like University of Toronto and whatnot, but sometimes I gotta bite the bullet and just try out this non-scammy looking website since many English programs in non-English speaking countries allow some pretty sketchy candidates anyway. 
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 And got called back for an immediate hire! :DDD

I applied for the Bay Area Americorps (BAYAC) and was called back for trying to get me working as an immediate hire after Thanksgiving. On the one hand, yaaaay I am wanted and qualified and will be trained and certified!

On the other: where the hell am I going to live in the Bay Area and how soon am I getting that housing and it costs HOW MUCH???

Alas, President Bill Clinton; should've had your organization adjusted for inflation and rising standards of living (in California). And gentrifying hipsters! 

Ideally, I have no preference on where in the Bay Area that they will assign me so that my potential job pool is wider. However, Redwood City is expensive and so is Palo Alto and the rest of the Peninsula like how dare you upper middle class technologists. On the other hand, East Bay is cheaper and I am very amenable to an Oakland or Berkeley experience. Then again, there's a loooot of cities that i never realized existed outside of big name cities, so for all I know, I might be far away from the ocean. 

edit: suppose I Airbnb it??? Shall I contribute to the ongoing service of a sketchy faux-hotel service???
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 Tomorrow, I have an interview for being an undergraduate adviser at UCSB for the Asian American Studies department. Super nervous because it means that the department chair and manager will be there to ask me questions, and so i'm looking online for advise on how to respond to commonly asked questions and what to ask at the end of the interview. 

Also, I knew that the reason I got the chance for the interview was because my mom knew the manager and that as I'm one of three potential candidates, it's probably why I got the thing. A lot of conflicted feelings about this, but I guess this is about as close as I can get to getting an interview for a super real job. 

Still stewing over office job at eye place. I'm feeling a lot of things about that, mainly the "it's not my fault" and "I didn't do anything that would justify getting let go but WHATEVER I GUESS." Intense feelings of disavowment. 

However, I think i passed the CBEST test! At the very least, two of the three subject tests are above the minimum required score to pass, so I'm hoping my writing skills are good enough. It's just like doing a standardized test in high school. But seeing as its been a long time since I've done that, I'm feeling a little salty that my scores aren't high enough.

Feeling dumber than I was when I was in high school, sobs. 
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 Gonna take the CBEST test tomorrow (or technically later today), and hope that I score high enough to get on that road for teacher certification. Or substitute teacher certification, at least. I've been practicing the practice tests tho, and while I think I can do reasonably well for the math portion on the first try (which I did on the practice), reading and writing probably won't be a problem for me. If I can write giant blurbs for short writing portions in college apps, it's in the bag! 

...maybe i should get into actually studying for GREs. 

But the most recent good revelation of my life is that i binge-watched all of Aziz Ansari's "Master of None" last night on Netflix, and it is so on point. Everything good about the upper middle class millennial rom-com series, with some kinda obvious call-backs to his comedy schtick in Madison Square Garden, but it's told in a much more thoughtful and less ass-holey kinda way. 

Man, if the highlight of my life is a show in Netflix, life is already nesting for me. 

And I might've lost my job at the eye place, but it's kinda more good riddance for me. But it was an intense source of angst for a short period of time around Halloween. 
zen_monk: (Nana Hachi Glare)
 Job searching really is a full-time job. A soul-crushing, paradoxical full time job. 

I've been working on this cover letter for an Undergraduate Advisor position at the local university, and it's like cover letters are these conflicting creations where I have to not re-iterate my resume but at the same time I kinda do anyway? And I've also not had any kind of experience where I've been in an office or advise people, and yet I do recently become such a good office monkey for people, and some without even being in an office. 

The biggest pet peeve I have right now is people giving me advise they have no experience in doing. Such as writing advice. And it's all just regurgitated information from whichever googled article that's been come across, and that is really not the help I need when I could research all of that by myself. Real help comes from someone who has read millions of cover letters and knowing what they need from it, and it just feels super obnoxious to get some kind of "help" via things like "say that you're 'detail-oriendted' and a 'team player."" 

I think what makes this thing more unbearable is that I don't have any close peers here to vent about these things comfortably, so that I would come across as "intense bitter shrew" as opposed to "battle weary compadre who has been my fellow emotional crutch to vent towards." 
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 Been doing all right so far at the ophthalmologist clinic, and hopefully it won't take me too long to get trained up to speed so that I can do more for patients, even though that idea makes me really nervous. Handling insurance was nerve-wracking enough, but doing part of the medical procedure makes me want to just resign myself to a life of dish-washing instead :P The staff is really nice, though! And today at my eye exam, they told me that they want me to work more days there, so my current 16 hours a week would go up to 24 or even 32. At being slightly above minimum wage, this sounds way awesome for me. 

I'm also trying to actually do coursera online courses, starting with an Intro to Logic course offered by Stanford University so I can brush up on my logic knowledge, and a Ruby course offered by John Hopkins where hopefully I can get a better handle on what coding and programming actually without having to just use guidelines all the time. Also signed up for a History of Philosophy course, focusing on when the transition between Modern and Postmodern happens. It'd be nice to get back into reading dead old people, like Kant, but also getting some online lectures about Marx and Rousseau would be really great to do, too. 

Soon, i'll get back on track to becoming an academic again.

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 Man, i didn't realize that coding means i have to actually write out my own function and not just repeat the rules and commonly used functions. I underestimated the difference between programming and what i only know in stuff like web design. 
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 Finally pushed through my previous setback about coding strings not working in Ruby. And slightly more recently I had anther setback in that the website that lets me have an online Ruby work space was temporarily borked and I just languished in not seeing anything I write in the coding run. 

In other more exciting news, I finished the entire 65 episodes of murder mystery/romance/family drama Gran Hotel on Netflix, and boy was that a ride. So engaging all throughout. Almost everyone is the cause of their own misfortune but even terrible people are sympathetic and resourceful in the depth of their efforts and emotional fortitude. 

And now I'm starting Twin Peaks :D. I got interested in it because a fan artist I like on Tumblr who draws a lot of Persona art references it a lot, and apparently learned from her that Twin Peaks was super popular in Japan and may have influenced the Persona series. And I think that's a fair judgment! It's really really.... really really weird 90s show. 

The hammy acting and very striking sets are excellent in Twin Peaks! However, what I cannot absolutely abide by is the font used during the credits. I mean, neon green bubble text? "Goosebumps" much??

Also, my dad got me a job at the Optometrist clinic near my home where he got freelance work as their IT guy, working in their office and trying to see if I'm a good fit there. On the one hand, I'm just like "no, parents, nepotism is annoying and I am independent and stop nagging me" and on the other it's like "whoa, nepotism pays off." 
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 Sent in my application to AppAcademy since it seemed to work for one my of erstwhile friends/former co-worker/deluded by the profits of UC diploma in STEM. So I got a reply and sent me an assignment to practice on for me to turn in as part of the application process. It has no due date and I got instructions on how to code in Ruby, so I'm pretty psyched about it. 

Am doing it right now, following their instructions to the T, and what does Ruby do to me? 

The string does not work. 

NOOOOOOO, the coding frustrations are upon me! What is wrong with the code I put in?! 

The joys of programming are upon me already :D 
zen_monk: (Default)
 Since I've been seeing the meme posted by [personal profile] owlmoose  lately on DW, what better way to have people catch up to me than by participating? 

Where do you hang out online?

Tumblr, but mostly on mobile and usually just lurking. So I guess not so much hanging out than it is that I have a presence in the form of active reblogs and some comments spattered here and there. I actually started being more chatty with my Free Company in Final Fantasy XIV over on the Balmung server, and in another FC in Diabolos. I also go on WeChat and on Facebook, but not so much as suddenly family members are present and I don't wish to take in more career advice than I want to.

What are you reading?

I started to read The Last Man by Mary Shelley that I lifted from my housemate so that I could read while I work (surreptitiously). It's a really interesting read about "The Future!!!" from an early Romanticist perspective, though it's not a lot of "The Future!!!" in it aside from the presence of hot air balloons for the first half. It's largely a criticism about Romanticism ideals and attitudes, and mostly a self-insert of Mary Shelley (as a male protagonist) and her husband (as the male "best friend" of the protagonist). And like most English Romantic novels, features the virtues of English society as it tries to persevere and surpass the scary Orient in the form of conquering Turkey and liberating Greece (the acceptable exotic place). 

I've also started reading "The Lies of Locke Lamora" by Scott Lynch to get started on the Gentlemen Bastard series, but it's been slow reading so far. Mostly on my part, as I was really busy with my summer job. 

What are you watching?

Everyone must watch "The Grand Hotel" that's available on Netflix, the most popular European show of a Spanish telenovela set in early 20th century Spain of the intrigues of the hotel staff and the families who own the hotel in some form or another. There is murder, missing people, and a determined brother who made himself employed as a butler in order to find his sister, the maid who is the foundation of all the family drama that could ruin the hotel and everyone within it. 

It is also extremely beautiful. I now want all my fandoms to have a Hotel AU featuring murder, forbidden love between the classes, and the lives of the servants as they try to assert themselves.

I have also kept up watching "Saint Seiya: Soul of Gold" which is a semi-canon continuation of the Saint Seiya series. Web series anime is..... some varying quality. But I noticed it has much more acceptable animation quality of some consistency compared to the other Toei web-animation series Sailor Moon Crystal.

What are you making?

Recently, I got an unpaid internship annotating English grammar youtube videos for the tutoring website Questive. I mark down the timestamps of when a subject changes in the video, like for Indefinite Pronouns, and at the end make up some questions for the viewer to answer below it. I have sporadically rp-ed as Kain Highwind on Tumblr, but I've been very inactive on it lately. I also had a Lenna Tycoon muse, but that also had been inactive. Ahh, my life is my work but it's not even the paid kind. 

What are you squeeing about today?

A fanartist I follow on Tumblr had an ask about what they think about the levels of stubbornness between Tifa and Lightning, and concluded in the tags why there isn't any TifLight/Farronhart work available, and I've been mentally squeeing over the pairing in solidarity of her tags. 

My fandom life is suddenly absurdly small compared to last year. 

If you could rope old fandom friends into a new fandom, it would be.....

In my heart of hearts, I want Dissidia fandom to still be a thing and find a community therein (mostly for the women, and that I wished their narratives were better than what they were given, even though it didn't diminish how I felt about their roles). What I am hoping to be more active in are fandoms that I used to be in and want a community again, which are the Persona (3 and 4) fandom and I guess Sailor Moon. Nostalgia has a way of having a comfortable base to put my feet in. And they are reasonably popular enough to have some familiarity in it to make such transitions possible :D

I should really watch/read/dive into _______ and then come talk to you about it!

I feel like I should go back into Dragon Age fandom, though I am more interested in things that don't relate to the player character as I am to other aspects of the world. Also FFXIV, but I'm still playing catchup to the plot stuff of that game. Also Gentlemen Bastards for some folks who are into that, which seemed itself a neat thing. I also want to start watching some of the superhero shoes that are on tv right now, namely The Flash and Agents of SHIELD, so that I'm still peripherally in the Marvel and DC fandom, especially when Vixen's show is on and that there's new developments regarding the topic of Inhumans. 

What else is on your mind?

I'm really glad to be back home with my family.
zen_monk: persona 4 anime (Teddie)
 There was thunder and lightning tonight!

Picked up a shift at the Boardwalk and minding my own business at the nut cart (yelled at a guy for just reaching into the pot where i put leftover food stuff in because he thought it was a sample bin [which tbh he should've asked before if he can just reached in] and so I yelled at him because i have no impulse control when the boundary between customer and seller was crossed), 

and all of a sudden there was a huge rain shower that lasted like half an hour over the beach that got the people finding roof shelter and getting out of the line for rides. I sadly had no cover and sheltered the cash register and credit card machine with jackets so those won't be wet. 

During the shower, there was a lot of lightning over the ocean and thunder competed with the rumblings of the roller coasters overhead. It was a refreshing downpour that let me close the cart early and helped out the candy storefront. Witnessed purple lightning through the clouds and flashes overhead that made the lights flicker sometimes.

Hopefully SC would get more rain tonight or that other parts of NorCal would get a good drink. The heat was ridiculous the past week and the addition of bugs nibbling at me was not a desirable combination. 

(A lone bee landed on the cart; it was so lethargic that poking it wouldn't fly away. I rescued it when it dropped to the ground from the rain, and gave it a piece of hardened sugar that was crystallized from the caramelized nuts I made. Ate that lump up even as I moved it to a flowerbed.)
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 Got myself a job at a Chinese restaurant where the entire staff speaks Cantonese and will feed me on my shifts for free. I feel extra happy because the job qualifications says I have to speak Cantonese and Mandarin (of which I only know the former... in which I can listen better than speak it and use hand gestures a lot), and so the interviewer spoke all in Cantonese and I understood everything and I feel the jubilation of being among my own people. 

It really feels like it's been a long time since I've interacted with folks in my cultural specific group, expecially Cantonese speakers. 

Total family restaurant complete with adorable baby who likes to slap the ground and wiggle his bum in a happy dance. Who also made me pick him up because baby startled to dangle in my hands because apprently I look like an Ayi who will pick him up and put on the booth table. 

I may actually improve my language skills and be among a familiar family unit *sniff* 

And I will eat two meals for free *sniff sniff* So happy. And I will be super qualified on my rent applications because i have additional income \o/

March 2017



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