arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Chibi Lovelace investigates!)

Oh howdy, folks.


My life's been pretty exciting as of late.

Contained within: relevance. )


Apr. 23rd, 2011 03:27 am
arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Don't cry for me)
Fourteen-hour workday. Just got off.

And mang, it feels some kind of good.

Hey cosplayers, EGLers, y'all crowd. Anybody got an interest in handmade antique lace? Just as a query.

The tarot deck's still open, too. I know I owe a couplereadings, which will pretty much happen the next time we are online at the same time :B but anybody else wanna?

Stuff and things. I wish it would quit raining already.
arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Take a bite)
One thing I hadn't expected about living in New York? Laundromat living. Taking all my clothes on my back and hauling them half a block to be whip-washed and tumbledried, and maybe folding the contents of my sock drawer on the long table while I'm waiting for the sweats to dry.

Efficiencies develop differently in different places. The dorm laundries in college were similar in that they were long rows of big machines, but different in that they were secluded in a basement instead of tumbling my underthings in full view of the street. My bittypartment in Japants had a laundromat nearby for those few times when I needed a dryer, but what I used was the tiny, plastic, water-efficient washer on my back balcony. I hung my wet washing to dry like everyone else. No panty thieves dared make the climb.

The hosts in India had a similar, if more battered and less used, plastic washing machine. They hauled it out with great ceremony for me, and I expressed gratification and was duly impressed, but... it wasn't really very useful, when the power cut out twice daily and once at night.

So I hand-washed, like the hostmom taught me, with two buckets and a faucet and a brush, and a bright orange-red box of Tide just like the ones on the shelves ten feet from where I'm sitting now.* Soak first, wring out, lay out, scrub, rinse twice, hang up. Wave hello to the neighbor kids watching me do laundry on my rooftop. Smile and laugh and duck behind the pants for the little ones, who shrieked in laughter when I reappeared. Sing songs to myself, sometimes, always aware that someone on the road or a neighboring rooftop was listening.

(Retreat into my box, more often than not, and curl up on my bed with my laptop where at least no one could see me for a second or a minute or fifteen)

and emerge smiling, and take down the dry laundry after dark. Or sometimes not until the next day. But always, always, before the boy students appeared that afternoon for tutoring.

I pull my undies out of the dryer in plain sight here. Sometimes I even fold them while I'm waiting for the rest to dry! But always, always, I'm looking over my shoulder or down the table or out the window, just glancing, surreptitiously: who's watching? (Am I shaming someone? Will that kid tell his parents about it?) And sometimes I move around the table, so I'm blocking the view of my ~unmentionables~ from the sidewalk.

But I'm friends with my laundromat owner! He's a cool guy. Speaks Chinese. There was a stray book in Japanese left behind on the table, so I picked it up and started reading, and he promptly gave it to me. Said it'd just been kicking around the place anyhow. We discuss politics and world events, and when the dryer heating broke he comped my wash.

And, luxury: a dryer-warm rug, felt with bare feet.

*It was the brand names that jarred me on a daily basis. There I was, nodding hello to the shepherd who was shooing his flock along the dusty road, and one of his charges would be gnawing away at a chemical-bright reflective bit of plastic that said Frito-Lay.

I've mostly not eaten things out of hard polyurethane bags since I came back. It probably doesn't make a difference. I definitely don't make a Big Personal Stand out of it. But I don't buy popcorn or chips or things like that.

Everything else was dusty, but the imported advertising was bright. The sanitary napkins sold at the lady-run general store just outshone the whole place.

I think of the marketing executives in this city who made the decisions that led to that. I'm still peeling out what I think, and how I feel, a year and a half later, and to be honest all I really have to show for it is a vague bilious clot in the back of my throat. And a personal aversion to Ruffles.
arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Dragon kitten!)
McNally Jackson Bookstore is now printing books.

I am quite literally at this moment having a tea in front of what looks like what would result if Bane from Batman were actually a villainous xerox machine, and he's just bulked up to three times his muscle mass in blocky gray plastic and monitor screens on swivel arms.

There's a dude sitting on the floor opposite, fiddling with a screwdriver and occasionally hopping up to check one of the monitors. Boxes of recycled blank printing paper line the wall under the magazine racks. So clearly this is a brand new thing.

And it is, as I'm sure you're aware, super-exciting. This is it, the future is here! Print-On-Demand publishing is sitting right in front of me. It has a little sign hanging above it what says [For custom publishing, make an appointment with our editor.]

I can see the fantastic future, and it's right here now. As these clunky beasts get faster, cheaper, and easier to run, they get installed in bookstores the world over. Books in the public domain are now only as expensive as the paper they're printed on and the ink they use.

Too, [ profile] newsboyhat painted a corporate picture for this: a publishing world in which the companies sell the electronic file of a book like it's a song on iTunes. The bookstore sells a copy, pays the publisher, and prints the book all at once.

Less waste, more choice. Indie empowerment.

Feels good, you guys. Feels right.

Now if the tech guy can just get it up and running.
arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Tir: =])
So tonight, I went with a friend to the Life Cafe. Yes, the one in RENT. Yes, their burgers are delish. PS, feta cheese on a salmon burger == yes.

And then on the way back, on the subway, a busker got on and started strummin' his guitar. I usually block 'em out with the headphones but I figured, what the hell, I'll give him a shot. And he started singing


Ue wo muite / arukou / namida ga koborenai yo~uni

yes. In Japanese and then in English.

And tomorrow I'm off to see a pair of rare Miyazaki shorts in Carnegie Hall. Yup. Life's awright!
arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Default)
LJ Retrospective Meme: The first bit from the first post of each month this year.

January: Happy new year. New decade. New life.

Enjoy it.

Februrary: The Ninja Turtles are becoming a theme for this blag.

ps, Bacon chocolate was a religious experience.

March: Reading selection around me in the subway: Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead
Count of Monte Cristo
Some fashion mag that might then again be a photography journal
WW2 novel re: Korean emigres to Honolulu

April: " In July, when the eruption ceased, the people of Heimaey Island returned to assess the chances of rebuilding their homes and lives. They found tons of ash covering the ground. The Icelanders are a tough people, however, accustomed to the strange and violent nature of their Arctic land. " -- GRE Practice Module

May: May is gonna be my month.

I can feel it.

June: The Girl Who Played With Fire is somehow even better than the first book, and will undoubtedly make the better movie. Thank god it's over, though, I can sleep again.

July: And it's going to be okay (State of the Lina)

Amazing how much better I feel when I get shit done.

August: Book review: Girl with a Dragon Tattoo

September: Excerpt from diary, 7/4/2010.

Someone was screaming on the northbound F train from 21st St Qbridge. I didn't

October: Coming Soon To A Shelf Near You:
'Bloody Jane' - Jane Austen the vampire. 'And you thought her wit was biting!'
A marriage counseling book with Ted from Buffy season 2 holding an unsuspecing wife pictured on the cover. Really, it's him.
And a book with the subtitle 'Yet another troll-slaying eleven-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl'.

November: Voice Post, Auto-Transcribed:

"There's no into town. Only on Parking 58 or so but there's no and I'm in town. That's it."

December: Whirring buzzing roaring snapping never sleeping again

A drunk guy on the street addressed me as "fuckin' Mary Poppins". I knew there was a reason I liked this hat.
arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Default)
WikiLeaks versus the world.

Frank Rich: Gay-bashing at the Smithsonian.

New Zealand's rugby team, the All Blacks, may be losing its awesome haka. Depending whether the tribe that originated it successfully trademarks the chant.

American Monopoly: the race game. 1970 version.

And what the twenty-somethings are doing when we can't get jobs. If gradschool doesn't take me, well. There are other plans to be made.

Merry Christmas Eve, all. I'm off to go sketch the beach.
arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Dragon kitten!)
So the abacus is making a comeback in Japanese elementary schools! I'm really enjoying this; I truly truly hope it will spread back into common use because it busts wide open plenty of dumb myths about math being hard. Learning your times tables by rote is hard. Using an abacus - including a mental one - is easy. And hey, helping our kids focus and use their right-brains in math class? BONUS PLUS.

I guess it must seem like I'm just adding images in my posts to spice them up now, but I really DO come across a lot of good ones at work. Here's today's winner:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

[ profile] hezul turned me on to this excellent card-game-to-be entitled Cards Against Humanity, which I went ahead and backed because, Apples To Apples for horrible people? Hell yes. You should back it! I want my special print copy of this stuff and so do you.

While I was dinking around Kickstarter, which is a neat use of the internet if there ever was one, I came across this stroke of genius and was very tempted. My only obstacle: I don't have an iPod nano. I WOULD ALMOST GET ONE JUST TO HAVE IT AS A WATCH. it would be faster at playing my tunez than my PHONE, anyhow. Rrgh.

Today's post was brought to you by the word concupiscence. There is really nothing like translating art film reviews from Japanese that got there by way of Czech.

The NYC Commission On Human Rights is apparently investigating Continental. That's the 5 shots for $10 bar at the mouth of Astor Place, the one you always saw and thought 'oh hey, cheap booze' but never went into because it was too early in the day, or it looked skeezy, or the bouncer gave you the evil eye for no good reason. ANYway, they're under the microscope for accusations that they turn folks away at the door on account of being black. And/or Indian. In Astor Place, New York City, twenty-first century.* There's a protest before the bar tonight, waving signs, chanting slogans and raising awareness; organized by Answer Coalition. (Looks like a bunch of students, all geared up and ready to Stop War and End Racism!! Well... godspeed, kids.)

Maybe 30-40 noisy folks were staring down the bouncer across the wide sidewalk? Not even blocking ped traffic - in fact, making a friendly effort to direct spectators not to! - but definitely drawing attention. Also 3 or 4 NYPD out behind the parked plain car, behind them all in the street. All these were big white guys, couldn't help but note.

I asked after the commission's report, and the organizer said I could find it on their website; can't seem to find a listing there, though. Or even a good idea of what it will do, should it come out negative.

*I'm absolutely aware that there's racism in the 21st century. What boggles me is these people seem to think they can get away with a particular and very visible type of segregation that went out of style and out of favor decades ago. They should have the report come down on their asses for being racists, but they should get extra penalties for being dumb as new shit.
arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Cheer up emo kid)
On the way back from work and various other shenanigans, finally, at 10.30 this evening, I crossed the street that sets off my little neighborhood. It's a straight-shot street towards Manhattan and the Chrysler building tops the skyline at what looks like the end of it. I glanced down thataway and saw three other people crossing the street, same direction same time, each one a block further away than the last.

It made me think maybe there was one person crossing the street on every block all the way to the Chrysler building. c:

So our national Christian nutjobs made a fuss about a video art piece at the Smithsonian, and the Smithsonian, geniuses that they are, opted to pull the piece from the exhibit "in order to avoid controversy." Lol, guys. Banned books GET PRESS. Does becoming part of the establishment just blind you to this fact, or something? So now naturally all the news that's coming out about the entire gay artists' exhibit centers on four seconds of a seven-minute video that's not even there anymore. Other galleries are showing it in protest. WAY TO GO, GUYS.

Other interesting news! Vague insinuations inferred from ceremonial speeches couched in flowery language uttered by the Imperial Family of Japan has gotten some hopes up, among the people who pay attention to these things, that maybe they're considering changing succession rules anyways. For those of you who are just joining us: in 2005, folks in the land of the Rising Sun were all up in a tizzy because there hadn't been a son in the Royal Fam for forty years, and the rules are only the male heir of a male heir gets to take the Chrysanthemum Throne. So some douchebags said "the Crown Princess should just pop out more babies," whereupon Crown Prince Naruhito told them all to STFU on behalf of his postpartum-depression-recovering wife, and other people said "hey let's change da rulez!!"

And then the second prince Akishino had a baby boy and everybody simmered down.

But! Last Tuesday was Akishino's birthday, and Wednesday was Aiko's (that's Naruhito and Masako's bbeh girl, the eldest of the new generation and Coulda-Been-Empress-To-Be.) So 'twas the occasion for imperial speeches. And in his Akishino hinted, in a roundabout and formal way, that the family was Thinking About The Future.

Read: If baby boy doesn't have any sons, the family's screwed. MAYBE WE SHOULD FIX THIS. 8Da

So who knows.

The best mixer for plum wine, in all of creation, is pure mikan juice. I have discovered this, and it is true.
arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Default)

45th / 46th & Madison: pedestrians are being directed to keep off the east side of the block due to bigass camera crane hoverig wayyy out over the edge of te roof. Not safe to walk under it, they said! I asked what, is it indie filming? And one of the ped traffic directors (all 20s, none with identifying uniforms or markings, using old unmarked roadblocks and worn traffic cones) said "no no, big-budget." And then to the next ped, "there's a camera crane about to come down, please don't walk under here!"

It was a pretty extensive crane. If it really had fallen instead of eventually swinging back onto the roof, it wouldn'tve mattered what side of the street the peds were on.

**eta: "Man on a Ledge", on top of the Roosevelt Hotel. There IS a sort of temporary balcony construction jutting out up there. And the giant camera's still swinging. Come on, guys. Either there is a danger and you close the block, or there ain't and you don't send your coffee drones to bug the peds. That thing almost reaches the rooftops on the west side of the avenue. If it falls it's a job for frickin' Spider-man, or else you're losing one of these poor, earnest interns down here. They might not even be getting paid to stand out in the cold and do this.
arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Booster - ohgodwhat)

He was dragging that through the dealers' room by the ankle.


Sep. 28th, 2010 12:44 am
arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Cheep cheep)
Unpacking a box today I found a note to myself. I wrote it sometime in December of last year.

It reads

[2010 Theory:

In Austin; learn to drive, buy car, pack it, find a room in NY. By Feb, be in NY & either on the hunt, settled into GK's book, or employed.]

I didn't buy a car.

And I'm not even chipping away at the book.

And it took me much longer to be even partially employed.

But... here I am.
arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Default)

So it's been awhile since I gave a basic state of the Lina, and life is beginning to resemble some sort of wacky routine so I figure now is as good a time as any. Also, LJ notifs are blown again so why not make it worse.

Yesterday morning I had training for the eveningjob. This is private tutoring, and it just about pays rent. The training, tho, is an excruciating exercise in SAT review, by the end of which I'll be well-equipped to write a full catalogue of the flaws in American standardized testing. I look upon this training as material-gathering therefor, and somehow manage to bear it.

Yesterday evening I had my second weekly four-straight-hours of German class. Two speaking, two writing. I suspect with a little effort I could sit pretty at the top of these classes, and accordingly plan to spend a little more so that the prof will write me truly spectacular letters to linguistics programs. The homework's quite fun, lots of translation exercise. And the class is full of philosophers, who are smelly but interesting enough to make them worthwhile. Mostly. With exceptions.

This morning I woke up, dressed in snazzy black and went to work in Midtown. My dayjob is much better this time! I'm the native girl at a Japanese art gallery. I spent the morning running translation checks and the afternoon internets-researching art markets. It's fun. And very quiet. I just need something to do while I'm trawling the webbernets for useful info, because biting my nails was a habit I broke in middle school. Wth, self?

At least I'll look appropriately ragged for next month's cosplay. I'm going to be Basch fon mf'ing Ronsenburg for NY ComicCon. Yeah you know you want to tap it. My first crossplay! I'm excited. There will be fake stubble involved and also a potholder.

I'm also excited because on the Sunday evening of Comicon I'm hopping a plane for France. But that's another story. I'll get back just in time for our gallery night the next Thursday.

So, yeah! Moved in to a real-life apartment. Furnished it. Got hired, twice. Go to classes on the one day I'm not working. Oh, that's also the day my volunteer shift starts next week! And btdubs, still trying to get back to those grad school apps. Next month: con! And suddenly France. What is my life.

I'm a real New Yorker now. I know where to buy bras, and peppermint extract. The comic shop guy and the hardware store family know me by sight. So does half the staff of the nearest coffeehouse-and-wafflery.

arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Default)

A man who looked like an older, relatively unkempt Neil Patrick Harris took a digital camera from the front pocket of his ripped jeans and snapped a flash photo of the half-empty late-night car. He was covered in fine dust, from buttons-missing corduroy shirt to loosely laced short boots. Not your standard tourist. So why...?

On the Q this morning I ran into my supervisors of last summer, of ballet camp times. Turns out they live ten blocks from me. How awesome is that?

arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Default)

At this point I am near convinced: there is no particular character trait for survival. There is no unique or rare drive that pushes a particular person to live through crisis. There is a natural determination to continue, a desire as much for whatever ideal status quo one adheres to as for life itself, that's common to all of us. There's physical strength and fitness. And then - predominantly - there's luck.

I'm just about to the point of rejecting survival by emotional merit. For every strong kid who makes it there's stronger, more stubborn, arguably more virtuous little bastards who don't.

These authors are talking about the kid characters in their survival stories as clearing the levels of their "real-life" video games. (Present-day fiction.) Press the right buttons, jump with the right timing, and ding! You survived genocide. +10 charisma.

Annoyed. Yes.

Other hand! When they start talking about what they know, i.e. storytelling & its naturally-occurring multiple mediums, and how getting stories through video games and movies and comics is not somehow qualitatively inferior to reading books, as an absolute, they're not utterly hopeless. I suppose.

arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Default)

"Sometimes a hedonist falls from the tables of schadenfreude"

arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Default)

"because of the atomic bedouins the US knows exactly what they're doing"

arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Dragon kitten!)
We have a fridge! It is huge, huge like Xbox! Huge like TEXAS.

We also have DVD shelving, which cost approx. $15 more than the fridge did* and is also huge, huge like Godzilla if Godzilla held all your games for you.

RESULT: Furnished apartment. Amazing fucking gazpacho for dinner. With homemade cornbread and cherry mead.


*Hint: if we had bought our own fridge, it would not have taken two weeks to get one
arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Default)

And so a man got on the Q train, and in loud and ponderous tones began to deliver his version of the word of Jesus Christ. I turned up my headphones and looked back down... at Dr. Who.

And what is the point of Dr. Who, if I don't stand up against what I see as wrong?

I looked around at my fellow passengers: headphone'd, or looking away. I looked at him: African-American, greying, advanced middle age. No bag or pack. I timed it such that I would have maybe half a minute, before Union Square. (Because I am a coward, and need escape routes.) And as he got to the bit about the One True Savior, I raised my voice.

"Please stop."

Four people looked up at me. The preacher did not detectably miss a beat.

"Please stop." I can be heard when I want to. "Please stop." He was still preaching to the other half of the car, but most of them were looking up now. "This is a public train. Please stop." He did a slow turn back to me, made eye contact, kept going. "We have a right to a public space without private religion. Please stop." By now the train was pulling in, and it was gratifying when so many stood up with me even though it was probably their station.

Once more, to them as much as him. "We have a right to a space without this."

As we left, a young man muttered to him, loud enough to hear, "dude, nobody cares."

I stopped at the train attendant's window, asked if anything could be done about the man preaching so upsettingly in the car ahead. "He's got free speech." I pointed out the bit about public transportation, and he said unconvincingly that he would call a police officer if he saw one. He was perfectly happy to let me on the next car down, though, so that was nice.

I'm still unpacking the non-confrontation, to myself. A bit of relevant context: I'm slim and white and young. I wear indie jewelry and black sneakers, and my haircut looks not far from Rachel Maddow's. It's not difficult to draw conclusions about my sexuality, and either way it's not difficult to imagine that my crowd support - such as it was - wasn't based completely on merit.

I still did it. I'd do it again. It didn't affect much, visibly. But it's a big deal to me.

Posted via


Aug. 22nd, 2010 12:41 am
arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Default)
And I made a friend! Derrek. Barefoot Derrek in Indian shirt and greying beard, with his sandwich in tupperware in an old drawstring bag. I can talk to people after all! Interesting ones. He had a whole schedule of free events written carefully in very fine print for the entire summer, gathered from newspapers and websites and what all. He's in the city taking care of relatives and availing himself of the constant entertainment besides.

So there's Blues and BBQ at the 14th St Pier tomorrow from 2-9pm! The 'Specials' bands in mid-Central Park, if I wanted to go back to the eighties! Picasso at the Met and Haitian Carnival music up-park at 110th!

"What's your passion in the city?" he asked, as if he were asking my job or my favorite color. I told him about visualizing social networks, the Mass in every city. I still want to paint that somehow.


arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Default)

January 2012

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