Tuesday, April 27, 2010


They say where one door closes, another one opens. This door might lead me to San Antonio TX, Portland OR, and/or Fargo ND. Yep, those are the choices for my next few marathons. I think I will decide in San Diego.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Random Photo Entry 14: Back

Although it may not have seemed like it, yes, I came out of my last post just fine. It is obvious that I am a stressed heap and won't get any easy solutions to my stress-induced feelings.

These pictures are all recent, so they aren't really as "random" as they should be...

Above: I turned 25... yes, I can't believe it, either. Out of the early 20's and into the mid-20's. Since I have been down enough, I tried not to mope around further on this day. Thanks, family (and cat)!

Above: Birthday loot from my sisters. I've eaten much of this stuff already and even baked from the cookbook (see next picture)...

Above: This recipe was called "Lower Fat Banana Bread." Bananas have been abundant at my house lately, and the rest of the ingredients were at-hand. This was a quick bake and got good reviews from the mom, sister, and "Ukrainian."

Above: No, I did not eat here, but this was the first real-life Big Boy I'd ever seen (West Covina, CA).

Above: My friends and I had dinner together not too long ago at Naga Naga Ramen in Alhambra, CA. The food was only decent but not authentic. However, dessert was good... these tofu skin and sweet rice reminded me of the mango and sticky rice of Thai cuisine.

Above: And this past weekend was an anniversary, so "The Ukrainian" took me to Temecula, CA to a bunch of wineries, Pechanga, and this lunch. I'm not much of a drinker (see previous photo entry), but I've learned quite a bit about wine because I get to do tastings pretty regularly. At one of the restaurants there, I got a French-rolled omelette, and his dish was a goat cheese prosciutto and mushroom pizza. I like that the food was relatively cheap and that they put hint of wine in my ketchup!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cries of Hate

"As if that blind rage had washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time,
in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself up to the gentle
indifference of the world. Finding it so much like myself - so like a brother,
really - I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again. For everything
to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a
large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with
cries of hate." (Albert Camus)

Lately (and not co-inciding with the fact that I hit the quarter-century point earlier this week), I have been full of negativity and a general disdain for everything -- things that I once liked, things that have always bothered me, things in general. While "hate" is a strong word, it does reflect an incapacitating feeling that has kept me from posting (it's not necessarily because I've been busy).

I've been stewing in this pot long enough, so some sort of writing would be cathartic and perhaps even sense-making.

First of all, I think the impetus for all of this is that I am extremely torn between everything, and it's really wearing me out. I haven't taken any real time off in a long time and am somewhat sleep-deprived.

My disdain toward society keeps growing. My job requires me to be outgoing and social, but then I can turn around and get upset about how shallow people are. I turn around and see overly thin girls in the gym working out just for the sake of staying that way and wondering why we've reduced our lives to such. I know there is not much difference between those girls and myself, except I am much fatter than they are, and perhaps I cover up my need to exercise with the guise of "training." I keep wondering why so many people worry about weight gain or suddenly go all "foodie" or "vegan" just to restrict their eating. Again, this is a trap. I hate that this vortex is a cornerstone of our existence. Perhaps there is not enough to existence, and this is why this phenonmenon occurs. And then I get jealous every time I see a thinner girl than me. I will never look like her no matter what kind of stupid things I try... I will never be anywhere close to what I've been trained to think "good-looking" is. So here I am, going through these motions, trying to look presentable once in a while but still looking bad no matter how much time I consider wasting. My "Ukrainian" tells me otherwise, but I don't believe it for a second. I often hate me.

Many days, I hate what I've become. Or maybe I just hate how things have become, which were caused by me. I hate that I get up at ungodly times almost every day and end up too tired to do anything well altogether. I hate that I'm in this pergatory between living at home and being where I want to be -- independent -- because of this stupid guilt and obligation I feel. I hate that when I have free moments, I feel guilty whenever I'm not working on my stupid dissertation, which I really wish I never decided to do. I would have been content with a masters, as would my parents, as would most other people. But four years ago, I decided to go for a PhD simply because I did not have a "real job" yet and thought I might as well try.

It's not that writing this paper is all that hard. I mean, it's hard, but what makes it worse is that I am burnt out. The last time I had any real break whatsoever was Spring Break of my junior year in college... that was four years ago. Since then, I've been away from work for 4 days in a row at most (Thanksgiving Break), and I still haven't been much of anywhere.

If I quit this stupid pursuit, I could take some of my life back. But then there's the other issue of me feeling bitter because I can't commit to an organization that won't commit to me. The work keeps getting more intense, my dissertation energy continues to be sapped by this, and yet I'm doing internal work for contractor pay. And until I get this "real job," then there is no valid reason for me to leave school. In fact, my parents are expecting me to come out with a PhD by next year's end. And I'm currently running a little behind. To this person who has only ever really tried to excel because of the fear her parents and family would not accept her, this discrepancy is killing me.

I chose the wrong path. It seems that I should have picked something more generic so that I would have been able to find a job by now and not have started this stupid school business in the first place. I'm tired of struggling after all the hard work I've put in and the sacrifices I have made.

At times, I would rather just stop working for a while to claim some of my life back.

Because ultimately, and I revisited this thought while looking out a window one day, there will come a day in which I will think my last thought, and I won't have anymore awareness of anything, anywhere, ever. I won't even know what hit me. And the more I have to deal with, the more quickly that moment will come... with less and less awareness of what's going on around me.

Obviously, I write this with no request for a solution. I might suddenly wake up tomorrow with a new slant. But if you have ever wondered why I do some of the things I do, well, you've just seen.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Random Photo Entry 13

I have not posted one of these in a while, so here we are...

Above: Some time ago (maybe in February), I made this tiramisu. I whipped all of those egg whites without a hand-mixer, so I got quite the workout. I didn't eat any of this, but supposedly, it was very good, though could have used more Kahlua.

Above: This is from a hotel balcony. One of the perks of my job is free hotel stays, and on one nice day, I decided to do some mug-shots out of pure boredom.

Above: I don't think I'm ever going to try to drink anything like this ever again, especially while in a rush. This was a pseudo-bachelorette party, so you can at least see why this had happened. But even so, let's just say that this did not stay in my system for long. I'll stick with sipping off of others' beer and wine, thank you. As for the context of the night this was taken... I don't think I can mention on this blog.

Above: A new banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) place opened near me called Tip Top Sandwiches, so "The Ukrainian" and I have gone a couple of times. The place is HUGE and pretty cool. Here's some stuff we got the first time we were there. Their sandwiches are pretty good, even though the folks on Yelp don't seem to agree.

Above: One night before salsa class, we fueled up at Wendy's. This was my first time there! I ate the potato and some salad... (the gloppy white stuff is actually Greek yogurt that we picked up at the supermarket just prior).

Above: I packed these reinforcing agents before my last marathon.

Above: Finally, I baked these vegan brownies for a co-worker of mine in early March, as she was leaving to start her own business. She didn't eat meat or eggs, so this vegan brownie arrangement worked out well. It was so well-received that I had several requests for this recipe and have already made it again. Even I could not keep myself away...