April 30, 2008

Another month gone...

I can scarcely believe April is over. So long, National Poetry Month!

I managed to stay true to my project april challenge. I wrote a poem a day and posted it along with a photo on flickr. You can check out the completed project, crappy poems and all, here. Here's a collage of the photos:

Pretty cool, eh?

Next month, I am going to try to continue to write creatively every day. I'm also going to do a monthly photo project for May, and the theme this time around is red. As usual, the photos will be on flickr.

And now I'm going to take Nyquil so it will knock me out. I really need a decent night's sleep.

And tomorrow when I wake up, it will be May.

April 29, 2008

Afternoon Delight

My class for this evening was cancelled today, so I took advantage of my free time and walked down to Mandy's house. I love our neighborhood, especially right now because of everything that's blooming.

I took more photos of Cerby for Mandy's reception table numbers.

I am really excited about Mandy's upcoming wedding. Less than two weeks to go! I am going to take her getting ready pictures as well as a ton more at the wedding itself.

Another thing I can't wait for? Summer! I really miss having tons of free time.

Happy Birthday, Blog.

One year ago today I started this blog. I have published 274 posts (including this one) and have 21 drafts just waiting to be finished. That's a lot of writin'.

I could not have foreseen then how addicted I would get to reading other people's blogs. Currently, I subscribe to about 300 RSS feeds. That's a lot of readin' (that I cannot keep up with, ever). That reminds me, I still need to finish updating my links, because there are still so many I need to add.

In honor of my blog's first birthday, I thought I'd share some of my greatest hits. If you're new to my blog, check it out. If you're not new to my blog, these entries mostly consist of my being my overly sentimental/emotional self, and you are probably sick of hearing me talk about how much I love Roy, how cute Roy is, how lucky I am, my constant internal struggle, my hatred of my current job, etc. I am so emo my grass cuts itself.

40 Days

The 14th Day

3 Months Marriaged

What I Would Have Done Differently Had I Known My Videographer Was Running a Soft Porn Business on the Side


101 in 1001

Letter to my Past Self

My First Job

Our First Date

Our 5th Monthiversary!

2007 - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Words for the Departed

For the Love of a Dog

Adventures of a HOH, Part Three: Mandy in Wonderland

A Healthy Dose of Idealism

Thank you so much to my readers for sticking with me, offering advice and encouragement, and writing such cool blogs yourselves. Word.

April 27, 2008


There's this painting that I've had for what feels like forever. Like all pieces of art, this one has a good story behind it.

Back in the summer of 2005, my friend Genevee and I went to the Riverside Art Museum to check it out. Neither one of us had ever been there before. I immediately fell in love with a painting by Gegam Kacherian that was in the front lobby. It was so gorgeous! See for yourself:

I loved it so much I considered throwing down my credit card to buy it. But I didn't. (And I won't lie - sometimes I wish I would have.)

After checking out the downstairs part of the museum, Genevee and I made the trek upstairs, and it was there I noticed a very interesting exhibit called Childish Things. Here are a few of the pictures we saw:

I was totally intrigued by this collection. Some of the pictures made us laugh; some made us cringe and feel uncomfortable. I was pretty impressed with the whole exhibit. (And yes, those are toys. So wonderfully strange, indeed.)

We went back downstairs and made our way even further downward into this single room filled with all kinds of pieces of original art sitting up against the walls. I found out that these were for a silent auction to be taking place the next weekend. I found one piece called "Firebird" that I thought was beautiful, and I told myself I would come back.

Interestingly enough, I also found out that the creators of "Childish Things" were going to be at the museum the same night as the silent auction, as there was some kind of gala planned. I found a copy of the book version of Childish Things in the museum gift store and snatched up a copy. I already knew that I would be back for the silent auction and gala.

Fast forward to the weekend, and Roy and I showed up at the museum. There was lots of schmoozing going on, which was totally gag-worthy. I think we caught a glimpse of Davis & Davis, the creators of "Childish Things," but they were surrounded. So we didn't get a chance to talk to them.

I did, however, go bid on "Firebird" once the auction started. I was soon outbid by a small amount, and I felt defeated. Roy and I decided to leave, and in typical Leslie fashion, as soon as we were out the door I began second-guessing my decision to not bid on the painting again. We had walked all the way down the street and gotten in my car when I decided to go back and bid again. We hauled ass back to the museum - Roy dropped me off and I ran back inside and bid on "Firebird" again with about two minutes to go.

And I won! (I think I won it for $150.) I came back to the museum later on that week and picked up my painting. Roy and I immediately took it to Aaron Brothers and quickly found out that it was going to cost more to frame it than I actually paid for it. Discouraged and not wanting to throw down the money, we stashed it in the closet to be framed in the future.

Warning! Here comes a long tangent.

Soon after this whole experience, I started graduate school. I took a class called The Western Rhetorical Tradition my first quarter. Our entire grade was based on our final paper on something rhetoric-related. One day I had a rare stroke of genius and ended up writing my best paper ever (still, to this day) on the "Childish Things" book and exhibit. My class loved it. Hell, even I loved it! Later on that year I submitted an abstract on my "Childish Things" paper to a local graduate conference, and it was accepted. I began putting together a power point presentation of some of the images, and then I felt like I should email the artists (who are a husband and wife team) to make sure they were okay with my using their images.

So I emailed them, and they responded back, giving me their blessing. They asked if they could read my paper, and once they read it, they responded back with high praise for the work I'd put into it. We exchanged a few more words, and a few weeks later, I went to the conference and presented my paper.

I was really shocked when I was approached by one of the artists of "Childish Things" after presenting. It was so awesome that he took the time to drive out here. He even signed my copy of their book, and we went out to lunch. It was so cool.

End tangent.

Anyway, we finally got "Firebird" framed - almost three years later. We picked it up last weekend, and it looks so beautiful. Already it contains so much history. Here's a detail shot of it:

So that's the end of my long, drawn-out story. Man, I'm really long-winded. I try to be economical with my words, but for some reason, I'm all about back story. So there you go: here's more than you ever wanted to know about my love for art. I have managed to avoid doing homework in favor of writing this post though, so I consider this post an absolute necessity.

A Healthy Dose of Idealism

I feel the need to put down my thoughts now more than ever. This will probably end up being a long and twisty tale with an ever-forming conclusion. But I want to remember these feelings, because I will not always have them.

I began graduate school in 2005 with the hopes that it would answer my burning questions about what I should do with my life. That is one of the more important reasons I went to grad school, actually. Sure, I also wanted to attend grad school for educational/personal enrichment/job reasons, but I also felt the need to put off the big decision of choosing a career. You see, by the time I was set to graduate with my BA, I realized that I wasn't any closer to knowing what I wanted to do with my life (meaning I didn't know what realistic career I wanted to pursue). So I figured I might as well continue on with my education.

And so I did. I took classes on rhetoric, the contemporary American family in novels, theory and criticism, and eco-poetics. I slaved over multiple drafts of papers, cried over writer's block, and tried to understand key theories in the literature and composition fields. Somewhere along the way, I got engaged and then married. During that time, I was highly distracted and unfocused: the wedding trumped my education by far.

I began this school year the same distracted student I'd been for a year or more, only now I was married. At first I really wasn't feeling the school vibe: I truly just wanted to stay at home with Roy and enjoy being married. Over time, something other than newlywed bliss began to stir in me again. It was this little cry of desperation deep inside, begging me not to ignore it any longer. I'm not sure what to call this thing, but its cry got louder and louder as certain things happened. First, I wrote this poem, the first decent poem I'd written in a very long time. Then Roy bought me my camera. Then I took a creative writing class. Then I signed up for my internship in an advanced poetry writing class. Then I began writing a poem and posting it with a photo every day for project april. And while all this was going on, I began reading different blogs that began to inspire and influence me. Oddly enough, quite a few of them are design blogs.

And then, that voice of desperation was silenced as it all became clear to me - what I should be doing with my life, that is. And oddly enough, I've known this entire time. I've known my whole life even! I've just been ignoring it for the past few years. I've been denying myself my dreams.

I need to do something creative with my life. I have been writing since I was a little kid; I have always known that writing was my calling. I got a lot of encouragement as a child, but as I got older, people stopped encouraging me so much. As a matter of fact, when I would talk to people about wanting to be a writer, most would say, "Okay, so what are you really going to do?" As if writing isn't a good enough choice for a career! Phooey.

Well, after hearing that over and over, I eventually started to lose hope that I would be able to make my living from writing. And ever since then, I've been racking my brain, trying to figure out what I'm going to do career-wise. I've been looking for that perfect realistic career that I enjoy that will also afford me the opportunity to write on the side. But the more I think about it, the more I feel like I'll be settling if I do anything but devote myself to my passions.

Yes, passions - as it turns out, I actually feel just as passionate about photography as I do about writing. And while I know I'm not great at either one, I know that I have good moments and that I will get better the more I work at both. And frankly, I think it's silly that these things that I love so much have to be put on the back burner in favor of my crappy job that pays the rent. It feels like a trap, one that leaves me so tired by the end of the day that I don't have the time or energy to devote to my passions. I have been keeping myself trapped for years, and I don't want to do it anymore.

So I have decided that with my graduation (which will hopefully happen in December), I am going to make a valiant effort to find my own little niche. I don't know yet what that niche is or what it will consist of. I know that it will be hard and that I will probably have to continue to have a day job that will pay the bills (at least for awhile), but I don't want to settle for the sake of money, benefits, or resume-building. I don't think it's too much to ask that I look forward to the weekdays as much as I look forward to the weekends. I want to love what I'm doing for a living; otherwise, what is the point of even doing it?

Someone once told me "Be true to the art, and the art will be true to you." And I believe this now more than ever. Now that I am actively writing and being creative again, the world feels like a benevolent spirit that's ready to show me good things. Life seems to be responding to the choice I've made to re-explore my creative side. For the first time in a very long time, everything feels so utterly....possible.

This is why I have been feeling content. While it totally sucks that I am sitting in the same beige office day after day, pushing paper and getting sucked into office drama, I know that there is an end to this misery. And while I do (and will) get discouraged, one thing I don't (and won't) do is give up. I am a go-getter at heart, and when I want something, I am very good at making it happen. As cheesy as it sounds, I need to hold onto some simple truths: 1) Life is too short to settle for less than what I want, 2) It's important to do something meaningful with my life, and 3) I just need to believe in myself. If I can just hang onto these feelings of possibility and realize that there is a place for me in this world, then I know I can break free and do something I love and actually be successful at it.

I am ready.

April 26, 2008

i heart youtube, volume one

My favorite videos of the week!

My friend Jessica sent me this one:

This one's from the wonderful Cute Overload:

And this last one I found via Black Eiffel:

One Week

It's been one week since I last wrote a blog entry. That's the longest time I've gone without writing here in quite awhile. Well, in my defense, I've had quite a few things going on lately. Consider this my big, giant recap post. I'm not a big fan of recaps, so I tend to put them off forever. But here are some things I consider noteworthy about my life right now.

1) I've had a cold this week (which is probably the main reason why I haven't been writing). I had picked up some oil of oregano a few weeks ago when Roy was sick, and I put three drops in my water at night and in the morning. I feel that the oil of oregano is a big reason why my cold symptoms improved so drastically, so I would recommend it to others. If you ever try it though, consider adding it to your water like I did instead of dropping it straight into your mouth. It's pretty strong and tastes awful.

2) I got my scary mole removed yesterday. It didn't hurt at all. My dermatologist really doesn't think it's a cause for concern, but she is going to have it biopsied anyway. I'll get the results in two weeks. In the meantime, I think it's going to heal up nicely and probably won't even be noticable at Mandy's wedding (which I was admittedly concerned about).

3) Speaking of Mandy's wedding, it's two weeks until the day! I often think of her and wonder how she's doing with everything. I remember all too well how I felt near the end of the planning process: insanely stressed but extraordinarily happy and alive. I just can't believe how the time has flown.

4) Roy got a new job! This is probably the most amazing thing I have to report this time around. My husband is not one to embrace change when it comes to jobs, so for him to make this move is pretty incredible. He actually got a job in his field; he will be making a little bit more per hour and will work slightly less. The position is temporary, but it's definitely a good move for him.

5) I downloaded a thirty day trial of Adobe Lightroom last weekend, and I must say I love it! Remember the white balance issues I had with Mandy and Paul's engagement pics? Well, in a few clicks, Lightroom had fixed that. Check it - the left pic is before Lightroom, and the right pic is after Lightroom.

Needless to say, I think I will be purchasing Lightroom after my thirty day trial is up. It's a quick and amazing piece of software.

6) I got my Polaroid camera in this week. I'm so glad I bought it. Getting a good picture out of it seems to kind of be a crapshoot (and an expensive one at that) at this point, but I think in time I will learn to manipulate it to get the shots I want. Actually, I've taken some really cool shots with it. Unfortunately, I don't have a scanner, so I don't really have any to share.

7) We have finally put our wedding videographer issues to bed, not necessarily by choice, but by necessity. I did send out a couple of demand letters at the beginning of March and tracked them online. One of them was returned to us unopened, and the other one apparently never made it anywhere. As I suspected, our videographer apparently is no longer in the wedding videography business. While we could have pushed on with taking him to small claims court, Roy and I made the mutual decision to let it go. In the grand scheme of things, this just isn't worth it. No matter how much we fight or how much of a refund we might have gotten, it won't give us what we really want: all the hours of footage from our wedding. It sucks, but I have too many other things that need my attention. We got screwed over, we made a heroic effort to unscrew ourselves, and it just didn't work out. Oh well.

8) I have been a music-listening-and-downloading fool lately. My absolute favorite album of the moment is She & Him: Volume One. It's totally worth many listens. I have also been revisiting some of my old favorites, like Tori Amos' Little Earthquakes, Weezer's blue album, and Violent Femmes' Add it Up. Right now I'm listening to old school Smashing Pumpkins and am enjoying it thoroughly.

9) After many frustrating months of trying to get answers about my name-changing issues, I finally made some headway yesterday. I was able to talk to someone who actually made a few phone calls to help me out. Now I feel more confident about this whole process, although there's no guarantee that the state will amend our marriage license. I will be sending in the paperwork next week though. I suspect it will be a long wait to hear anything back from them.

10) School is going great! I have to say that this has been my favorite year of school in quite awhile (in terms of classes). My internship is going well: the students are really insightful and smart, the assigned reading is wonderful, and of course I love my faculty mentor. My seminar on fairy tales is very interesting, although the professor takes some getting used to. I could be making more headway on my thesis proposal, but hopefully that will happen this weekend. All in all, I am enjoying myself very much. I have to admit, though, that attending classes four nights a week thoroughly sucks. For that reason, I am counting down until summer.

Anyway, there's my long ass recap. I have a few other things that are going on, but I think I'll make those separate entries.

It's good to be back!

April 19, 2008

For the Mind and the Eye

Today Roy and I went to the Riverside International Film Festival. This has been going on since last weekend, and I found out about it earlier this week. Due to current time constraints, we could only attend for a little while, so we decided to go see a selection of surrealistic short films.

I am a huge fan of Surrealism, so this felt like it was right up my alley. We started off with Dislandia, which was by far the weirdest of the bunch. It was a 29-minute film starring a young girl wearing an insanely poofy dress, a brace on one leg, and a papier-mache (or some similar-looking material) mask on her face. This film made no sense whatsoever. It was, however, a very jarring assault on the senses, with loud screechy music, jumpy editing, and a rambling plotline. There were a couple of times during this film when I felt nauseated. If the film was meant to be an experience, it definitely was. On the whole, I enjoyed it, despite its utter strangeness. I did feel that it was weird for the sake of being weird, but I appreciated its uniqueness anyway. The creator was actually there, and we got to ask him some questions and hear some interesting trivia about the movie (like the mask the little girl wore is actually made of pig intestines!).

The second film we watched was a very short, calming film featuring all sorts of bodies of water as its main (and only) characters. It was called Tirol - Land of Water, and it was a nice reprieve from the strange world of Dislandia. The song that accompanied the six-minute film was very soothing and beautiful.

After that, we watched Folly of Two, a funny and engaging film that was obviously inspired by the works of great playwrights Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter. The film features a foul-mouthed old man named Ben, who meets up with young(er) Ben, and as they argue about poo, circumcision, and the guy who sent Ben a mysterious note, they wake up in some other place. This new place contains a baby crib, a mural of the Last Supper, some fake-looking birds in a cage, and some sort of strange elevator that moves from floor to floor at random. Eventually, after several different plot twists, Ben and Gus escape the strange place by using the elevator as a means to transport themselves to freedom.

The fourth movie was called Glimpse, and like Tirol - Land of Water, it was very short. This one was actually animated, and it reminded me of one of those books where you flip through the pages and watch a story unfold. Glimpse was very colorful, though, and didn't really have a plot.

Lastly, we watched a really cool movie called Outsource. It was basically a commentary on the human-machine relationship, and it presented the audience with a world in which human beings act as the hub of machines. As human beings on the outside world grow frustrated with their different machines, they push the reset button - and the person who is controlling the offending machine is violently shocked. It was a really interesting take on artificial intelligence, power, and the future - and definitely my favorite of the bunch.

I'm really glad we went to the festival. I was really hoping for that festival experience - watching really different movies in really old/historic theatres, but no such luck. The festival was held in a regular old movie theatre, but at least we got some exposure to new films. I'm always on the lookout for interesting and creative endeavors, and these five shorts definitely fit the bill.

April 17, 2008


I have been busy but content.

I have been stressed, but inside me there is this feeling of inner peace that I don't quite understand.

I have been inspired by the world around me and the world within me.

I have written some crappy poetry for project april, but I am happy just to be writing at all.

I feel that someday, perhaps sooner than I ever anticipated, I will finally take the chance I need to take in order to do something worthwhile with my life.

It's a strange place I'm in, but I like it.

April 16, 2008

What Desperation Can Do to a Woman

I signed up for a Desperate Housewives Swap. The idea is to send items to another desperate housewife to help make her life less desperate. I'm not a housewife, but it still sounds good to me!

The last swap I participated in was tons of fun, and I think this one will be just as fun. I could use some good mail. If anyone wants to join in, go here for details!

April 14, 2008

Nine months!

Roy and I have been married for nine months today! It's not that long, but at the same time, I have no clue where the time has gone.

Marriage has been fun, challenging, and interesting so far. I can't really say that things have changed between us. We are the same happy couple we always have been, but marriage has increased the depth of my feelings and commitment towards Roy and our relationship.

It's strange that about four years ago I couldn't imagine myself ever getting married. And now I can't imagine myself not being married to Roy.

He's just the cutest, the sweetest, and the most understanding person I've ever known. I'm so lucky!

(Okay, I'm done gushing!)

April 13, 2008

Binaries and Juxtapositions

One of the things that I find most fascinating about southern California is its many juxtapositions. I've seen homeless people in Beverly Hills. I've seen people on welfare driving expensive SUVs. I've seen crumbling buildings very close to sprawling shopping centers. Everywhere I look, there are contradictions. I find these binaries extraordinarily interesting. They reveal a lot about the culture of southern California.

I went to explore a small piece of California's history yesterday. In the small community of Loma Linda, there stands an obviously old stone structure - right across the street from a brand new set of tract homes. I'm surprised no one has torn down this building yet; it seems that many Californians willingly agree to the destruction of pieces of their state's history on a regular basis. I've had my eye on this building for years. Yesterday was not the first time I'd explored it. However, yesterday was the first time I had a decent camera at my disposal, so I took lots of pics.

Speaking of juxtapositions, my week was hectic, as usual, and this weekend was calm. I am aiming to have all of my weekends this quarter to be as relaxing as possible. Going to school four nights a week while working full time is hard, so I don't plan much for the weekends. This weekend, I ran the usual errands, did the laundry, read some blogs, edited some photos, hung out with Mandy, watched some TV on DVD, and wrote some poems. I have yet to do any homework, but I'll get to it. I'm trying to enjoy my freedom as much as possible before the madness begins again tomorrow. Also, Roy has not been feeling well today, so I have been taking care of him.

I also have been adding in new links to my sidebar and separating them into categories. I'm not done yet, but what can I say? It's a big chore (but a fun one).

Hope everyone else has had a great weekend.

A piece of the past

I won this camera on ebay this morning for the low price of $5.00. I know, it probably seems stupid to buy a Polaroid camera this late in the game, considering the fact that Polaroid has announced that it will stop producing film. However, with sites like Save Polaroid, maybe it can be saved.

I have always appreciated Polaroid cameras as wonderful pop culture items, but I never really recognized that they can produce the most beautiful pictures. Check out these Polaroids, courtesy of my polaroid blog:

Because of that blog, her flickr page, and other polaroid lovers on flickr, I have come to appreciate this simple camera more than ever. I'm looking forward to using this amazing little machine once it is shipped to me.