Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Brie the Bunny

This is, in some ways, a sequel to Gouda the Bunny.

Since the post about little Gouda, he's grown into quite the little terror. Over three pounds of stubborn fluff, he's got my sister's personality and affection. Very cute, but a sneaky nibbler of pant hems and shoes (the rabbit, not my sister).

Gouda and my sister have been a fine family of two, but the sister decided to expand. Pretending that bunnies are children, I told her what I'd heard so many times- "two kids aren't twice as much work, they're four times as much work." Now, I have no children at all, so what would I know?

My sister, being who she is, ignored us all and adopted a new little girl bunny, re-named promptly to Baby Brie. I suggested Brie a long time ago for a girl bunny (along with Camembert and Gorgonzola, which were rejected because they were too long and hard to pronounce for the Koreans in our lives), so I was delighted that Brie became Brie.

I haven't met this little bundle of fur yet, but is she not adorable??

With Gouda, who is smitten. They had to be kept apart for a long time because Brie was fixed just before she went home with my sister. I love her color and her big doe eyes, plus those little adorable ears!
Fluffy white cottontail, plus a good view of how long and flat bunnies can be when they want. They're usually tensed into round little balls, but when they're hot or tired or relaxed, they get all loooong and streeetchy. I love when Gouda scoots out his little green-bottomed feet and lounges.
I think she looks rather chipmunk-y here. My sister has pretty small hands, so this photo seems like a good indication of how small wee Brie is. Smaller than Gouda, but big enough to not seem like a mouse.
If you've ever seen a chinchilla in person, this is exactly what they look like! This is a very versatile bunny- she can masquerade as a chinchilla, a giant rodent, a chipmunk- Gouda doesn't have that kind of range.
Short and squat and sweet. I love Gouda's nose, and I think I'll love Brie's, too. Rabbits have the softest, downy fur on their nose. Gouda closes his eyes when I rub his nose, and the frenetic twitching of his nose slows down as he melts into a mush of rabbit fur.
My favorite photo that I've received of Brie (so far). It's blurry, but she looks so cute here! Very typical bunny pose, with a curiosity that reminds me of a cat.

I can't wait to meet this newest member of the family. She can't be any more neurotic than Gouda ... can she?

My sister is slowly turning into a crazy rabbit lady, I fear, but at least they're clean and sweet and don't make any noise, so I'm fully supportive.

Writing this post almost made me want to adopt my own little bun, but I'm definitely not ready to be responsible for a living creature. Maybe after I move back from Albuquerque...


Friday, June 25, 2010

Let Me Count The Ways

I have what is probably an unhealthy relationship with technology, in that I love and depend on it too much, nerdling that I am.

This dependancy is most apparent when observing me with my phone. First of all- no, I haven't (yet) purchased the iPhone 4. Not because I don't want to, but because I haven't had time to do much of anything except work as of late. Also, while I like tech toys, I don't like to be the guinea pig. Someone else (or a few million someone elses) should test any new technology before I invest in it. I didn't buy an iPhone until a couple years after it had come out, for this very reason. I've already read about a few issues with the newest gadget, so they need to address that before I decide to upgrade.

Honestly, I'll admit it: I will totally be buying a new iPhone at some point. It's become a symbiotic relationship, though I'm getting more and more dependant. I'm like the humans in "WALL-E," totally reliant on machines. There are many reasons that this has come about:

1. On a normal day, I receive upwards of 400 e-mails, including personal and professional. This is not altogether an uncontrollable amount, but it does mean that my phone vibrates at least once every ten minutes from the hours of about 6:00 a.m. to about 2:00 a.m. That, in turn, means that my phone needs to be charged at least once a day to full capacity, but usually twice a day. As the movie I'm working on enters its last three or four months, my e-mails range anywhere from 400 to over a thousand.

My life is well equipped for such things- I have a charger plugged into a wall outlet at home, I have a connecting cable plugged into my laptop at home, I have a charger in my car, and I have another wall charger at work. Any excursion has me reflexively looking at the battery gauge on my phone- will I make it without a quick hit of juice? Will my phone last through the night out on the town? Will my phone die during this two-hour-long meeting? If I have any hesitation, I charge my phone before I go. Anywhere.

2. I no longer use MapQuest or Yahoo maps, because I have a map built into my phone. I can search in my area (or any area) for the nearest bacon factory, shoe store, or pickling plant. Then I can find directions to said location. Nothing to it, and I find that I'm never lost now. Not only do I have directions, I also have a compass. Handy!

3. I haven't taken the time to figure out radio stations here in Albuquerque, so I plug in my phone in the car to listen to whatever I want (I'm currently listening to Mika and the Glee soundtrack, which make for nicely upbeat commutes). My phone also serves as my iPod when I work out (though sometimes my iPod serves as my iPod).

4. I rarely use my computer at home. I use Twitter from my phone. I use Facebook from my phone. I text, I e-mail, I search for books, I surf the web- all from my phone. Why turn on a whole computer when the phone's always on? I suspect that I should never own a Kindle or iPad, seeing how I am with a mere phone.

5. Chase is my bank. Upon moving to Albuquerque, I learned that there are no Chase branches out here. I do all my banking online, which means- you guessed it- I do almost all my banking on my phone.

6. My phone wakes me up in the morning with two alarms (I have a backup, just in case I don't wake up the first time) and helps me go to sleep at night, with a sound machine. The sound machine is timed, so it shuts off after an hour, at which time I am usually asleep.

7. I get all my news on my phone, via CNN and NPR. I get my weather on my phone, so I know what to wear and whether or not I'll need a jacket. It gives me movie showtimes, nearby restaurants, reviews of those restaurants.

8. I am writing this blog post on my phone.

It's kind of a miracle that there was ever a time that I didn't own a smart phone.


Thursday, June 24, 2010


Both of my countries, Korea and the U.S., are in the top 16 of the World Cup! Hooray for squeaking out enough victories to pull ahead!

(I think Zakumi, the World Cup 2010 mascot, is quite adorable, other than his weird spots. They look like some sort of disease.)

Watching the World Cup, seeing screaming Koreans, it all really makes me miss my family. And also Koreatown. I have no real connections to anything Korean here- there's one Korean restaurant, which I haven't been to yet, and the Korean markets are a joke, pretty much tiny little holes in the walls, without much stock.

Coming from LA, where there is an enormous Korean population, I'm used to speaking Korean and reading Korean pretty much on a daily basis. Now, I have to force myself to remember how to speak Korean when I call my parents. I'm forgetting words, grammar, and smells on a daily basis!

Even worse than all this is the fact that I'm totally out of kimchi. I ate the last of it last week, and I'm rather depressed about it. I can't buy kimchi, because I am a total kimchi snob and only eat my mother's homemade kind (and of that, I only really like two types), so I have to (horror of horrors) make it myself.

This might be my project this weekend- kimchi madness.

When I watch soccer, I also really, really want dried squid (오징어). 

Sigh. I miss the Korean half of my life.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chaos Theory

I have a theory. It has something to do with chaos. I don't know what the real chaos theory is, but here's my version:

Orderly people need chaos in order to have something to organize, therefore proving their own worth.

Yep, that's my theory. It's my theory because it's how I am: pretty organized, a lover of structure and rules. Yet I work in an industry that, by its very nature, since its inception, has been chaotic. Films encourage chaos, encourage thinking outside of the box. This sort of flagrant rule breaking is not really built into me.

The thing about me, though, is that while I like stability and lists, I also hate being bored. I'm very easily bored by things. I can zone out in the middle of a movie if it doesn't hold my interest, while sitting in a movie theater, with the soundtrack bombarding me via surround sound. I very easily lose my focus in meetings that start drifting off topic. I can read an entire book and not retain anything but a few sentences that actually intrigued me.

So in order to keep both sides of my brain happy, I work in the messy, nutty business of making movies, but in the department that remains the most organized. That is to say, production.

I've been immersed in my work for so long that I have a hard time explaining what it is that I do. When I say "visual effects," some people blanch, some people grin, and some people look at me blankly. Then, if they persist, I say, "I'm not an artist. I'm one of those people that yells at artists and tells them to click the mouse faster." Generally, people accept that and do not ask for more information (unless they are also in the business, in which case, they ask all kinds of particulars).

So here's the thing: I went to school to be an artist. Specifically, an animator. Then I got my first job as an animator, and discovered quickly that I didn't like it. I hated sitting there and doing the same thing for hours and hours, with nothing to keep my brain occupied.

That's when the executive producer told me that I should be in production. Production consists of producers (executive producers, associate producers, visual effects producers, digital producers), production managers, coordinators, and production assistants. "Production" is sort of a catch-all group- "Are we getting Fourth of July off? What does production say?"- and deal with the schedule, budgeting, and crewing for any given project. We're the bean counters of films, essentially.

It's pretty much the perfect career for me- I am still involved in the artistic side, since I work with several supervisors and their teams of artists. But I also have to keep my mind on when things are due, what changes need to be made, what the schedule is, and how many days we've spent on tasks versus how many days we have the money for. It's a sort of schizophrenic job, but one I enjoy. And frankly, it's a job that I'm good at.

In Albuquerque, I've discovered a different flavor to this job. If working in LA was rocky road, full of nuts and marshmallows, working here is like smooth, buttery dark chocolate. Only an occasional nut, a passing hint of marshmallow, nothing much to mar the loveliness of chocolate. I'm quite liking it.

I didn't know that this was even an option for me, which I guess is why people always say to "try anything once." I'm adverse to change, but this year seems to be the year of changes for me.

Even chaos runs on Albuquerque time in this city.

Of course, it's only my third month on this movie. I'm sure the chaos will pick up shortly ... but I'm enjoying the peace for now.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Nueva Mexico

There are mornings when I wake up thinking that I'm in California. Most mornings, actually. I go through my morning routine and don't realize that I'm in New Mexico until I walk out the door to go to my car. Then, the blueness of the sky hits me. The mountains, just east of my apartment, look down at me. And I remember all over again that I'm in a different state.

The architecture here (well, mostly downtown, since that's where I spend most of my waking hours) is really very pretty. Even with the drab colors (lots of beige here!), the shapes hold my eye.

The train station. This photo was taken around 8:00 p.m., and the sky was still that relentless blue. I haven't been inside the train station, but I hear that it's really pretty and very well done. I have an aversion to public transportation, so I doubt I'll be taking the train anytime soon. Still, the building's nice!

Now for (crappy iPhone) pictures from my Saturday in Santa Fe, an hour north of Albuquerque:

These enormous dandelions lined the parking lot of the Santa Fe Complex, where there was a Siggraph event last Saturday. Okay, I doubt that these are actually dandelions, but they sure looked like big ol' fluffy dandelions. I love these worn wooden fences that are everywhere.

This is the Santa Fe Complex, with my car in front of it. (It's a rental car- that's a whole other story.) The windows had black-out curtains and it was cool and dark inside, like a cave. The walls are incredibly thick, keeping the heat out and the cool in. It was an interesting Siggraph day.

After the Siggraph event, a friend and I walked about a mile to the Historic Plaza in Santa Fe, where all the tourist-y things are, like shops and restaurants and an entire building lined with people selling jewelry. On the way, we spotted some amazing houses. I love this turquoise color that's predominant here, and these shutters were just adorable.

The door to match the shutters. The house itself looked a bit like something out of the Flintstones, but the turquoise-painted wood took the place out of the cave and into eclectic art. Everything looks handmade here- not in a bad way, in a charming, quaint way.

Santa Fe has a lot of churches. Here was the first one we passed- pretty modern, nothing too out-of-the-ordinary...

But it shares a campus with this other church (maybe it's the same church, different buildings?) that looks distinctly different. I loved this church, lumpy walls and all. It reminded me of San Juan Capistrano.

The sign for the lumpy church- of course it's for Guadalupe. I rather liked this sign, with the chipping paint and the scroll work. The roses were nice, too- it's pretty rare for me to see roses around here.

The lumpy church from a different angle- we'd walked around it by now, to the front of the building. I love that earth color against the blue sky.

From the front of the church, looking back. It looks like a movie set, with the perfect puffy clouds, but it's real! I didn't have much desire to actually go into the church, but I did go into the front courtyard, where there were statues:

Guadalupe? The Virgin Mary? I don't know, I'm not up to snuff on Catholic saints. Either way, iconic.

Jesus. A bit gruesome, really. This marble cross was placed just in front of Mary/Guadalupe, so she is forever looking down on the crucified Christ.

After the brief detour into Catholicism, we wove our way through the shops lining the part of Santa Fe that's filled with tourists. I loved this light fixture, and the fact that there were still Christmas lights, though it's the middle of June.

I also loved this clock, because it looks like what I imagine old-timey pocketwatches look like. What Sherlock Holmes would have pulled from his waistcoat pocket to check the time during a stake-out.

The train station (second photo) in Albuquerque leads to the train station in Santa Fe, funnily enough. Who knew??

The train station has a giant water tower (made of wood, seems inadvisable) just near it, which I found quite pretty.

Another view of the water tower. In the back of the shot is the Second Street Brewery, where I had yummy green chili soup.

아빠를 위해서:

A welded burro! Just relaxing in a small side street. I wanted to take him home with me, but I had to walk a mile back to my car ... in heels. So I could not, unfortunately, unbolt Fuzzy Ears (that's his name!) and take him along. Boooo.

The day in Santa Fe was fun, but no one warned me about sandstorms! It was windy. Wind + desert = flying sand. That part? Not fun. Walking a mile to Second Street Brewery after the wind had picked up was like a workout and an exfoliation in one- I think I lost around three layers of skin.

I've been a bad blogger of late. I tweaked my back and I've been hobbling around like a creaky old lady, and that's been exhausting. Plus work is picking up, and it's all just leading to slacking off on the personal part of my life, which includes this wee blog.

On the plus side, I've found a couple Korean markets, a few more organic places, and an international store (they sell rice by the 20 pound bag- that's when I felt like I was home), where I promptly bought blocks of Japanese curry roux, garam masala, cumin, curry powder, and all kinds of other ingredients to make myself some Asian food. I've been on an odd curry kick, having had Japanese curry last week and Indian curry this week (though the coconut milk I bought was so strong that I had to keep adding tomato paste). I had chicken pho for lunch today, with plenty of jalapenos and Sriracha sauce, and felt a pang for Orange County.

So, all in all, life is chugging along as usual.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sex and the City 2

So last night, I bit the bullet. In what way, you ask?


I watched "Sex and the City 2," despite the scathing reviews. The first review I read of this movie was, unfortunately, Roger Ebert's. He gave it one star. One star!

The review was sharp and funny, really- he calls the girls "flyweight bubbleheads." The very first sentence is "Some of these people make my skin crawl." !! In writing about a scene where Charlotte is having some troubles with motherhood, Ebert: "Any mother who wears her vintage Valentino while making muffin topping with her kids should be hauled up before the Department of Children and Family Services."

There are spoilers ahead, in case you wanted to ever watch this movie. But since the plot was thin ... there's not really much to reveal.

And yes, he's mostly correct. The movie is fluff, definitely summer fare, when the weather's hot (and it's HOT here), the popcorn's buttery, and the peanut M&M's are consumed by the fistful. Three of us girls, the brave female contingent in a workplace full of men, went to watch this movie after work yesterday. I was expecting the worst, fully preparing myself for a nice nap in air-conditioned plushiness.

Perhaps because of all the bad press, my expectations had sunk to a level that would have been amused by a children's movie about euthanasia. That's the only explanation for the fact that I actually enjoyed myself. The puns were terrible. TERRIBLE-

"This is an inter-friend-tion!"
Then a short time later, "This is an inter-fun-tion!"

"Broom- bride, groom, broom."

"She's Erin Go Bra-less!"

"There ought to be a law against having a nanny that looks like that."
"Yeah, a Jude Law."

I mean, really. How many puns can you squeeze into a movie? Granted, the movie was overly long (2 hours and 15 minutes), which only served to provide Patricia Field with an opportunity to dress the ladies in outfits that got zanier with each passing scene. The shoes were, of course, fantastic. Some (read: most) of the fashion choices were strange, but that's to be expected.

There was a short but weird flashback about how the girls all met, back in the 80's, with requisite 80's hair and clothes. Carrie had a chance to put on that iconic Dior newspaper dress again. Samantha and Carrie both wore hideous harem pants. Charlotte wore a sequined, strapless, full-length gown to karaoke. And Miranda, bless her red-headed soul, looked MUCH BETTER than she did in the series or the first movie.

If you want breezy, silly, and a nice fashion show with dialogue, this is the movie for you. It met my expectations and kept me pretty much entertained (at least there was always something to look at). That's all I needed from this, so I like it just fine.


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Two Fools Tavern, Nob Hill

Two Fools Tavern
3211 Central Avenue NE
Albuquerque, NM

Telephone: 505.265.7447

Monday - Saturday:
11:00 am - 2:00 am
11:00 am - 12:00 midnight

Okay. Deep breaths-- I think Albuquerque is becoming home for me. And though I don't drink beer, finding an (amazing) Irish pub somehow really helped to seal the deal. I've been to a few bars in the ABQ now, but Two Fools is my favorite so far. It's actually nicer than the Irish pubs I've been to in LA (Irish Times, Finn McCool's, Dublin's, Daily Pint- all pretty grotty and dive-y) and has a pretty extensive collection of booze.

The bar has a lovely dark wood interior, heavy and imposing, with a fake bust of a stag over the fireplace (it's carved out of wood, not a real animal), various Guinness paraphernalia, including a toucan painted on one brick wall, touting two glasses of Guinness on his beak, and surprising bursts of flowers.

I like the vibe of this bar- it's busy on weekends, but never frenetic, the way bars in LA usually are, and never so crowded that you can't find a seat. The waiters and waitresses are nice, and there are enough staffers to keep everyone lubricated without insanely long waits. People don't dress up for this place, but it's still nice. I like that energy, the laid-back attitude of people in flip-flops merging with the bubbly giggliness of drunk people.

I've made some friends, managing to celebrate my birthday despite my best attempts to feel sorry for myself. On Saturday, I went to a wine tasting for Elk Cove at Savoy (great food- they make a duck dish that I actually like!), then went to Quarters to taste a tequila liqueur called Agavero, then went home for a brief respite before trekking out to Two Fools to end the night. It was a loosely planned day, nothing like the rigidly schedule birthdays I used to have in LA that involved Korean BBQ, karaoke, and frozen yogurt.

One of the best things I've learned lately is to enjoy the unexpected. I went to a wine tasting last weekend, at Seasons (sister restaurant of Savoy). In two weeks, I've tried twelve new kinds of wine and bought two bottles (one each week- a Kaiken Malbec at Seasons and an Elk Cove Riesling at Savoy). I don't generally like white wine, but the Riesling was my favorite on Saturday, a nice surprise. None of these things would have happened if I was the same person that I was in LA, always planning, always afraid to go out alone, always made up because I never knew who I was going to run into. I've never in my life gone to a bar in flip-flops until I moved here.

I don't know if these changes in me are permanent (I suspect they are, based off of my change in attitude after my travels earlier this year), but I like them. I like the more relaxed, less spastic person that I am becoming.

I've already been to Two Fools thrice in the past couple weeks (I love the word thrice!) and will probably go back, especially with the World Cup coming up. Where better to watch soccer (ahem, football) than in an Irish pub??


Saturday, June 05, 2010


It's nighttime here, but the sky is still bright and it's 97 degrees. It's only the first week of June!


Thursday, June 03, 2010

What I Love, #3

Part 1 here, Part 2 here.

Favorite characters in books, this time. There will probably be spoilers ahead, so if you haven't read any of the books, don't read my opinions!

Chick in "Geek Love," by Katherine Dunn.
I am currently re-reading "Geek Love," one of my favorite books of all time. It's profound and deep but easy to ready and so evocative. As I am re-reading, I realize how much I love Chick, the youngest child in the strange and fabulous Binewski family. I adore him. I was actually thinking in my head of how I would draw him, should I have any sort of motivation to stop reading and start drawing. He is such a powerful but sad child- he makes me want to have kids. When Chick realizes that Mumpo, Elly, and Iphy are dead, I literally cry, every single time I read that chapter.

Westley in "The Princess Bride," by William Goldman.
Swashbuckling hero, tall, dark, and handsome. What more is there to say?? He is awesome. Cary Elwes will forever be remembered by me as Westley, rather than anything he's done before or since. To me, Westley is the epitome of the man I'd like to be rescued by, complete with smart-aleck commentary (very necessary).

Dominique Francon in "The Fountainhead," by Ayn Rand.
I admire the main character, architect Howard Roark- he is driven, single-minded, and remarkably goal-oriented. But it's Dominique that I empathize with. She was raised by a powerful, irritable man, and she loves a strong man with tunnel vision. Poor girl is caught, but she is never the victim. She is strong in a way that I wish I could be strong, and she has her own vision of what love is, without caring about convention in any way.

Lyra Belacqua in "His Dark Materials," by Philip Pullman.

In the books, Lyra is an eleven-year-old girl, pretty much living in a monastery, rebelling and acting out. She is sweet and brave and funny and irreverent, all things that young girls should be. I was not that way as a little girl- I was painfully shy, very timid, extremely careful, and the opposite of a rebel. I wished for nothing more than to fade into the woodwork, so people couldn't see me. Lyra is what I wish I could have been as a child, faults and all. 

Count Dracula in "Dracula," by Bram Stoker.
The book portrays the Count as a complex, manipulative man, without the effortless grace and prettiness that is now so commonplace in portrayals of vampires. He seems like a real person in the book, not some immortal that cannot be hurt, floating icily above all the human fray. I was fascinated by how Dracula was written, because I am so used to modern vampires- all slick and techie, with guns and swords and pithy one-liners. Not that I like evil characters- I just really liked how Dracula came across in words, countering my lifetime of mass media interpretations.

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle in books by Betty MacDonald.
The books about Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle are dear to my heart. I read them all as a child, and they left such a lasting impression. She is one part Rosie the Robot from "The Jetsons," two parts Mary Poppins, and three parts Maria von Trapp. There is nothing more I can say about the character.

I'm sure I'm missing a ton of characters, but these are the ones that popped to mind. This whole "What I Love" thing is sort of like word association. I was reading "Geek Love" and thinking about how much I love Chick. Then I thought, "what other characters do I love?" and wrote down the ones that came to me. I haven't read some of the books above for years and years, but those characters still came to me.

I've been a rather atrocious blogger of late; there are no excuses. Adjusting to Albuquerque, I guess? I haven't settled into a rhythm yet, because my life here keeps changing. Once I find the rhythm, I assume that's when I'll feel like this is home and I'll have a regular schedule to adhere to. For now, the chaos is fun!