The very picture of erudition

I went with my friend to go talk to Dr. Ai the other day, and since she had the question, I had the liberty to look around the office a bit and enjoy the aesthetics.

Dr. Ai’s office is very organized.  A place for everything and everything in its place.  Some tasteful decorations of framed Chinese calligraphy and silk painting adorn the soothing, off-white walls.  The wooden desk holds a glasses case, a computer prop-up, a business card rack, a coffee mug with writing instruments, and a wireless speaker set.  Dr. Ai keeps his desk clean, and only has a stack of papers on it while he works on grading.

On the left side of the room as you enter, there’s a bookcase with the books mostly arranged by subject, and somewhat arranged by size.  The bookcase is divided into three sections. Then there’s a shelf over some cabinets, probably with more books, but since they’re closed, I don’t know.  The shelf has about six tastefully placed pieces of Chinese art.  Two pieces of calligraphy and a laquerware plate are the most memorable.

Then there’s the center back of the room, with a window and some more tastefully arranged objects.  There was a set of three flags, but to be honest, I don’t remember anything else.  There are two deep chairs with red cushions and a coffee table with a book of photographs in the center of the room, away from the window.

On the right side of the room there is a bookcase full of old manga, an immaculate fish tank with guppies in it, a poster with the meaning of the SMART goal acronym, a mini fridge, and a boombox softly playing classical music.

The soft classical music is the cherry on the cake.  The organization, the books inside, the guppy tank, and the art pieces all create the very picture of erudition.



Hallelujah! A whole week of no classes to sleep through! I still have a bit of work to do over the break, such as wrap up the curry project and start the final projects for CHIN 380 and 490, and of course, do the reading for A/ST 306 and answer the comprehension questions, and do some hard-core Korean review work, but OTHER THAN THAT, I’m free to do what I like.

This is what I will do!

  1. I’ll go to San Diego on Saturday with some friends.  I’ve never been there, to my knowledge.
  2. I will go home on Sunday night.
  3. I will practice my violin! I was just invited to play in the orchestra’s final concert!! We will play Verdi’s Requiem.  It’s a long piece, just about an hour.  In all honesty though, requiems are just so sad.  And, when the singers hold the vowels for too long, the word gets lost in a loud chorus of aaaaahhhhh, ooooohhhhhhh, uuuuuuuuuuuuu…..Anyway.
  4. Plus, I have graduated from Vivaldi and now I’m back to Bach!
  5. I’m going to apply for a regular part-time job. Hopefully I’ll get paid.  Isn’t that the point of working?
  6. Write posts on the blog using the writing prompt book I got for Christmas.
  7. Hopefully not gain any weight…
  8. Probably going to sweep our kitchen floor.  I’ll bet it hasn’t been done since I came back to school in January.
  9. In that vein, find the hall bathroom very dirty and harangue my sister about it.
  10. Need to do something about getting a new recorder. Or a smartphone with the TE tuning app (aka smiley face tuner).  Or both.  Life is hard without a smartphone. And very hard without the voice recorder that isn’t already full.
  11. Print some pictures. From Costco.
  12. Make sure I’m registered to vote.  Yay!! I’m FINALLY old enough to vote in a presidential election!!! Whooo!!!!  I’ve waited a long time to do this.  However, with the presidential candidates being who they are, it looks like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place in terms of choices.
  13. Going back to Yosemite with ISF for the last three days of the break.

As you can see, I shouldn’t be bored.  And if I am, I can find something to read–maybe binge read the Ouran series again.  Or the Paddington books. Again. Or the All-Of-A-Kind family series.  Maybe even the Yotsuba&! series.

Or maybe, I’ll just spend the break making lists.


The other side…


I was talking to my friend today, who has already graduated and has been working for Boeing for almost two years now.  She was telling me that she really missed being a student, and that corporate America aside from salary wasn’t all it was cracked out to be. However, her exhortations fell on somewhat skeptical ears, because at this time, I am having a bit of bout with student life ennui.  Pascal Paraisot’s, “I’m Staying in Bed” would describe my feelings exactly.
“What use is it for me to wake up
today will be like yesterday.

I’m staying in bed
from today on
I’m staying in bed
Instead of opening my mailbox
to see that I never have mail
to find a job that pays
ten francs an hour and some peanuts”…
(originally French, translation credit:
If you’re interested the song is :
And quite frankly, I’m very disappointed with my classes this semester.  Asian Eats has turned out to be very boring. You would think that a class about food would be a lot of fun, but it’s really tedious, and the book we’re reading right now has certain agenda with which I don’t agree. Furthermore, the professor’s voice tends to make me sleepy (he’s like a bad librivox narrarator) and I’ve begun to fall back into the “staying up late and waking up early-ish out of necessity” habit that college students tend to maintain. All told, I’ve been caught dozing off in that class more than once.  Dialects of China is sort of more interesting, but there’s a lot of reading to keep up with. And the class is 2 hours and 45 minutes long…in the middle of the afternoon…Finally, to add to all that, I have ancient Asian history after that (for another 2 hours and 45 minutes) with an anthropology research specialist who somehow ended up in a teaching job.  That class kills me.  It’s worse than chemistry–chemistry was only 75 minutes long and I managed to make some friends in the class.  For this class, we keep moving around, so we always work with other people and never get to know them very well.  Thinking about this class makes me seriously have doubts about being an Asian studies major.
 I’ve also been filling in cover letters and internship applications and researching a lot of tourism consultancies/marketing agencies that specifically cater to tourism agencies. I really believe that applying to these things is more work than actually working.
At least I have my extra-curricular activities.  I’m doing Shotokan Karate, as well as playing the violin and taking lessons again, in addition to doing stuff with ISF. Plus I’ve been attending church. But having so many is also a reason for concern because it puts more commitment on my plate.  I make time to practice my violin, attend karate sessions three or four times per week, and ISF twice per week.
I am actually not sure that I would really miss student life all that much when I’m done, due to the fact that I finished middle school and moved on to high school and didn’t miss it, and now I’m in college and I don’t miss high school.  Plus, I firmly believe that if you’re doing life right, you can have a fulfilling post-grad life.  That’s what our professors say.  And isn’t the “after graduation” part of life the point of going to school? Well, that’s what I think.  Probably because my parents stressed that FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE COMES AFTER HIGHER EDUCATION.
Well, anyway, at this point, I do not want to think about grad school.  (And a Japanese MA student recently told me that a lot of people in liberal arts academia end up working part time for the rest of their careers because the fields are really saturated.)
We say the grass is always greener on the other side.  Maybe, maybe not.


So there is a reason that I didn’t major in science or engineering.  The reason was because I passed chemistry by the skin of my teeth, barely paid attention in Introductions to Physical Science, Force Motion, and Energy (remembered as IPS/FME), and only because dropping classes is nearly unheard of in homeschooling circles did I even finish biology.  My math skills were also not very strong.  But because high school is pretty much four years of required general ed, I finished everything, and gathered a small knowledge base of science.  One principle that I remembered (or, thought I remembered) was that sound waves are magnified over water. (I read that in a children’s book about a moose.)

Since my violin practice assignment was to practice scales with a tuning drone, I recorded about 5 minutes of a drone sound on my voice recorder (vr), because that tiny thing is a lot easier to carry around than my computer.  But then, because I wanted to make the sound bigger and I only had a wireless speaker that didn’t work, I decided to try to use water and a coffee cup to magnify the recorder sound.  I gathered some junk on my desk to balance the vr, and voila! Precariously, the vr lay top of the cup with water.  But since the sound change wasn’t as dramatic as I wanted, (and also I wasn’t sure how long the precarious balance would hold), I thought I’d move a few things to make a better arrangement.

You know the feeling you have when you’re about to do something clearly stupid? Well, I ignored this gut instinct and went ahead to do this experiment anyway, and I think you know what happened.

I had a couple of violin lessons on the recorder, as well as some dinner conversations and roommate conversations–data I was collecting for my conversation analysis class. I also recorded some of my violin practice sessions and other music to listen to while running.

I’ll be taking it to the electronic repair shop tonight, but since it’s so small, I’m kind of doubting that it can be fixed.  Now I have to start my data collection again.  And I’ve lost my recording of me playing the Vivaldi concerto with my teacher.

When things like this happen, I console myself with the thought that at least it makes a good story.  And since we are talking about storytelling in conversation analysis this week, I will have plenty to contribute, even without my data.

Conclusion: But really, don’t do stupid things.

Flavored Slang

So, a recent slang word that’s come to my attention is “salty”.  It is used to describe two things:

a) the state of mind you have when you lose a card game due to “playing nice”

b) the feeling you have when your younger sibling is smarter than you but is also lazier than you.

I find this very interesting.  We use the whole spectrum of taste to refer to our emotions and personality–bitter, sweet, sour, and now salty.  I wonder what kind of person or state of being that umami would refer to.

We really are what we eat.

I’ve had ten roommates!

Hi everyone!

So, the third week of school is over.  I just celebrated Chinese New Year with ISF.  I’m reading the full Ayodhyakanda of the Ramayana (or at least, making a good attempt.) And I’m also feeling a little guilty about not making any posts on this blog for about a whole month now.  I didn’t really have anything interesting to say. (But now I do.)

So, my last roommate gave me a sweatshirt that says “Cal State Long Beach ENGINEERING”  probably because she didn’t need five or however many she had (She had more than one.)

So I wore it, and then I was telling someone why I had a sweatshirt that said “ENGINEERING” on it.  Of course, I start by saying “My roommate…”

And even though not everyone knows who I’ve had for roommates, I feel kind of weird referring to all these different people by “my roommate”.  Because now I have to say “my old roommate” more often, and even I have to think for a moment about which one.

So, I was just thinking, how many roommates have I had? And then I started counting.  I’ve hit the double digits!  Primarily because while I lived abroad, I had more than one roommate per room, but still, I think this is kind of impressive.

In ten roommates, I’ve had eight friends, one not-friend-not-enemy, and one person-that-I-sincerely-hope-to-never-see-again.  I count myself lucky.

This is the first year that I’ve had a roommate the same age as me.  Until this year, I’ve always been the younger person.  I think having older roommates was good for me.  Due to their comparatively extensive experience and vastly different lives, I got to hear a lot of interesting stories and pick up advice–some sound, some only that.

I’ve met some other people who are living in homestays/renting rooms, and they don’t have roommates.  I’ve also met of people who live at home and people who don’t have siblings, and consequently, do not have roommates.  I feel sorry for them.  The social life scene peaks in college, and a roommate is an important part of that.  Having a compatible (good) roommate is like adding bay leaves to the homemade spaghetti sauce of your life–pleasantly seasoning, giving a well-rounded flavor. I think it’s also nice to have a friend who sees the worst part of you first–then, if they can live with that, you can seem like a really great person.

So, this is my  “Friendly Roommate Appreciate Post”.  Thanks for enriching my college life and me as a person.  And thanks for putting up with everything.  😀


Old habits…

So, for about six months, I’ve been having a bit of a sleeping problem.  Reasons that I thought of were irregularity, stress, bad caffeine management, lack of exercise bad sleep hygiene, having a night-owl roommate, or a combination.  (Actually, for the record, I probably have a “B” in sleep hygiene.  Not too terrible.)

Since I’ve been on winter break, I have a semi-regular schedule.  I haven’t been particularly stressed out about anything. I haven’t had a caffeinated drink in about three weeks.  I take walks on the trail behind our house. The people in my house tend to go to bed before midnight.  And I still end up going to sleep between 1 and 2 AM.  So I was getting kind of worried.

Well, I went to the doctor today to talk about it, and it turns out that actually have a bad habit that is affecting my sleep.  I’ve had this habit since before I started wearing glasses–in fact, I blame this habit for my wearing glasses at all.  I’m pretty certain that’s my longest-running habit ever. (My father disagrees.)  Guess what it is?

I read in bed before I sleep.  Doesn’t everyone? I mean, it’s a nice way to round out the day, and it gives you ideas to use while dreaming.  My doctor, on the other hand, believes that reading stimulates the mind and isn’t a good pre-bed activity.

When she told me “Do not read in bed.  Bed is only for sleeping”, my inner mind was like, “What! You have got to be kidding.”  But all I said was “Oh really? Oh, I see.”

I am absolutely positive it’s going to take more than 21 days to break this habit.


So, what about you? Do you have any bad habits that prevent you from sleeping? Write and tell me in the comments below! (Yeah, this is a vlogger move, but I thought I’d try it for kicks.)

Make sure to read the next installment, which will be whenever I have something interesting to say! (This is also a vlogger move.)