Monday, August 29, 2005

so i guess this is how it feels to be 23.

late now, and almost tumbling into that sweet, sweet slumber we all know, but as the 29th ends i'd like to just mark the momentousness of the day. and a long day it was, from waking up at 4:30am to hop on an early flight out of portland, into san francisco, and rolling back into boston like a familiar baked bean. the skies were holding in the rain as long as it could take it, and we definitely felt it when the clouds decided to asplode.

if the 8 hrs and 30 min of recycled-air airplaneness wasn't celebration enough, niknak took me out to a surprise dinner down in a lovely and unfamiliar section of boston. french bistro, ooh la la, and mad props to his keen perception on places i might have hinted that i've not yet tried yet have been dying to go. started off with moules dijonnaise, slurping the yummy mustardy white wine broth with vacant shells, and then (after successive bites of the addictive bread and butter) entrees of tuna three ways (grilled, seared, and tartare) and roasted duck breast (medium-rare, natch). secret birthday dessert appeared of insane chocolate walnut ice-cream atop a warm gooey dark brownie. chocolate sauce dribbles sent us over to cocao nirvana. i made a wish, and only time will tell if it comes true!

lots more to write later, about all the lovely ways my stay in portland finished up, but last night we all shared dinner at wong's king seafood restaurant, followed up by a delicious white chocolate cake topped with chocolate ganache and art deco birthday swirls by the infamous helen bernhard bakery. there was also a simultaneous birthday celebration in the restaurant, albeit on a significantly larger scale, so we got to witness some dragon dances and the parade of servers with unbelievable amounts of food with each successive and never-ending series of courses. ah, gotta love being chinese.

cheers to a prime. good night everyone.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

my head is reeling from good food. we just came back from dinner at pambiche, a wonderful little cuban place with sidewalk dining and to-die-for desserts. started off with maduros (fried plantains, coated with dark caramelised sweetness) with fantastic cabbage salad, and corn and chicken empanadas adorned with beets and roasted red peppers. niknak and i shared this awesome cuban stew loaded with chunks of yuca, and a plateful of stewed oxtail, with corn fritters on the side. south american beers (xingu + negra modelo) on the table, and we all shared a 'torte domino' for dessert, a chockablock of chocolate nutty, kahlua-soaked cake dusted with coconut and cream and topped with a white chocolate domino (with pips!). i wish i could have tried everything on the menu! i love cuban food, with its mix of fresh and meaty flavors. drop the lime, indeed.

we embarked this morning out to the salmon river area, where you can drive along and then poke down some trails to reach the water. the trail was relatively tame, and the forest itself was an amazing scene in which to traverse. the trees are immense and the ferns are lush, but my favorite element was the moss. it covers everything with a quiet, furry skin... it's as if the trees are all wearing their own sweaters! the low, extended branches looked as if the trees were offering a furry green corndog, or roasting their soft green marshmallows. everything looked so cozy, and nothing (in my opinion) is as happy as cozy trees.

after a bit of driving and hiking, we set out to lake trillium (yes, sounds like the nom of the instant messenger client, i thought that too) for a picnic. from the edge of the lake, mt. hood looms so crystal clear from the horizon. everything, from the air to the light to the water, is incredibly clean and bright. sandwiches and cheetos and farmstand-fresh strawberries (they were unbelievably sweet... take that, starmarket, ye of triple-headed tasteless mutantberries!) became our lunch, as inquisitive chipmunks surrounded us with their little striped selves.

we clamored up the mountain higher and higher until we reached timberline lodge, a fancy ski lodge perched on mt. hood right where the trees end and the snow begins (i.e. the 'timberline'). the view in both directions are majestic--the vista below (pictured here), and the immenent white peak above. apparently the movie 'the shining' was filmed at the lodge, and it's all very woody inside. i especially liked the woven dried leather chairs, which were creepy and fantastic at once. coincidentally, there's this humongous race going on called hood to coast in which runners complete a relay from the timberline lodge on mt. hood all the way to the pacific ocean. 200 miles! so, not only did we see a lot of trees, we also witnessed a gazillion runners with their silly decorated minivans, the waiting teams preparing up at the lodge and the ongoing teams running literally along the side of the highway.

should get some rest tonight since tomorrow will be a spectacular day at the oregon coast. scenic beach walks + a meal at the pelican brewery await. i'm so happy to be here.

Friday, August 26, 2005

photos from yesterday in downtown portland! captions pending, but enjoy using your imagination...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

heehee. *unbelievably bright-eyed and bushy tailed* i can't remember the last day i woke up at 6:30am on my own! must be the air here, or the subconscious knowledge of my body that i will have plenty of activities to do today. or, at the very least, have time before breakfast to blog my little desperate heart out...

speaking of breakfast, yesterday we were treated to a scrumptious cooked array of pancakes and [soy--hey, we're in oregon] sausages, with niknak doing his trademark mrs. butterworth thing and i being totally impressed with the morning implementation of an actual electric griddle in the kitchen. an entire appliance devoted solely to making pancakes! ah, luxury in action.

we packed up for the day, and set out east to the columbia river gorge. the plan was to stop by several of the very many scenic trails and waterfalls along the way; the weather was clear and sunny and dry, a downright paradise compared to the oppressive humidity back home. as we started driving along the gorge, i could see that the temperature outside was dropping rapidly, all the way down to 65 degrees! even in the car, the scenery passing by was beautiful, with the majesty of tree-filled mountains and the river by our side. mt. hood, the tallest mountain in oregon, loomed ahead in the distance.

first stop was the 'women's forum', which is an incongruous but probably sponsor-related name to a lookout point in which you can see clear down the river. washington state lies on the left of the water, oregon on the right. ta-da. look at the view! an incredible formation, and the river is just ridiculously blue. [quite refreshing after living so long on the charles...]

next we went up to crown point, which is a cute little round fortressy thing that sits right out on a protruding side of the mountain, and from which you can see the river in its lateral splendor. (women's forum, which looks out to the east, is more of a 'vertical' view.) the air was so fresh, and dare i say even a bit chilly, unbelievable during the heart of august. here's niknak and i, completely obliterating the beautiful vista with our very large heads, but you can try using your imagination. :) we also witnessed some other non-gorge spectacles, such as the gift shop (i feel immense sorrow for the pimply high-schoolers that work at the register and sell overpriced tchotckes, sullenly windowless in the stuffy basement), and the woman with the most bizarrely slit skirt. sight-seeing at any scope, indeed.

what followed was waterfall after waterfall, little stops right off the main road. the sites and hikes are state-protected and wonderfully maintained. i haven't been hiking in a while, so i realised along the way that (1) going uphill is awesome for your glutes, as i can very much attest, (2) i should have never have watched the episode of 'six feet under' where sarah's friend tumbles off the side of the cliff, (3) watching the water crash with millions (billions? trillions?) psi really gives you perspective on human control. every waterfall was impressive and tidily tucked behind a few hundred steps into the trees. there are about a gazillion (give or take a few) other waterfalls in the area, but those will have to wait for another day!

afterwards, we drove back into town and stopped by hawthorne street for lunch goodies. it's a funkyish strip of the city with lots of cute eateries, boutiques, and people. back to the city, and back to 90 degree weather. we walked by a few places, and i was immediately drawn to this place called 'bar pastiche', featuring lovely bite-sized tapas and handmade desserts. i would call it more 'small plates' rather than tapas, since the wares were more hors d'ouevre-y than spanish, but the selection was irresistible. everything from $1 blue cheese + green apple toastlets to $1.50 mini mousses. delight! niknak and i shared: toast with a perfectly cooked egg in the center hole, covered with black-edged ham and gooey cheese; a toasted square covered with fragrant mushrooms; three delectable green olives stuffed with blue cheese speared decorously on a toothpick; a roasted red pepper filled with delicate tuna salad; a cucumber and cream cheese sandwich with ridiculously fresh dill; finished off with a cinnamon-sugary churro with a tiny pot of luscious, melted bittersweet mexican chocolate. the interior was charming, sporting purple walls, antique mirrors, and test-tubed flowers. it reminded me of a victorian alchemist's boudoir. if my appetite weren't so absolutely satisfied, i would have sprung for a scoop of basil ice-cream. nik's mom was relishing her lavender flavor with candied mandarins in a cone. *sigh* such delight.

later than evening we relaxed a bit, had a 'take 'n' bake' pizza from papa murphy's (surprisingly good), and set out to not one, but two yarn stores in the area: the yarn garden, and mabel's knittery + cafe. not only were they cute and colorful, but open as late as 10pm and with adjoining areas with coffee, ice-cream, pastries, and beer. the yarn garden had a great library of books and patterns, and i fell in love with anna zilboorg's socks for sandals and clogs. i was initially drawn to the title because of its fashion faux-pas ("why would i ever wear socks with sandals??"), but the socks themselves were *amazing*. elaborate and colorful, definitely decorative in their own right. i didn't buy it since i thought i might be able to get it cheaper online, but actually it looks like it's relatively rare in the knitting publishing circle. i also drooled over the latest rowan book 38. hope they cleaned that up alright.

still taking notes in case i am crazy enough to actually open my own business down the line. portland wouldn't be the worst place to do it, either. :D

today, playing downtown and riding the public transit. did you know that the trolleys running downtown are *free*? crazy but it makes so much more sense. i will take lotsa pix and hopefully see much more cuteness. of course, the weather's clear, and that already puts me in a festive mood. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

hello, good morning.

traveling to the west coast does wonders to your schedule.... rise and shine, 7:15am PST!

touched down yesterday afternoon at pdx and have gotten relatively comfy. the parents are great and the upgraded first-class flight yesterday deserves its own post, but for now, the proclamation of the moment is...

i finished a sock!

mind you, that's sock in the singular sense, and it is the farthest thing from perfection you ever did see, but looky, isn't it *adorable*? [insert kawaii expression here]

here it is, basking in the glory of the foot. i managed to do the entire heel and instep on the plane, and finished up the 3" (!) toe last night. wondrous discovery that DBF's mother does a lot of crafting on her own, especially quilting, and more recently, knitting! (which means, of course, portland yarn store raidings! luckily, here they serve tasty libations along with the purveyed goods... stitch and sip, indeed...) so last night in the den it was a frame out of some tv movie, with the two women knitting (her on a baby blanket, me on a sock), the young man reading, and the father fiddling with the video camcorder. so classic.

anyway, back to the sock. here are the details:
  • yarn: mountain colors bearfoot in flathead cherry (the red gets me going)
  • needles: size 3 dpn (i knit tightly, although i fear my gauge was sliiiiightly too loose! i only own size 1 and size 3 needles... anyone with a set of size 2 dpn they could proffer to a new sock fanatic? ^_^)
  • pattern: rib and cable socks by nancy bush, interweave knits fall 2005
  • time: not that long. honestly, do i ever keep track? however, probably not more than 8-10 hours for the first sock.
  • sock addiction score: sky-high.
by the way, i am a total cable fiend, so these were a perfect first sock project. i am also particularly proud of the fact that i managed to do it without using cable needles, which more often than not can be a pain; perhaps the last thing i want to do while holding four small needles is hold another one.

more photos below! i can tell the heel and toe in the pattern are quite unorthodox, as far as i can tell. i never had to do a kitchener stitch (the toe is closed by merely pulling the yarn through the last remaining six stitches), and i didn't have to use scrap yarn on the heel. the 'heel flap' features the decorative ribs going down the back of the foot, which is pretty awesome, though for some reason--either the pattern, or my slightly-off gauge--the bottom of the heel is sort of loose in comparison to the rest of the well-fitting sock (yay for ribs), but it's kind of comfy in the padded-heel kind of way. you do this heel flap, and then pick up stitches along the sides to finish up the foot.

also, since i was cruising on the plane and didnt really have room to try on my sock while i was knitting, i overshot about an inch on the foot and later, realised that i couldnt live with an extra inch. why knit socks if they're going to be saggy? (why, indeed.) therefore, i had to do the ultra-scary thing of frogging completely live stitches, and praying that i wouldnt lose any teeny-tiny loops. i held my breath and reclaimed the stitches super-slowly, and was on the whole successful. still scary, but definitely doable. luckily, definitely gave me more confidence to rip out work in the future.

anyway, i love my sock. #2 should be finished on the way back, i assume. and then the twain shall meet!

p.s. pancakes for breakfast! mmm...
p.p.s. oregonian wilderness for the day! mmm...

Monday, August 22, 2005

okay, so i realise that blog equates to a web log, which implies that one writes on a daily basis to keep one's logs in a maintained and comprehensive condition. a written record, a lively journal, and outpouring of in-the-moment thoughts and ever-dynamic activities and events.

ha. ha.

i feel like i'm wasting the self-publishing privileges of our interwebbed (that's for niknak!) era, as it slips away from underneath my nose, the aluminum keys of my powerbook mocking me with their gleaming, blogging-finger-oil-less surfaces. oh, how they mock.

to my credit, there exists a balance between living your life and writing about your life, and this last week has been no exception. so much happens that it sometimes feels exhausting to re-experience it again in authoring, broadcasting mode.

here's the past week in blitzbliublog mode, served to you like tiny plates of typographic tapas. pour yourself a sangria and let's get started:

on the domestic front, it's been an ambitious start to transform an old-but-new 4-bedroom apartment into an actual home. after the whole ikea adventure, the they-never-show-you-that-in-the-catalog DIY assembly of all the stuff created an instant bonding exercise as my fellow roommates and i sweat and screwdrove and slid lots of heavy particleboard around. we had the pleasantries of assigning chore schedules and kitchen-cleaning, and on saturday we managed to do some home improvement, mounting a towel bar and toilet-paper roll holder in the bathroom (it is absolutely mindboggling to imagine how the previous tenants survived without a toilet-paper roll holder for at least two years), and some cute ikea hook-and-rail systems in the kitchen. i am especially proud of the lime-green yarn i tied to the papertowel holder over the sink. i also assembled the $2.99 wine-bottle rack from ikea, a completely shoddy constructed piece of sloppily cut scrapwood, but it actually turns out to be a cute design, so it's cool if you squint and let the ill-fitting joints magically turn into right angles.

on the sigtronica front, last week i had the pleasure of interviewing morgan packard of microcosm music. head over to the sigtronica site to hear the archive of the show and bask in the wonderful music and interview near the end, but what's remarkable about this whole incident was that i got to meet morgan's wife, named (you ready for this?) christine liu. yeap. i was completely awestruck when i discovered that. morgan wrote in his introductory email: "ps -- I have a good friend (well, actually my wife) named christine liu. It's a good name." what's even more eerily coincidental is that she goes by a nickname, crissy. my nickname is chrissy, and i know the 'h' stands in the way, but still. both of them were great sports during sigtronica, and she in particular was superfriendly and bubbly and witty. she gives us christine lius a good name!

on the media+technology front, last friday night i made it out to the MASS MEDIA exhibit ataxiom art, one of those new gallery spaces that i've been meaning to visit but have been relectant to because i despise the green line. (yes, my disdain doth dwells that deeply.) however, i had orkan (new smg blood, mmm) by my side, which distracted me from the plump boston coeds and the erratic stop-and-gos of the train. the exhibit space was impressive (if not a little hot and stuffy), and there was a proponderance of video-based art. it was mostly hit-and-miss, with more on the miss end of the scale, but i probably needed to spend more time there to really 'understand' 'the' 'art.' however, i will definitely be back, since the scene in boston needs all the cultivation it can get. i am particularly looking forward to the 'art cake' event, where you basically build anything and then eat it. sounds like utter splendor, especially if you can incorporate a diode in there somewhere.

after that, we swung over to unlockedgroove's performance at art interactive in central square. met up with fellow medialabbies, and nodded our heads to the incessant breakbeat mediated by the dj in the corner. i mostly wanted to see the audiopad in person, james patten's tangible interfacing dj'ing darling. i have photos and videos to show, but everything's still packed up in uhaul boxes at my place so i still can't find my usb camera hookup. anyway, it was definite eye candy for about five minutes, but there was minimal if not any audio feedback (as far as i could tell). the spinning colorful circles are a hypnotic, attractive component of the UI, but it was difficult to comprehend much beyond that. but yes! i can now proudly say i've experienced the audiopad! it is pretty cool in theory. :) and in practice, for sure, except next time i would like to have a hand playing with it myself...

on the eating front, saturday night featured another unbelievably over-the-top dinner party at a.z.'s cushy pad. appetizers featured stuffed eggplant, marinated mushrooms, and herbed brussel sprouts; we feasted on onion tarts stuffed with goat cheese and mushrooms; and hedonised on grand marnier + valrhona chocolate pudding. excellent wine on top of that, too. infuses me once again to have a dinner party at my place supersoon, especially with my large new dining space! (hear that, s-p?)

on the eating front part 2, niknak and i ventured to zoe's in somerville for a shanghainese lunch. we got the hottest thing on the menu (helpfully marked with not one, but two, spicy icons), the spicy beef with vegetables, plus lion's head casserole (scary! just kidding, it's just pork), chive pie, and a long fried cruller soaked in bowls of salty, seaweeded soymilk. so yummy, so yummy. i should really go to zoe's more often... there's usually no one else there (these people don't know what they're missing), the service is really good (the waitress says "you're welcome" when you say "thank you"), and everything's super-authentic. my shanghainese mommy would be proud, and then feed me another bite of soft rice noodles.

on the six feet under obsession front, niknak and i tearfully (well, at least i wiped my eyes) watched the series finale. i have only gotten hooked this last season, but nick, who had been watching this faithfully from 2001, was saddened to see the series end. or more like, "what am i going to watch now?" but yes, six feet under is seriously quality. i feel a particular affinity to claire's character, since she's about my age and sort of dealing with lifeish dilemmas (especially in the "am i good enough to be an artist?" questions, kinda impulsive and headstrong but often lashing out when particularly overwhelmed or insecure. i loved the ending, it really gave me hope. we all will die, one day, someday (scary!), but between now and then, we just do what we can and be happy in all of it. which is not so scary.

on the knitting front, i've done part of a secret project, but i think i will frrrrrog it tonight since it's about an inch too narrow. gauge really doesn't work unless you do it in the stitch pattern you plan to do in, does it? ha! the socks are looking cute (though i haven't touched them in the last week), i've finished the leg part of one of them, and will hopefully complete them over the week. kinda poking along on the ballet pullover, but i'm almost done the body part. i'm still obsessing about yarn; i espied the most beautiful shade of 'anne' at LYS by schaefer yarn, with an honest-to-goodness streak of chartreuse running through bright greens and blues. i promised myself i would wait until i finish my pair of socks first! amazing how your rationality flies out the door when you see something chartreuse.

on the traveling front, i will be heading out to portland, OR (the home of many things, including the original package house, of course) with niknak. why portland? you may ask. ahh, because mama and papa of niknak live there! i will be meeting them for the first time, so i'm very excited, and hope they find me agreeable as their niknak's little liucubed. heehee.

i'll be leaving tomorrow and getting back next monday, the 29th, i.e. my birthday! i'll be turning 23, an oh-so-prime age. (something i won't experience for another six years, so i better like it!) i remember growing up with an august birthday was kinda different... you never did the whole cupcakes-in-the-classroom thing since school wasn't in session, but i always without fail hosted a pool party at the local swimming pool. bathing suits versus botched frosting. you can tell who had more fun.

bon voyage everyone! sweet days await.

p.s. three links that help me get through the day: you knit what (which is a tidy little complement to my other mainstay, go fug yourself), overheard in new york (the slate article on this site takes the cake), and I.D. magazine (can you guess why? here's a hint).

Monday, August 15, 2005

the worst is over, but there's still much more to come.

within the last 72 hours, i have solidified all my material possessions into discrete units, namely [cardboard boxes] [plastic bags] [unbelievably awkward chairs and lamps]; hauled said possessions from old place into new place with a couple pairs of strong-armed companions on the most miserably humid day of the year; and drove to the takes-3-hours-to-get-there IKEA to peruse swedish impulse items and purchase about one month's rent's worth of birch veneered particleboard.

now i'm 99.999% done with transporting everything from A to B, but now i have a roomful of disorganisation in my newly adopted home sweet home. my bare, $50-from-craigslist-posting bed is particularly unhospitable at its current state, covered with everything imaginable starting with the letter m, and i can barely see the floorboards beneath the healthy abundance of crisp corrugation. i can't wait to start building stuff so i can put stuff with stuff and clean up my stuff that's sitting underneath the other stuff. ai ya.

going to IKEA is always an exhilaration and a half, but it's especially surreal when you have a limited but workable budget (i.e. you can choose between buying an insane amount of cheap stuff or purchasing a few higher-quality items), limited schedule (due to poor car-obtaining-planning on my part, we were only there for *three* hours... which becomes even more exciting when you quickly realise it takes half an hour alone to walk from one corner of the building to the other...), and the smell of cinnamon lingering in the air as you peruse the home lighting area one more time "just to browse." i managed to get all the basics, stuff that dorms furnish and of which i have none, plus a fantastically expensive but lovable wardrobe that will compensate for my closet-less room. i proudly resisted all urges to get yet another cute, colorful ice cube tray, and made the mature stand to invest in higher-quality finishes. i learned the difference between birch effect and birch veneer (the former is completely artificial while the latter is laid with actual wood layers).

of course i could have just outfitted my room with $10 random furnishings from moving sales and things, but i suppose i put a premium on my personal environmental aesthetics. plus, i really need more work on integrating different styles that are independently attractive but look strange with undiscretionary combination: monochrome colored geometric, wood geometric, wood traditional, glass and steel, industrial, playful plastic, lush textures, organic silhouettes...

last friday night, before all this madness, niknak and i went to PA's lounge in union square to scope out the scene, featuring performances by keith fullerton whitman (layered noise via knobbox, powerbook, and guitar-esque strummable instrument), colleen (a one-woman orchestra through artful samplings and loopings on cello, guitar, music box, and keyboarded recorder), and a hawk and a hacksaw (inventful and talented rock/polka/gypsy duo, complete with cowbell-round-the-knee and incredible accordion and fiddle playing punctuated by a hearty "heyyyyy!" on occasion). the show was put on by critique of pure reason, a project i later realised is produced by stacie slotnick, fellow media lab and wmbr comrade. yay stacie! it was a great venue, less uppity and pretentious like central square is really coming to be, and hopefully we'll be able to make the future shows up in union square.

i now am sooooo close to the zeitgeist and to ryles! and a much shorter walk to PAs, not to mention a bucketful of homey korean joints and taqueria la mexicana. mmmm.

september outlook: sigur ros at the boston opera house on 9.15, royksopp at paradise rock club on 9.22, and beck at bank of america pavilion on 9.29. the horizon hasn't looked this fantastic since i saw bjork and tori amos within the same week in boston four years ago.

Monday, August 08, 2005

oh yes, never to forget, i have a thousand blog-entry-worths of verbiage in regard to the siggraph cyberfashion show from last week, but if you're unaware, here's the coverage:

  • the listing of some model names are a nice touch
  • NPR
  • don't forget to listen to the audio clip, it's priceless
  • engadget
  • where "it's japanese..." once again answers the question "what? why?"
  • boingboing
  • good democratic blog-esque coverage
  • jonah's coin-operated
  • yes! reference to the matrix zion party!
  • feature on the japanese reporter coat (pink!)
for some background info, read:
  • NBC
  • lists and explains some of the works
  • CYFASH via psymbiote
  • with pics and links
in the interest of time and decorum, i shall let the pictures speak for themselves. however, i must say it was useful in putting a clearer perspective on seamless and 21f within the current clothing-technology realm. very useful.

reykjavik, how i miss thee!

the where they went article on the icelandic trip niknak and i took back in spring break was finally published yesterday in the boston globe: read about our trip

hands-down my favorite quote in the piece:

"I love food in general," said Liu. "And foreign food written in Icelandic is irresistible."

in an unrelated bit of liucubed news, yesterday was spent packing up my apartment for sunnier climes (where sunnier means a different area of cambridge that isn't owned by harvard or mit) and doing my best not to hate everything about the process: cleaning out sticky items from the fridge, puzzle-fitting fragile objects, and combing through once-sentimental items that were clearly meant to be hidden from sight forever. i did spot an icelandair ticket stub and reminisced about elves for a lovely moment. then the moment passed, and i resumed cramming my precious possessions with fervor.

i finally found a bed: $50 on craigslist for a full-size mattress/boxspring/frame combo. the price is great, and the mattress is sleepable... however, i got a zipcar yesterday to carry the thing from woburn to cambridge. the honda element seemed roomy enough for hauling such bulky items like mattresses, sofas, and the occasional small elephant, but once we got to the house to retrieve the bed, we knew we were doomed. the element seemed perfectly designed to not fit a bed by a mere half of an inch, no matter how hard we tried. when push came to shove (har), with a little rope thrown in, it was definitely going to be dangerous with a boxspring strapped unsecurely to the top of the vehicle. [especially with my driving.] so we'll have to make a second trip with a larger vehicle, perhaps the u-haul cargo van.

times like these make me seem that achieving something like this is a million intermediate steps away. sigh.

also, i would much, much rather borrow some generous soul's van or something than rent a u-haul for moving my stuff across town. if anyone knows anyone that can help me out this week, it'd be a total godsend. in any case, i see a uhaul/van IKEA expedition in the near future... hello to cinnamon buns, dropped jaws, and umlauts! and also some furniture for yours truly.

knitting news: on hold; the magnetic tape capelet mellowed me out of the mood for a bit.

happy news: i will finally be able to visit the world-famous powell's books very, very soon. :) and shop for indie wares and lounge with the hipsters. and also do some serious family introductions...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

i have personally been touched by the magic of imaginail. cmliu bling, behold.

on the left are the fingernails of diana adorned with selective croppings from nicoline patricia's sakura on pixelgirlpresents, and then my own pixelised face (courtesy of dbdbking) staring back at me ten-fold.

the process was pretty time- and human-effort-intensive, despite the computerised application of the actual design. there were three preliminary coats before even sticking your fingers into the printer... the first was a base coat (to smooth out the nail surface evenly, i imagine, though with my amateur abilities the layer might have become even more bumpy), the second was a highly opaque white or nude layer that is UV reflective (used in the computer imaging step), and the third was a water-soluble solution applied to the nails and surrounding skin to ensure that any ink that got on the skin would be easily washed off. each of these coats had to be hand-applied and air-dried between each step. a definite lesson in that beauty requires patience.

after that, you place your fingers in succession (four on your left, both your thumbs, and then four on your right) into the machine, which images the position of your nails by reading the UV-reflective areas of polish. therefore, whether you have small nails or honkin' 3-inch acrylics, the machine resizes the design to fit. there are a bunch of already-installed designs (from french lace to sistine chapel to easter chicks to elvis portraits; i liked the one that said "SPANISH QUEEN" with stripes), or you can pop in a USB jumpdrive or a CD-R with your own design on it in jpg form. it's just a normal color inkjet printer inside... a lexmark! sometimes you can practically feel the nozzles whizzing by your hands...

then after that's all done, you must wait for the ink to dry, and *then* (can we say five layers of unnatural chemicals on your nails?) one last topcoat to ensure your nails stay preserved for longevity.

this whole process takes about an hour, a stinky, messy, tedious process. however, i have to say that our nails did get intensely noticed by the checkout lady in walgreens (she seemed disappointed that we didn't know of anyplace local that had the nail printing machine, though she did correctly guess that i was a masters student!), and the people serving us at KFC. (yes, i went all the way to LA to eat at KFC.) but i wish technology were a little more advanced... why can't it apply the base coats automatically? and it's still smelly. and my super $3000 nails are chipping like crazy, like usual. it reminds me why i havent used polish since highschool... does it look like i have time to touchup my nails? *laughs haughtily while promptly diving into a long, long nap*

i think the imaginail is similar, if not the same, to the 'japanese schoolgirl watch' feature in this month's WIRED magazine. here's the article. see for yourself.

yay, we're just as cool as kogal! ^_^

Monday, August 01, 2005

last night, 'inspired' in a way, diana and i were driven to create an original contribution to the fashion show. the 24 hr walgreens, thai takeout, and 2 liters of diet coke gave way to our til-4am party of knitting miles of magnetic audio and video tape. the goal was to create a slinky, elegant piece of eveningwear, crafted of technological artifacts and creative construction. pictures are forthcoming, but i must say that a 90 min tape has amazing yardage.

it was good to explore the emerging technologies, art gallery, and poster exhibition today, in the downstairs cavern of the convention center. so much to tell, but i got photos. the most inspiring thing was this musical interface that was a 16x16 LED matrix of squishy buttons. so engaging and visually beautiful. stay tuned.

i finally met katherine moriwaki! yippee. she, along with jonah, were hosting the DIY wearables workshop in the guerilla studio, where they had a lot of second-hand garments, fabrics, and passive components to play around with and create. she's super friendly and has a great approach to computational clothing... the workshop served as a creative process, making it accessible to everyone. i am in the midst of sewing up my g.loves, but i'm so proud of my construction. i took a long, bulky, cable-knit scarf, and a short-sleeved wool abercrombie sweater (accidentally machined-washed, it seemed, so slightly felted) and made 2 pairs of matching gloves. they are so cute!! probably not the most durable things, after jamming the sewing machine with the bulky knit and then relegating myself to hand-sewing, but nonetheless adorable.

the days are exhausting, but we're surviving. two more days until the show...