My Thoughts on Happiness

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coverMy sophomore year of college, after I turned in an assignment where I “defined happiness,” Professor Ellis told me that I had the most profound grip on “true happiness” of anyone she’d ever met. Before I re-read that paper, which I was able to dig up on dust covered file in my laptop’s hard drive, I wanted to describe what I think of happiness now. I’ll attach my old paper at the end, to see how much my views have changed in the past 5 years. The moment she told me, however, is something I will never forget.

thanksgiving-turkey-clip-art-569466I’ve been told that I’m “too happy” more times than I can count. People have even asked me what was wrong simply because I wasn’t smiling! I’ve been accused of being fake, pretending to be happy when I’m not, but anyone who really gets to know me, and knows me long enough, knows the truth (even though some of them probably do think I’m just too happy). I’m a genuinely happy person. Randomly funny story: when a good friend of mine’s dad met me for the first time (this past Thanksgiving), he told her that he thought I was a fake person because I was too happy. The next time he met me was on a less joyous occasion, a memorial service. The next day, he talked to my friend and told her how amazed he was that I was actually just that happy of a person. Later that day when she called me and told me about it, my face hurt from laughing, even though it was a relief to hear.

hedonic-treadmillSo, why am I so happy? If you read my last post, it’s definitely not because everything in my life is stress free and easy. I’d say I live a pretty average life, not terrible, but I wasn’t born with a silver spoon. The way I like to explain it is that happiness is a lifestyle choice. We can’t all be happy all the time, but we can choose how happy, or not so happy, a memory is. Everything in life is a learning experience. Failures are one of the best ways to improve, but only if you let them be. In one of my psychology classes, we were taught about the Hedonic Treadmill. What I go from this is that there is no one thing that will make you happy forever, no matter how badly you want it. People, for the most part, have a stable level of happiness, really crappy and really amazing things will only affect your happiness for a relatively short while.

happiness-1I wondered if I could increase my “base” happiness. I thought of all the things that regularly upset me. Things like: worrying about what others thought of me, stressing about failure, or things that haven’t happened yet, but might. I even considered why I had such negative thoughts and feelings about old friendships or relationships that had long since ended. I realized that I, like many people, tended to focus on the things that were going wrong. We’re conditioned to end conversations when we ask someone how they’re doing and they reply, “good.” On the flip side, if someone replies, “oh, not so great,” we’re curious. Then I started to think about things that made me happy. At first it was a lot of superficial things: Money, good food, new technology. Then it progressed to the simple things like going out with friends, smiling at others, holding the door for strangers. I made it a goal to make at least one other person smile every day and learned happiness really is contagious.

choiceBut we’re getting a little far from the topic of happiness as a choice. One of the best examples of a choice I had to create a good memory or taint old memories with a bitter flavor, was when a great friend of mine decided he didn’t want to talk to me anymore. It sucked. I wrote poems, cried, wrote more poems, cried more, cried to my friends while crying. The easy thing would have been to blame him; convince myself that he was a rude person who had it out to hurt me all along, but I didn’t, and still don’t believe that. Instead, I remembered all the great memories and amazing times we shared. I think of him whenever I say “it takes two” because he’d always say that when we were up chatting until dawn. I missed him, I still miss him. It was what I needed at the time though. I still try to convince myself it was for the best that we went our separate ways, and maybe sometime in the future our paths may cross again, or maybe not. What I do know is that I’ll always be grateful of the effort I took to keep my memories as good ones

Silver LiningTo an extent, I’m doing this every day; making an effort to focus on the positive things in my day, week, month, rather than the negative. Some days it works better than others. We can’t always be happy. There are other emotions that are important to help us learn, grow, and be human. But as long as we can believe there is a silver lining with the bad, some lesson to be learned or someone new to grow closer with. If we can hold onto that silver thread, it’s my belief that we can use it to better embrace, appreciate, and enjoy the happy moments when they arrive. Or maybe, help us to see the happy moments we would have missed before.

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the-immortal-life1As promised, here’s my old essay! I just read it and I do remember that in this assignment we were required to tie in our “common read book” which was a book that the entire campus was supposed to read. My sophomore year, it was a book called “The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks.” It wasn’t really my cup of tea, but I did know some who liked it.

9/8/2010

Define Happiness

            Happiness can be defined differently for everybody. I think that’s why I want to write about it. For some happiness is related to religion, for others its family. Some find happiness in things I will never understand. Maybe where I find happiness will not make sense to some people, but that’s what makes it special. It is important to me to find happiness in the little things life gives, if you ignore them, or dwell on the bad, how can you be happy? I danced around the apartment when I found out my internet worked after a week of none. Or when I finally beat a game I’d been working at for a while. It seems weather its waking up to Mario alarms or finishing a 1000 piece puzzle, I realized if I focus on the little things that make me smile, my whole day seems just that much brighter.

But can little things alone bring true happiness?  I don’t want to say no, but I think without reaching some longtime goals, the excitement of the little things would begin to dry out. Maybe not all at once, simple everyday positive events may not bring as much joy as they would before. So what brings me happiness in the long run? To me happiness is my stories. I love writing fiction stories. I don’t think much could make me happier than to get one of my stories published. Currently I am working on a 400 (approximate) page story and I hope to be finished with it by Christmas time. Once it is completely written I know I will be more than just excited, it will be the first step on a journey I hope will last me the rest of my life. Not the one story, I hope I am completely finished with that within the next few years, but I hope this may kick-start a career in writing. I will be very excited once it is edited the first time, hopefully that will be finished by the end of 2011 then I get to search for a publishing company. If it gets published I think the first thing I would do is go to a bookstore and look at it on a shelf and that would be true happiness for me.

In a way I guess to me happiness is dreaming. Something that I hope may happen that possibly never will. I hope to get a book published, I hope to have a book signing, and I hope at that book signing multiple people show up. I think happiness to me would be maybe sitting at a bus stop next to a person reading a book and just having a conversation with them about it. Maybe they wouldn’t know who I was and I would get a truly honest opinion of the story. That would be very exciting.

What exactly is happiness? It’s anything that makes you want to smile, anything that gives you that funny feeling in your stomach that fills you with excitement.  Whatever makes you want to dance in the rain, whatever makes you want to give a stranger a hug. Happiness is not something you can measure, but it is contagious. If you are happy it is more likely for the people around you to be happy. For some wealth brings them happiness, however one can be penniless and happy, so money is not happiness.

To me, there is little in life more important than happiness. Why hold back being happy when happiness comes your way? If you only live life once, why not make the best of it? Why not make it a happy experience. You cannot expect everything to fall on your lap and for everything to automatically go your way, but if something nice happens to come your way, why not let it? And if you don’t ever have fun in this life, how would you expect to have fun in the next, if there is a next. Or how would you expect to be happy when happiness comes your way if you just look the other way and ignore its offers? Maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way to some, but to me, it’s how I want to see it. It’s how I feel my life is better lived, smiling at everything that makes me want to smile. And laugh when I find something funny.

In contrast to happiness we look into the Lacks family. They are a family that has few things to be happy about. Henrietta Lacks was tortured and killed for her cells to further scientific studies and make scientists a lot of money, yet they were very poor and never saw a penny of it. Even still, members of the Lacks family feel pride for what Henrietta did for science. I think the only spot in this story with real happiness is for the scientists. They benefited a lot from what happened to Henrietta Lacks and the survival for her cells. The created vaccines, found out how cells would react in space and overall saved a lot of lives. Peoples whose lives were saved are too many to be mentioned within the pages of the book. I believe all of those people in a way are thankful for the research and happy that they were able to survive. The idea of happiness is everywhere, but sometimes it isn’t positive. Sometimes it is the lack of happiness that a story revolves around. In fact, for some reason it seems most ‘good’ stories are ones that the majority of the story is chasing happiness.

Henrietta Lacks’ story is one where she was unable to find much happiness. She was taken advantage of by doctors and scientists. They destroyed her life and gave her family no compensation. However, how can you really compensate someone for destroying the life of a loved one? I would say that the least the scientific community could do for the Lacks family is allow them to afford to see a doctor. In the prologue, a member of the family states that they do not understand how although their mom has done so much for the scientific community, they cannot afford a doctor. Henrietta Lacks and her family’s story seem to have an extreme lack of happiness to their story. They do not have money, they grew up without a mother, when they did have a mother she was being tortured by medical professionals, and they were being tested by medical professionals without knowing why. There are more reasons their story is one of sorrow and unhappiness, however I have not read enough of the book yet to know exactly what else went bad with this family.

 

Hmm, looks like my overall idea on happiness hasn’t changed much!

Story of My Life #2 – Mother, Money, Men, Marketing, and Medicine

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Last time I touched base was in November of 2015. A lot has happened since then, so let’s begin at the beginning (of 2016).

amri-to-lay-off-62-in-closing-of-uk-manufacturing-facilityMid-January, the company I worked for, Little Orbit, announced to us that they were very likely going to be closing their doors as they had been unable to secure any new contracts for games in 2016. This was a bummer as I’d been with the company for 3 years, but not unexpected. I think all, or at least most of us, saw it coming. Especially once they started to lay-off producers.

friend_zone_by_pork_n_beansNear the end of January, as work had been very scarce and I wasn’t expecting the company to make it to February, I decided to book a trip to Colorado to visit a friend. Admittedly, I had/have a crush on this guy for the past year or so, but with me living in California and him recently moving halfway across the country, it wasn’t meant to be. At first, when I visited, I was pretty disappointed to find out that he really didn’t feel the same about me, he really only saw us as good friends. Ouch, friend zone’d but at least I finally got an answer and could move forward. We hung out and the trip overall was fun, aside from me trying to cope with being rejected. I like to believe that there’s a bright side to everything. It took me until about yesterday to realize that the bright side to this is that I’m actually finally getting over him. He’s a really good person, so I think being friends with him will be easy, considering that’s really all we ever were. I’m slowly starting to realize that staying friends with someone you’ve dated is a fairy-tale we tell ourselves to make the initial break easier, but that’s a thought for another time.

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I don’t have any actual pictures of Charizard, but this is about how he looked.

Meanwhile, back at home, my mom’s car needed repairs, and since I left my keys for my parents to move my car during street sweeping, she decided she would borrow Charizard, my lovely 2000 Honda Civic who a friend of mine described his color as being, “if gold and tan had an ugly baby…” thanks Andrew! Anyway, Charizard, like most older cars, needed a little extra TLC, so before I drove it I made sure to check the coolant and the oil levels, as the car ate through coolant like a kid goes through Halloween candy if you don’t hide it (or use the same hiding place every year, kids are crafty). Long story short, while she was driving it to work, she blew a head gasket, and for those of you who are like me and not too privy to car jargon, that’s pretty-much a death sentence for your engine, yay.

otaszvny164So, mid-February I return from my trip and my dad lets me know my check engine light is on and that I have to go take my car in. This is the first I’m hearing of this and I found out the incident was from a week prior, so I’m a bit peeved. The repair shop tells me the bad news while I’m out at a restaurant with my friend telling her the sob story of my rejection in Colorado (over our favorite $2 Margarita Mondays @Aculpulco) followed by the death of my car, this was not how I wanted to start the new year. I lost the guy I liked, I lost my car (Charizard, may he rest in peace), and around the time I got back home, I got a call from Little Orbit telling me that the company was officially closing and that I was being laid-off. So I was now, officially, among the ranks of the unemployed. Oh joy!

20160215_183003On the bright side, I was at the bottom and it really can’t get worse, right? Wrong! So my mom decided that her breaking my car wasn’t her fault even though she hadn’t asked or notified me that she was borrowing my car so I could let her know to check the coolant (which was low and there was coolant in the trunk), and since the car “would have broken anyway” she decided that she wasn’t responsible for fixing or replacing it. Now I had to try to find a used car with no job. I was able to convince my dad to co-sign with me, making a deal that he would help on the monthly payments until I got a job, then I would take full responsibility. He agreed and we found Ruby, my burgundy 2008 Honda Civic. I’m not terribly thrilled that I have to drive an automatic now, but it was under $10k so I can’t complain too much.

broke-monopoly-july-27Finally I a little reprieve in March, since my dad was going to help with the car! I was feeling pretty good. I sold my old car and got a whopping $1k for it, way more than expected. Things were finally turning up! I deposited the money and felt a little more comfortable with my financial situation. Maybe a week later, something weird happened. I went to check my bank statement and I was -$500 and terribly confused. I went through everything with the bank and found out I had over $1000 in charges, from the past week or so, for not having enough money in the bank? I honestly didn’t even realize that was a thing, as I was told my bank account was ‘free’. Serves me right for thinking anything was free. I was able to reverse enough of the charges to get myself to come out even with the bank and I immediately closed my account, not wanting to be charged more for being broke. I’m guessing it was the stress of the situation, or something, because that night I began feeling feverish and extremely sick when my mom decided that my parents weren’t going to help with my car payments… awesome.

high-fever-sodaheadAt first I thought it was just stress, but I woke up the next morning with a 101.4 F fever and decided I should probably go to the doctor. I honestly didn’t even know adults got fevers. I really don’t get sick much, and as far as I could remember my parents never had fevers when they got sick when I was young so it just never occurred to me. Since it was caught in the first 24 or 48 hours or something like that, they gave me an anti-viral which seemed to help, after I was confined to my bed for, what felt like forever but was only about 5 days.

Mid-March, my unemployment check comes in and I’m able to make my car payment, thank goodness (even though the automatic payment isn’t working to my checking, I’ll have to fix that)! I’ve also put a pause on my student loan payment so I’m feeling pretty secure with money, for the time being. I’m pretty much over my flu and I met an awesome lady at the unemployment office who invited me to a marketing seminar in Los Angeles. Everything’s starting to look up!

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Glenn Morshower (Recently featured on the TV Show Supergirl) and Me

The seminar turned out to be more like an infomercial the first day I went, Thursday, and I almost didn’t go back, but I was glad that I did. The next day, not only did I learn some great tips that I’m going to keep in mind when I try to publish my non-existent books, but I met some cool people and there was a fairly well-known actor there who had a lot of fun games and some amazing insights to share. I felt like I gained a lot from the experience as a whole, (plus a few people told me they liked my singing, always a great feeling).

what-to-do-for-sore-throatTurned out, I got a little more from the seminar than I expected. Come Tuesday, I’m back at the doctors, this time the diagnosis is strep throat. Word of advice:  when I looked up home remedies for strep because I really couldn’t eat anything, solid or liquid, I found gargling with cayenne pepper water helps, it just hurts, didn’t even make it so I could eat dinner, and it tasted gross. I do not recommend.

I think we’re now about all caught up with my life! Oh also I really don’t know what kind of job I’m looking for. I’ve been applying on everything from marketing to associate producer, to PR, to technical writing and even thinking of going back to tutoring. To be honest, I’ve even started to try to learn guitar so I can be a busker, or street performer, mostly because I love singing! I feel like I have this great opportunity to find an amazing job, I just don’t know where to look. Ultimately I want to be a writer, but if you have any suggestions please let me know in the comments!career-ideas

Dream Log Entry #3 – Dare to Dream… About Pirates?

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Dream from the night of 3/16 (so pirates and St. Patty’s Day?)

 

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“I know it’s here somewhere,” I mumbled as I threw random stacks of paper from my dresser. My mind flew into a panic when I couldn’t find the small copper Spanish coin, about the size of a nickel. I shuffled my jewelry boxes and necklace stands looking for anywhere it might be hiding on the now chaotic dresser top. My mind reeled, she’s going to be here any minute and the stupid thing just grew legs and walked off!

171138342535_1Desperate to find it, I rushed to my older brother’s room. Before I could even ask, I saw the battered old copper coin hanging from its leather cord around his neck. I shouted his name, but he didn’t seem to hear me.

My head drooped as I began to question the power of the coin. Was it really just creating some sort of illusion? Was I just crazy and saw what I wanted to see? No, I told myself. It’s real, and Emily has to see it!

“Hey!” I called out to him again. This time, he turned to look at me from where he stood in the middle of the room.

“What?” He asked in a flat tone.

“That medallion coin thing…?” I replied, pointing at the coin hanging at his chest.

“Oh, yeah, I saw it in your room and I liked it. Do you need it back?” he said, his tone almost apologetic.

“Please. I need to show it to a friend.”

“Sure,” he replied as he pulled it over his head and handed the cord to me.

I thanked him before returning to the couch and staring at the coin. It looked like just a regular old antique coin, nothing special. My thoughts wandered to what I had seen when I held it, and I couldn’t help but wonder if my brother had seen it too.

Unaware of how much time passed, I heard the doorbell ring. I opened it to a smiling, yet confused, Emily.

“What was so urgent that I had to come here now?” she asked, her arms folded across her chest while she displayed her ever prevalent smile.

“I had to get this back from my brother,” I told her holding the coin out by the leather cord at arm’s length.
“You didn’t need to get it for me if he had it,” she replied, her smile morphing into a scowl as she stared at the coin. “It’s so old… what is it?” she asked after an uncomfortably long silence.

“It’s worth it,” I told her. “Trust me.”

She wouldn’t have believed me if I told her. I wouldn’t have believed her if she’d told me. She sighed and rolled her eyes but it seemed like she was on-board with my flavor of crazy, for today at least. I took in a deep breath and told her she needed to touch the coin. She looked at me as if I was asking her to poke a dead mouse, but she finally did. Then, so did I.

pirate_flag-e13690109261861The world whipped around me. The air had a new coldness, and dampness before I could see clearly. We were out at sea. The deck of the ship rocked below my feet. She saw the flag before I could point it out. Black with a white skull and crossed swords. I took another deep breath in through my nose and could almost taste the salt in the air. It was real.

 

Writing Exercise #3

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Let’s practice writing scenery!

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Go outside and write about what you see, hear, smell, and how the air/sun/ground feels. You could write about how the outside tastes, especially if there’s a particularly pungent odor that left an unsettling mark in your mouth (let’s hope that doesn’t happen).
This should probably be written in the third person as a narrator, however if you are feeling extra creative go ahead and write it however you feel it will work best.
What this will accomplish: The goal we are going for here is to try to build a general basis of how someone can view the environment around them. This will help when trying to create a descriptive scene when a character first enters an environment, or to paint a scenic picture for the reader.
Response to Writing Prompt #2
“I really just want to push my hand into the dirt right there to leave my hand print!” she said, more excited than she usually was.
The three of us walked by the tree and area of fresh dirt at the base of it, moist from the last few days of El Niño’s rain.
“If you do, your hand will be so dirty,” her twinzie warned her.
We continued to follow her to the next tree on the path where she plopped her right hand down into the dirt and began pressing on her fingers to keep the shape of her hand visible.
I laughed and her twinzie exclaimed “Oh wow! You actually did it!” with her usual smile.5175x
Her hand remained in the dirt for a while so I lifted my foot jokingly and said “let me help” just as I was about to pretend to stomp the back of her hand into the dirt to help her leave her hand print, she moved her hand. As we walked away, they both let me know they thought I was going to stomp on the hand print after it was made. Renee, the girl who placed her hand in the dirt, tried to shake my hand. Her hand was caked in soil, so I told her to shake hands with her twinzie, Tammy, and make up.
“But we didn’t fight today,” Renee exclaimed.
“Shake hands and make up!” I repeated in a commanding yet friendly voice.
Renee tried, but Tammy refused, and instead picked up a stick to hold out. I watched as Renee refused to shake hands with a stick. Tammy insisted that the stick was meant to fend off Renee. The two continued like that all the way back to the office, except for a small discussion they had about potholes, and how Renee never knew that rain caused them, even though she rationalized out how it probably happens.
When we got back to the office door, Renee held it open and refused to let us past unless we shook her hand. After a few failed attempts to get by her, Tammy finally held out her hand for Renee to shake. I also tried to get by her, but it wasn’t going to happen. I saw a leaf on the ground, and thinking back to the stick I grabbed it to attempt to shake hands with that as a sort of glove. Unfortunately, it didn’t really work out. Renee grabbed my wrist, getting dirt all over it. Tammy was complaining that now she had to wash her hands and I brushed the dirt off of my wrist letting Renee know that she got little dirt particles all over me.

16 Ways to Better Myself in 2016 (A.K.A. My New Year’s Resolution)

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  1. Get a better job.
  2. Dress for the job I want, not the job I have.
  3. Write daily.
  4. Blog post weekly.
  5. Declutter my life (starting with my bedroom).
  6. Create healthier eating habits for myself (eat only when I’m hungry and learn to cook/make home-cooked meals).
  7. Be more active (go to the gym at least 4 times per week).
  8. Drink at least 64oz of water per day.
  9. Fit comfortably into a size 6 dress/pants (a size 4 if I’m ambitious).
  10. Keep in touch with friends/reconnect with old friends.
  11. Make less excuses for myself.
  12. Travel to Seattle.
  13. Take a minute to picture a situation from someone else’s perspective, especially when angry or irritated.
  14. Talk less/listen more.
  15. You have a dream journal, use it.
  16. Find a reason to smile every day (and actually smile every day)!

Story of My Life #1(ish) – My First New York Visit, October 2015

Manhattan Skyline from the harbor.

So, I’m going to be setting an alarm on my phone for my posting schedule so I can actually remember to do this, because apparently life and video games are very distracting for me.

I just loved the way this picture turned out!

I just loved the way this picture turned out!

Anyhow, among other fun and drama-filled trips I took this year, one of the more recent ones (and one of the most anticipated for me) would be the trip I took to New York City with my mom (October 27th to November 1st). Let me start by saying that I’ve wanted to visit NYC since I was a kid (maybe 7 years old?), since my family would tell me I had a Brooklyn accent. Born in raised in Orange County, California, nobody understood why I sounded like a miniature New Yorker.

The High Line park had this beautiful area of old track that the park was built around with flowers growing out of it making a beautiful urban decay picture. Best part, it was raining!

The High Line park had this beautiful area of old track that the park was built around with flowers growing out of it making a beautiful urban decay picture. Best part, it was raining!

So, the first thing I noticed about the city, was that inside of the JFK airport, there is a mall that is fully equipped with everything you don’t need from a Victoria Secret store to a Metropolitan Museum of Art Gift Shop.

My New York to-do list was pretty short (for a one week visit):

  1. See the Statue of Liberty.
  2. See at least one Broadway play or musical.
  3. Take pictures of tall buildings from a street view where the tall buildings frame the shot with cars going by.
  4. Touch the ocean.
  5. Go to the Bowery Poetry Club and listen to Spoke Word poets.
  6. Visit the New York Library.
  7. Eat New York style pizza (something my mom added to my list).
Me standing at the base of the Statue of Liberty :)

Me standing at the base of the Statue of Liberty:)

So, I was able to achieve everything except for #4 and #5… I didn’t know where the ocean was because so much of the water around Manhattan (where I was staying) was a Bay/Harbor or a river. I couldn’t do #5 because the poetry readings happened on Monday and my plane landed that Tuesday, so that was a bummer.

I was surprised at how incredibly nice everyone that I talked to was. I’m not sure if it was because I was in a touristy area or what, but everyone was incredibly helpful and pleasant to be around. I’ve heard a lot of talk about how tough people from New York are, but the people in Los Angeles are much more abrasive from what I’ve noticed, unless you’re driving. I will never drive in New York City. I think there is some shop out there that makes bank rewiring people’s cars to sound their horn when they tap their brakes… I wish I took a video of it.

What I did:

  1. One of many Cityscape pictures!

    One of many Cityscape pictures!

    Took a tour bus around Downtown Manhattan and Harlem/Upper Manhattan.

  2. Saw the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
  3. Got rained on! Rain is still a thing outside of California, who knew!?
  4. Went to a park called the High Line.
  5. Visited the New York Library.
  6. Saw the Halloween Parade.
  7. Rode on the Subway.
  8. Saw 2 Musicals and 1 Play on Broadway.
  9. Had New York pizza.
  10. Had a New York hot dog from a street food stand (damn was it expensive at $5, but it was pretty delicious).
  11. Stayed in a shoebox of a hotel.
  12. Was mistaken for a local at numerous restaurants.
  13. Had New York Cheesecake in New York!
  14. Wore a snazzy coat and was still pretty cold even though the locals were saying the weather was warm.
  15. Got lost.
  16. Saw Time Square in the day and the night.
  17. Took over 700 pictures of buildings.
  18. Decided I will move somewhere in New York for something between 3 and 5 years before I am 35. New York is expensive though, so I’ll have to start saving up.

All of the shows I saw were fantastic. I saw Hand to God, which is not a show for everyone, but if you li

It rained in Time Square and it was beautiful. This was the emptiest I saw Time Square the whole trip.

It rained in Time Square and it was beautiful. This was the emptiest I saw Time Square the whole trip.

This show probably had the best musical score I’ve heard in a while. I got the album and have been listening to it for the past few days on loop and it still hasn’t gotten old… yet.

Oh my goodness, the food here! New York pizza kicks California Pizza in the face, and I love CPK (California Pizza Kitchen)! Note: I am not promoting any sort of face kicking here, this was just amazing food. Their cheesecake was something to be savored, like I don’t think cheesecake factory can even compete to that taste! If you like pastrami sandwiches, get one on rye (just ask around for a good sandwich shop, or if you’re human-phobic use yelp) and you won’t regret it… probably.

Another amazing thing I got to do was go to something called the starlight diner. I had a salmon bagel, delicious! But the coolest thing about this diner is that the wait staff sings and dances around the diner when they’re not serving. I know what you’re probably thinking, but these are people who are aspiring Broadway actors and they all had to audition for their jobs as servers. This will be a must for every visit I have to the time square area going forward. It was so much fun. Expect to pay a bit more, but it’s food and a show!

Spiderman singing some songs from Grease at the Starlight Diner!

Spiderman singing some songs from Grease at the Starlight Diner!

I could go on forever, really, not even exaggerating, this is a beautiful and amazing city! I can’t wait to go back, even though I saw a rat crawl into the subway grates in my first half hour in the city.
I’ll always be a California girl, but I can’t wait to live in New York (and hopefully work at one of the many publishing houses, even as an invisible cog).

Dream Log Entry #2 – Ambrosia Street

DreamI was making salsa. The kitchen was older and cramped, especially with all of us crowded around the counter. I’m not sure how many of us there were, but I remember using some left over salsa in the salsa I was making. I didn’t think it was weird at the time to put beans into my salsa too, but the people around me complained about it. I really didn’t think it was a big deal, so I grabbed a plate for my salsa, my bowl of finished salsa, and a martini then left.

b601ac202713dc7814edf6ba4b1f74f5I don’t remember walking to my car, but I do remember that once I was in it, my martini glass was full and placed in my cup holder. As I drove it didn’t slosh around or spill, although I was worried it might. I had chips and salsa on my front passenger seat that I ate as I drove, swerving noticeably as I was paying more attention to the food than I was to the road, but it didn’t seem to matter. The sun had already set and I was the only car on the road. The whole time, however, I was worried that I would get pulled over for drinking and driving, since the martini glass was completely out in the open. I sipped on it as I drove, and I seemed to be going for hours, although I wasn’t exactly sure of where I was heading.

Finally I came to a street called ‘Ambrosia.’ I put the salsa plate in the back seat of my car and downed the rest of my drink just in time for a motorcycle cop to pull up beside me at the Ambrosia intersection. I dropped my glass and the officer didn’t seem to notice, because when the light turned green, he drove off and I turned left and parked my car on the side of the road. I walked over to the other side of the sidewalk and followed it down the street.

4332679577_e833a37fc2_mAs I continued down the street, which looked fairly unfamiliar to me, I had a memory of a woman that claimed she got powers of premonition or some other magic at one of the abandoned shops. I peered in through the glass and the place was barren. I wasn’t sure how old the memory was, but it was clear that nobody had occupied the store for a long time.

Suddenly, the woman from the memory was beside me. She warned me not to go into the empty shop front. That there was something evil lurking behind the glass doors, but I couldn’t feel any presence. It was finally apparent to me that I was some sort of exorcist or medium. I followed a feeling of an evil presence down the street. I was guessing the woman had been mistaken and this was where she really meant her powers came from.

I came to a stop at the end of the block. There was a very dark presence in a small L shaped hallway lined with cabinets and other large objects. It appeared the entire store was a simple L shaped hallway with 2 entrances and what appeared to be some sort of storage center in the corner keeping the room from being a simple square. The presence grew stronger as I entered the room, and I saw mouths form on the walls and objects that lined the shelves and cabinets. They began to speak while people appeared out of nowhere to chant along with them, mimicking every word they said.

Eventually the mob grew too large to fit in the small L shaped room and began flooding the streets. I had no idea where the mob had come from or if they were even human, but I stood there at one of the shop entrances and watched as the crowd, in unison, obeyed each command the disembodied voices gave.