Tuesday, September 20, 2011

UnSweet Dreams

A sleeping witch has naughty dreams
Of nighttime’s creepy, crawly things.
Soundly resting in her lair,
Spiders wriggle through her hair.
Beneath her bed the mice scurry
Over something dead and furry.
And down the hall a great black cat
Trains his gaze on a yummy rat.
As musty smells so gently glide
Across the floor with snakes that slide,
The little witch sees goblins prowl,
And something mean begins to growl.
Murmuring curses, she smiles sweetly,
Trapping children so they can’t flee.
Tasty fingers, scrumptious bellies—
She likes them best with slimy jellies.
She licks her lips and grins with glee,
But a crow cries—she wakes quickly.
Disappointed, she rubs her hands,
And soon she makes new evil plans.

Friday, September 2, 2011

What am I doing?

I work in the call center for an insurance brokerage agency. I'm in charge of the appointment setters, myself included, who cold-call old folks to try to schedule them for appointments with our agents who will then try to sell them health insurance and/or death insurance. I do a little bit of paperwork around the office, mostly creating training materials and document templates since the business is new. Today I even recorded our voice mail message. Exciting stuff, huh?

I've also just begun an internship as a content writer for a Plano blog. Boss man's gonna teach me a bit about SEO optimization and detailed blog publishing, lots of good stuff to tack onto my resume, and has promised a glowing recommendation for future job endeavors.

Lastly, I'm teaching a burlesque dance class once a week and looking into a few other studios to teach also a belly dance drills and conditioning class, more fitness than choreography focused. I really enjoy it, so hopefully that will work out for me.

In my free time, I've been hanging out and performing with a local circus club. My most recent piece was a gold-sequined burlesque performance. The pics look great so far and I can't wait to see the video go up. I met a Dallas burlesque performer last week who's booking me to dance at a few events in the coming months. I'm pretty excited about where this all could be headed.

I placed third at the Emerald Hills Dragon Master arts competition last Sunday. It's held every 6 months and I only had 1 month to prepare. I only intended to make a showing of a handful of items (3 photographs, a painted tile, 2 written articles, a fire poi performance, and a belly dance), but they all scored pretty well. Yay me. Just imagine the next time around when I have time to put more effort into things.

Anyway, that's it for now. I'll let you know if anything exciting happens over the holiday weekend, but I have no plans outside of pet-sitting and am looking forward to some dullness.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where have I been?


Aug. 14: Had a great birthday lunch with friends and family at Black Eyed Pea and then went out to The Church with a few other friends. It was totally dead, but I looked awesome (see FB) and still enjoyed myself.

A few days later my computer got trapped in an infinite loop of "failure to restore, restart now" doom. I fixed it, but lost all the birthday photos.

Aug. 21: Liz came over to help me with hijinx of questionable legality. Here is the end product. Do not ask me questions about it unless you have read all the answers on the video description at YouTube.com.

Aug. 22: I performed at Open Stage. It was awesome and I will update with video just as soon as I can. It was such a cool venue (House of Poets, Richardson) with great people, great vibes, and I can't wait to go again. :)

Aug. 23: I interviewed for a cool technical editing position in Ft. Worth and nearly wrecked on the way home because some bitch thought she had right-of-way turning out of a parking lot and into me. I'll hear back about the position today, so cross your fingers!

Also, I got Beats Antique tickets for Trees on October 21. Squee!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My running story

I ran my first half marathon this year. Sure, thousands of people do it every weekend, but it wasn’t so long ago that I could barely walk.

Halfway through my sixth season of marching band, I was 20 years old and plagued by chronic pain. I had malaligned kneecaps aggravated by years of dance, soccer, and marching band. The doctor fitted me with a hulking Forrest Gump knee brace that blistered my bare skin and boiled my covered leg in the Texas sun. He told me to take it easy, recommended expensive physical therapy, and asked me to come back in a few weeks if it didn’t improve so he could inject horror movie syringes in under the kneecap or cut my leg open to dig around in the cartilage a bit.

Fortunately for squeamish me the brace helped a bit, though I suffered from painful flare-ups that forced me to wear the brace a few times a month and kept me away from exercise, too afraid to worsen the pain.

Unable to dance, walk, bike, or even swim without achey snap, crackle, popping knees, my weight soon made things worse. I’d tried every non-weight-bearing exercise I could find but still suffered just by bending my knee. As a poor college student, I had little choice but to deal with it.

I happened to join a women’s walking club in 2009 and fell prey to peer pressure within the group to register for a 10K race that fall. It was far enough away that most of us figured we could learn to run during the summer.

I scoured the Web for running programs and advice, finally settling on “Day 1: Run as far as you can. Day 2: Repeat.” I wasn’t fast, and I did take a lot of walking breaks, but I ran nearly every day. I ran!

I ran the 10K and beat my time goal by 15 minutes to finish in just over an hour. I ran three more 10Ks and two 5Ks that fall and even a mud run 5K obstacle course this spring. Again I fell victim to peer pressure to up the ante and run a half marathon this spring. May 1 would be the day, with lots of great Beltaine energy to help me.

It was awful. Hail threatened; organizers stopped us twice during the race to wait out the storm, eventually shortened the end of the course by a half mile, and asked participants to quit and take shelter. 40 mph winds buffeted our faces in the first 5 miles and the concrete course beat my body to a pulp. Not a single barefoot, dirt path training mile I had logged mattered that day as my joints howled, my feet blistered, burst, and bled, and a half-dozen pacers passed me with smiles on their faces.

Whether your body is or isn’t capable of doing the thing never matters because it’s true what they say: Distance running is all a mind game.

I hurt and I cried freely, but I finished. I could scarcely move in the next week, but I finished and I wore my race t-shirt and medal proudly. And I’m ashamed to say I’m thinking of doing it again before the year is out.

And a marathon in 2012.

Because as miserable as I was in those few hours, I’ve been free of knee pain in the last two years, and I never want to suffer that depressing lack of mobility—both physically and emotionally crippling—for as long as I live.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Gathering of the Clans

Before I left for Korea, Amtgard was my hobby. It's a fantasy-based medieval recreation group. Think live action D&D, but less role play and more hitting one another with sticks.

Last week we had a big camping event in New Mexico called Gathering of the Clans, July 27-31. It's a yearly event that draws players from across the U.S., and I carpooled with three others for the 9.5-hour trip. It's the only event I've never missed since I started playing in 2005, except for my year in Korea, and this was my first event back since Korea.

It was fantastic. I got to see great people I haven't seen in a while, found space in a cabin so I didn't have to set up a tent in the rain, belly danced, and spun lots of fire. The battle games were great fun to watch and shoot, I learned some new stuff from another poi spinner, and the vendors helped me out when one of my poi handles fell apart.

My only complaints are of far too many smokers cutting my fun short Friday night because I felt nauseous and the lack of belly dancing talent at the drum circle. I maintain that some of the best dancers are heavy women because they put in the effort to have great technical skill whereas skinny chicks are so often lazy because they can get by on their looks.

So here's my video of one of the battle games, and you can check out some of my pics over here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday night in

I had been planning to go to tonight's Drum Djam in Dallas, but I'm just coming off a 36-hour sinus pressure migraine and am feeling too sapped to make the 30+ min drive to hang out with a bunch of smokers. (Gross.) I thought hippies cared about the environment and their bodies??

The good news, however, is that my bf helped me fix my fire poi today. They literally flew off the handle in Utah when they burned through the swivel clips, sending hot metal flying onto my leg that left a small, bright purple scar. This time I bought heavy duty swivels from the fire supply site and saved $50+ by not having to buy new poi altogether. Sure, it's 20 minutes of pain-in-the-ass construction, but it's done. And I love my new swivels.

In other news, I picked up a part time job in a call center about a half-hour commute away. There won't be much left after gas and bills, but at least I'll be able to cover those two expenses with a little time left over to continue searching for something more permanent.

I decided yesterday to set some fitness goals because I've been slacking in the last month. I'm going to run a sub-27 5k and a sub-40 5k mud run this year. My single mile record (as an adult) is 8:51, so it's definitely doable. My best 5k is 29 minutes and change, best mud run was 40:51 in April's Warrior Dash.

I just registered this week for the September 24 Patriot Games 5k Mud Run in Sanger. I'm pretty excited because my sis and her bf will be running it, too. She's not a runner, but he's committed to whipping her into shape—I can't wait to see how it goes.

With the heat index at 105+ all month, I haven't been out and am really feeling it. Today I got out and ran a mile. I'm really happy about it because my head was still killing me. Tomorrow I'll run one more, and maybe in a few days I'll acclimate to the heat and start running farther.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Green Elephant Drum Djam

Last night I went to the weekly drum circle at The Green Elephant in Dallas for the first time. Sadly, my fire poi are broken, literally flew off the handle in Utah, so I picked up the fire staff I've not spun in two years. Uninspired, but my throws are a lot better than before. (I broke my nose in color guard in high school and my throws have sucked ever since.)

I'm hoping to get a friend to help me with my poi before next week's gathering. Also, I can bring my hoop, fan veils, balls, and triple poi.

LED poi

Fire poi

Fire poi

Fire fans

LED staff

This is my other favorite. It looks like there are fire dragons flying about.

Fire hoop

Monday, July 11, 2011


Last night I interviewed with a recruiter about going back to Korea. I'm currently job hunting here and willing to relocate pretty much anywhere, but I don't have high hopes. I'm applying for copy editing, copy writing, portrait studios, even dance instructor positions, but it's really hard to get experience without experience. Blurgh.

If I can't find something by the end of the year, I'll probably go back to Korea for the spring semester. I'm looking at Changwon on the southern coast because my best friend is starting there in September, and the winters are a lot milder, which could make all the difference in my enjoyment of the Hermit Kingdom: Round 2.

Tomorrow I'm attending a workshop at my university's career center: "Alumni in Career Transition: Re-entering the Workforce after a Layoff or Time Away" My fingers are crossed, hoping I'll learn something useful. Presently, I'm writing this because I can't quite work up the motivation to bang out another cover letter. It's not as if it would really take very long, but starting is a pain in the ass.

I'm also finding a number of job listings that require PDFs of my past newspaper designs, but I'm not sure I can find any. It's been three years since I did it, and I don't even remember which pages I designed, though I worked on an awful lot of them while I was at UNT. I guess I'll dig through the archives and see if I can come up with anything. Blurgh.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What the hell, Facebook?

First I get this ad on my homepage...



Tuesday, July 5, 2011


After the beach, we walked up to Jenkinson's Boardwalk for some rocking burgers and ice cream.


Day at the beach

Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

Holiday traffic turned an hour drive into 90 minutes, but the beach wasn't too crowded, and the weather was great.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

If you're on Facebook

Would you take about 3 seconds while you're bumming around online to vote for my photo in a contest? It's a really awesome photo, but you can vote for others if you like.

A day in NYC

Took a grueling 90-minute train to NYC yesterday. For the record, I don't <3 the big, crowded, noisy, stinky, smoky apple. But we had fun. Saw the Statue of Liberty, NY Public Library, Central Park, FAO Schwarz, Rockefeller Plaza, Times Square, and Spiderman on Broadway.

Statue of Liberty

Times Square

Rockefeller Plaza

St. Pat's


FAO Schwarz

Hello, horse!

Central Park

We saw a bicyclist nearly run over by a taxi, two horrible M-to-F trannies in Central Park, a man on the corner covered in rats, and a man with a crazy sign proclaiming, "Hindu men are socialized to have sex with children," among other crazy things.

Chrysler Building

NY Public Library


Spiderman on Broadway was as crazy awful as I expected. I really enjoyed everything about it except the songs. They were really terrible songs. But the artistic director is a genius—costuming and sets were fantastic! And Spiderman flying around on wires just above the audience's heads. It was fun. And on the way back to the train station, we enjoyed proper NY street pizza—possibly my favorite thing of the day.

Photo Prizes

I am officially a prizewinning photographer. I stumbled across the Web site ViewsHound.com, which is attempting to be a serious news-site but so far has a surprising overabundance of low-quality writers. However, it does award daily cash prizes to the top 3 articles, and the top photos and cartoon of the day. Three of my first 11 photo submissions are winners!

Here they are:

I'm pretty excited about this and going to try to submit some articles in the near future. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Yampa River Whitewater Rafting

My folks got a permit to raft the Yampa River in Colorado from June 16 to 19, a rare opportunity with about a 1 in 90 shot of getting the permit. The waters ran outrageously high due to a combination of late spring rains and a long winter creating late snow runoff. It was 19,000 cfs (cubic feet per second, a measure of volume, speed, and intensity of the river) at the put-in and 28,000 cfs at the take-out, with the average for a normal flow (aside from this freaky month) being between 5,000 and 7,000 cfs.

The first and last days were rainy, windy, and wicked cold. The middle 2 were great, though.

 (Me and my dad and stepmom)

We had a group of 18 people, including 6 children ages 4 to 12, among 6 rafts, a catamaran, and a pair of inflatable kayaks. We spent about 3 hours a day on the river then pulled in to make camp each night.

This is my video of the Warm Springs rapids, one of the 10 greatest drops in the country, notorious for flipping rafts, a class 3 or 4 out of 5 when the water is at normal levels.

We tied up the little kayaks for this one, had the youngest kids and a few moms walk through on foot, and everyone made it through safely. Though one oarsman flipped off the back of his boat and managed to hold on until his wife noticed and pulled him back on below the rapids. This was his first trip rowing on his own. (Here's a great video of other rafters flipping on Maytag, so named because you go 'round and 'round if you get stuck below it.)

On the third day, we stopped at Jones Hole campsite for a 1.5-mile hike along the clearest little river, through beautiful canyons, and by stunning prairie flowers and grasses to the "Butt Dam." A natural spring feeds into the river, creating a waterfall you can hike to and climb up. The kids sit at the top to block the water while someone crazy stands below waiting for them to release a deluge of icy cold water. No one can stand it for more than about 20 seconds.

The fourth day was really scary because the water was so high with 15- to 25-foot rollers, or waves, continuing for a long stretch. The same boat I mentioned above flipped, but Dave and Lenette both held on until Dan managed to row close enough to pull them on his boat along with his wife and 3 little boys. The water was so rough that Dave just had to hold on to his overturned raft while Dan tried to navigate as best he could with a crowded boat and the one trailing.

Cody was able to pull his boat close enough for Vanessa and Boschar to leap on the overturned raft and surf the afore-mentioned 20-foot waves in the rain. They pulled the ropes out but failed on the first attempt to flip the raft and fell in the water. Vanessa hauled herself right back on it and helped pull Boschar up, too. Can you imagine pulling yourself up on the slippery bottom side of a raft? She used to throw hammer in college athletics.

They stood up again, grabbed the ropes, braced for the second attempt, and leaned back to pull the raft over, using their bodies as counterweights. It went over and we all cheered. Dan jumped off the oars of his boat, his kids calling out, "Daddy, come back! We don't want to flip!" because there was no one else who could row it with Dave and Lenette still being too shaken from their swim. He grabbed Vanessa and Boschar, hurled them up over the side of the empty raft, and they rowed it to the nearest shore, later recounting that Dan nearly threw them all the way over the raft. And the rapids hardly let up for even a minute through this whole ordeal.

Once ashore, everyone regrouped, ate a bit and tried to warm up, then reloaded on their original rafts to push through the last 45 minutes until the take-out. It was an amazing rescue to watch, probably the highlight of the trip, and I wished my camera had any battery left by that point.

The dads said they all had a fantastic Fathers' Day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Getting Down & Dirty

Sunday, June 5 I got up at 4:30 AM to drive an hour to run the Merrell Down & Dirty Mud Run at Cedar Hill Park with my friend, Dan. It was a 5k (3.12 mi) run with military style obstacles every half mile or so. Compared to the Warrior Dash in April, this one had fewer obstacles and a lot more running, fewer participants, costumes, waves, and photographers. The really cool thing was the Texas State Guard acted as volunteers to run everything and supervise throughout the course, cheering and pushing us on. One called out orders as we ran by, shouting, "I don't hear you laughing. Now laugh!"

The obstacles included a low crawl under a net about a foot off the ground through freshly cut prairie grasses that destroyed my shins and forearms, a tunnel crawl, cargo net climb, wall hurdles, ladder wall climb, 2 mud pits, 3 water crossings, and a patch of evil called the "slippery mountain." It was a smooth, flat wall at a sharp incline, soaped up, and you had to pull yourself up a rope—no knees or feet to help. *I* struggled. But I did it! Because I'm awesome. And my arms were too sore the next day to push open doors or push the boyfriend off me when he tried to tickle me, of which he took full advantage to torture me relentlessly.

(This is not me. I was not smiling.)

There's not a chance in hell I'd pay for these crappy over-exposed photos. I can't believe these are "professional" photogs. Ugh.

We both finished 37th in our age groups (that's the top 3rd for me), and if the registration Web site had sucked less, I might have known about the barefoot category, in which I would have placed 2nd at 44:26. Toe shoes are awesome (except on gravel).

At the end, we received cool pewter-ish dog tags with the event name on them.