Ruminations

I DID IT.

NewComp_OhMelGee

I’m typing on a Macbook Pro, a dream machine that I’ve been wanting since before I was born and knew what the meaning of life was (cats).

It’s been a personal goal of mine to organize all of my files, write, blog, create as much as I can, and produce more content than my old ASUS 2008 comp could ever handle or keep up with. Whew. It’s been far too long and I’m excited.

Here’s to dreams coming true (and the sound of my credit card gently weeping).

—Mel

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Movies, Ruminations

This Week’s Wrap-Up: The Revenant, Room, and Baby Rey Kitty

Whoa—hi, 2016. I haven’t written in here for a few months. I’m going to try to implement a weekly wrap-up series to try and motivate myself to write more “for myself.” I’m trying to come up with a punchier title, but this will be the placeholder in the meantime. Here are the highlights from my week:

1. So much Oscar-movie binging. My wallet can’t handle it. On Sunday, the BF and I had basically lived at Arclight and finally watched The Revenant and Room, two movies I’ve been jazzed to watch since last year. Both are very good, and both will leave you with frozen tears of WTF JUST HAPPENED THESE LAST 3 HOURS?!

WhatIFeelLike2

You go, Leo. You go, Bri. We almost did what I’ll call a “Domhnall Double” and planned on watching Brooklyn AND The Revenant, but we wouldn’t have had time to sneak in Chipotle tacos and that would’ve been problematic.

2. Getting this text from my parents—my dad’s 60th birthday is this Sunday.

Papatext

Mamatext

I feel like I’m an asshole of a kid and don’t really give great presents to my parents. I’ll give them a book here or a spa certificate there, or I’ll try to buy them dinner when I’m home. But they’re really, really hard to shop for, and it’s extra tough to give them something meaningful. But I made my dad a Shutterfly Book, using pictures they accidentally left on my laptop like 5 years ago. I’m glad my “designing” while watching 16 Catfish episodes for a whole week has amounted to something.

3. Dany cat has recently been doing this thing where she climbs on top of Ben and I when we’re sleeping, proceeds to walk all over us, and then sits on our legs, causing us to be immobilized by her sweetness. Sounds creepy, but look:

Dany

4. Speaking of cats (I’m always speaking about cats), I discovered this fucking cute cat and love her. AND her name’s Rey! (Don’t tell Dany!)

Rey2Rey1Rey3

5. I’m 80% into Career of Evil, the third book  in the Cormoran Strike series—AKA the Robin Ellacott is a badass bitch series. So far this has been the strongest out of the trilogy. I’ve been renting a ton of e-books lately, and this one just expired so I’m Primed this baby so I can finish it. Now ya’ll look at this Cuckoo’s Calling fan art by artist Jean Frederic Koné:

Collection-TheCuckoosCalling

6. Finished work projects that seemed forever in my que: this blog post about “ussies” and this video of the Knock Knock boss lady talking business.

7. The most ridiculously amazing Twitter dramadey of the century is getting made into a movie. And James Franco is directing. I remember last year when this story caused a ruckus in our office and people had to explain what “trap” and “trick” were to me (and I still can’t remember what it means.)

8. My fireplace works. After a year and a half of living in this apartment, I can happily say that my fireplace now actually works. Not that I really need it in Los Angeles, but guys it’s cool! Lannisters blessing the fireplace:

Fireplace

Byee.

—M

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Events, Los Angeles, Ruminations, Writing

6 Powerful Quotes from WriteGirl’s Journalism Workshop

It’s my third season volunteering at WriteGirl, a creative nonprofit here in Los Angeles. Founded and pioneered by the amazing Keren Taylor, WriteGirl empowers over hundreds and hundreds of local teen girls through creative writing, writing genre workshops, and one-on-one mentoring each year.

WriteGirl is now in its 15th year! That’s 15 years of helping underserved girls find their own voice and cultivating their potential. 100% of girls who go through our mentoring program graduate from high school and go onto college—many not even realizing that’s an option for their futures. 100% of them.

WriteGirl

Each of month of the season is a different genre workshop—spanning fiction, poetry, screenwriting, songwriting, you name it. Last Saturday we tackled journalism with around 100 girls, ages 13-18. I was paired with a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 13 year old, who would doodle these really incredible sketches (mostly of My Little Pony characters, but still truly amazing) when she thought I wasn’t looking. I let her know she should start a cartoon one day and  she smirked in return.

As the workshop went through the fundamentals and building blocks of journalism, it was like my muscle memory kicked into action. And I’ve realized I miss it. I miss interviewing people and finding the story. I’ve missed feeling a slight kinship with complete strangers, even if it lasts for a few minutes. I miss being invited into their world, and writing about it. I forgot that spark that drew me to journalism in the first place—the idea that everyone has a story to tell. And someone has to tell it.

We were lucky enough to hear Beverly White, a NBCLA reporter who has over 30 years of reporting experience under her belt, talk about her career and time on the field.

I wish I recorded everything she said. She’s so vivacious and knows everything there’s to know about getting the story. But I happened to scribble these wise words from her:

1. “If it’s not truthful, what’s the point?” —Beverly White

2. “Getting it right is always the job description.”Beverly White

3. “This is not melodrama, this is real life.”Beverly White

4. “Every story is big to somebody.”Beverly White

There was also a panel of women journalists who talked about their careers and gave career tips for writing:

5. “Read, read, read!” (I know this is a simple quote, but it’s true. Reading = become a better writer. P.S., I can’t remember who said this, my apologies!)

6. “Don’t hold yourself back. Don’t make yourself the obstacle. Let someone else be the obstacle and tear that obstacle down.” Tamara Duricka Johnson, journalist

After hearing all of these wonderful women speak, I’m definitely thinking up more projects for the future—using my curiosity as the driving force. Stay tuned!

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Humor

Dear Mindy Kaling: I Am So Sorry.

This is what I look like when I have had 2.5 hours of sleep and am swimming in instant regret.

This is what I look like when I have had 2.5 hours of sleep and am swimming in instant regret.

You know that feeling when you wait at least a total of six hours in one day for the opportunity to meet Mindy Kaling at her new book signing, and then you act like a complete dazed idiot because you’re running on 2.5 hours of sleep? I do.

Earlier this week, my friend and I planned on going to Mindy’s book signing at the The Grove’s Barnes and Noble. I had already bought Mindy’s new book, Why Not Me, on Amazon because I’m a Prime addict and because I was so excited to read it! I didn’t read it. Then Barnes and Noble was all like “YOU SHALL NOT MEET MINDY UNLESS YOU’VE GOT B&N BOOK PURCHASING PROOF REALNESS!” And I was like FUCK. Okay. So we planned on getting to B&N at 7:15 a.m. to try to buy another copy of her book in order to get wristbands at 9:00 a.m., since you needed a wristband to go to this signing. I immediately said to myself, “I’ve lived through Comic-Con three times already–easy peasy danycat deezy.”

Rewind to earlier this week: my boyfriend hits his head on a frozen-food section door. And the day before what I’m now referring to as “SHUT UP, MELANIE” Day, it’s not improving. We head over to the ER and stay there ’til around 2:30 in the morning and he’s cured with the help of a little friend named Tylenol.

We get back to the apt and I’m like “Why, life?!” I had to wake up at 5:45a to make sure I was prepped for a 7:00 a.m. standing session. My friend, who LOVES Mindy ’til thy kingdom come and is much more deserving to meet Mindy than I, waited with me from 7:15 a.m. to around 10:00 a.m. or so until we finally were able to get the book and wristband.

The line was so very painfully long even by 7:00a. I overheard a guard at The Grove saying there were around 400 people already by 9:00 a.m. Crazy!

The line was so very painfully long even by 7:00a. I overheard a guard at The Grove saying there were around 400 people already by 9:00 a.m. Crazy!

The people after us. I apologize for this horrendous photo, but if you squint a little bit, you can see tiny ant people waiting all the way back there on 3rd.

The people after us. I apologize for this horrendous photo, but if you squint a little bit, you can see tiny ant people waiting all the way back there on 3rd.

Saying that I felt like a zombie when I finally got to work is an understatement. I was so tired I don’t even remember what happened while at my desk. Then we came back to B&N around 6:00 p.m. and waited again for the Q&A with Tracey Wigfield and Mindy.

Tracey Wigfield and Mindy Kaling. A POWER duo.

Tracey Wigfield and Mindy Kaling. A POWER duo.

Mindy KILLED it. Not only did she give advice on working hard for your success and earning the confidence to be a fucking boss, but she also touched on how women friendships are the best. And how to attract mentors. And how wedding cake face-smooshing is the worst. It was amazing. Then my yawning started.

My friend and I waited for another hour and a half or so while Mindy started signing books–chatting about what we were going to say to Mindy, how hungry we were, Yoga Puppies Calendar, how sleepy we were, etc. I was so excited and happy for my friend who was about to finally meet her hero, that I didn’t even think about how fucking amazing it was that I was about to come face-to-face with a woman who has worked her ass off to help pave the way for more Asians in the entertainment industry. She’s a showrunner for god’s sake. And after all the Barnes and Noble employees telling me to move forward, step up, step to the right, and other organized directions, I was finally here, the final tipping point, where I had to step onto the stage Mindy sat. I was one person away. I froze.

Things I had went over in my head for 3 hours that I planned on possibly saying:

“Ms. Kaling, I don’t mean to be fresh, but I fucking love your writing.”

“Does your mouth hurt? You don’t have to smile for my pic!”

“Are you a cat or a dog person?!”

Things I could’ve said:

ANYTHING ELSE.

What I actually said:

Mindy: [in really energetic voice] Hi! How are you?

Mel: Hi! I’m good. How are you?

Mindy: Good!

Mel: [silence.] Um, you’re a great role model. To, well, obviously all of us. [I don’t even think I was looking at her when I was saying this. I then moved my hand in a Vanna-White swoop toward the rest of the people in the store.]

Mindy: Thanks!

[snaps pic with her]

Mel: Thanks!

Mindy: It was nice meeting you!

Mel: [doesn’t answer, walks off in silence and never looks back]

Okay, I’m not 100% sure that was the exchange verbatim, but it was pretty damn close.

I’m sorry, Mindy. I’m sorry that I didn’t even call you MY role model, just A role model. And I’m sorry I didn’t say it was nice to meet you. I was so ridiculously and weirdly nervous and unrealistically intimidated that I vomited meaningless words all over you. It was nice to meet you, too. It was nice to meet you, too.

All in all I can say without a doubt that I have a higher respect for Mindy, and less respect for myself.

–M

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Radiator Spring before Sunrise
Travel

26 years.

Alas, I’m 26. I can’t believe it’s only been 5 years since I was able to legally go up to a bartender and ask for the cheapest drink in the house. Oh how times have not really changed.

This year I was so excited to spend my birthday with my sister and cousins at “The Happiest Place on Earth.” It was our second time participating in Disneyland’s Family 5K! We walked to support The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

If you’ve never done a RunDisney event, you should definitely look into it. I’m not a runner, but I do love Disney. (I’m okay with admitting that I’m biased.) Picture yourself speed-walking throughout the empty running rides of California Adventure and Disneyland parks around an hour before sunrise, weaving in and out of lines of adults who are actually running, and little kids who are in better physical shape then you will ever be. And that’s exactly what it feels like. I love it. Hopefully I can run/speed-walk at next year’s Disney Wine and Dine run. There’s nothing like vomiting up fresh Pinot Noir!

Disney Run 5K

The race started at 5:30 a.m. Still dark outside.

Disney Run 5k - Before Race

On your mark, get set, cosplay Disney characters!

Disney Run - Cinderella

Apologies for the blurriness, but this chick walked the whole 5K wearing a Cinderella gown (a la the new and excellent live-action Cinderella) and heels. She’s my hero.

Radiator Spring before Sunrise

Radiator Springs before sunrise.

Disney Run - 60th Celebration

Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds.

Malicifent - Disney Run

Malicifent told us to find Aurora. We did (not).

Disney Run - Teacups

Empty cups. So cool.

Funny Sign Lady - Disney Run

This random lady showed up at different parts of the race. She’s amazing.

Disney Run - End

Happily ever after.

Disney Run - Bib

My beautiful bib.

I had such a fantastic birthday, I can’t even fathom how I deserved any of it. It was as if the shittiness of last year conglomerated into one big mass that dissipated into a really fucking great time. Here are highlights:

1. I took my sister to La Descarga in Los Angeles. This Cuban bar is one of my favorite bars/speakeasys in Los Angeles because you enter through a wardrobe. Every time I walk through, I pretend that Mr. Tumnus will receive me and that the White Witch will give me her Turkish Delight recipe. It’s fantastic. Also, Wednesday night is apparently Salsa Night, so it feels like you’re in a remake of “Dirty Dancing: Havan Nights.” PS the drinks are dangerously tasty.

2. The boyfriend and I threw a little bash in honor of us both turning a year older (our birthdays are 4 days apart). The intent was to play board games. The result was a hot lovely mess filled with Two Rooms and Boom, Heads-Up, jamming on my guitar and keyboard, and eating amazing YASS QUEEN brownies while wearing my new Sailor Moon backpack. And I heart my friends for that.

Yass Queen brownies

My friend Barb made us these Broad City brownies. Yass Queen!

3. Ben and I went to Long Beach to have a little getaway from Los Angeles. It’s not that far away from our apartment, but it’s far enough that we can call it “a little getaway.” Kind of. Anyway, we ordered Chili’s pick-up and watched “The Muppets 2” (our first time watching it!), “Die Hard” (my first time watching it!), and “22 Jump Street” (our first time watching it!). A little R&R goes a long way.

Long Beach

View from our room. Not too shabby.

Long Beach Room

This art was in our room. Cubism?

4. On my actual birthday, we went to the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney. It was around 9:30 p.m. or so at night and places on Disney property surprisingly close really, really early. But I didn’t mind the 15-minute intervals of fake rainforest thundering, animatronic gorillas, and overpriced cocktails. This Rainforest Cafe reminded me of Orlando and its equally shitty Rainforest Cafe that I know and love. I had steak and shrimp that wasn’t very good, the service was slow as molasses, and our waiter seemed to not know what deodorant was, but I loved it all the same.

5. My cousins gave me a plush BB-8–the cutest little thing after Dany cat girl. I love him and he makes noises!

Stuffed BB-8

BB-8 watching the sunset from Newport Beach.

6. Two parks, one day. I’m not a huge fan of cramming two Disney Parks into one day, but staying on Disney property helped in a few ways. Did you know there’s a SPECIAL monorail only available to Disney Hotel guests that goes from inside Downtown Disney to Tomorrowland? Yeah, I had no idea either. And when we boarded the monorail, I knew exactly how Charlie felt when he found his golden fucking ticket and it was wonderful. We shed at least 20 minutes of wait time going on what I now call Disneyland’s Blessing to Baby Jesus.

Disney with Family

Disney with Pascua cousins!

Duck - Thunder Mountain

They had to postpone Thunder Mountain for a few minutes because this little guy was blocking the track. What a quack.

View from Mickey's Fun Wheel

The view from Mickey’s Fun Wheel. Because of its constant back and forth, I almost vomited on all of California Adventure.

Frozen Cousins

At Anna and Elsa’s Boutique with my sis Row and cousin Didi. Frozen 4 ever.

7. Within 12 hours we rode 16 rides covering both parks. My cousin calculated that we walked a total of around 15 miles throughout the whole day! My MyFitnessPal was congratulating me as if I actually ran the 5K!

8. My cousins and I played a version of The Game of Things into the wee hours of the morning. God, I love my family and I love The Game of Things. I lost my voice for a few days from laughing so hard.

9. I was able to eat a Filipino meal with all the fixings while with my cousins. I really missed eating Filipino food, and I really missed being around Filipinos conversing in Tagalog and me having no clue as to what they’re even saying. It was like my childhood all over again!

Eating Filipino Food

Tanola, pansit, lumpia, Filipino barbecue, and lots of other yummy stuff.

I’m hoping my birthday celebrations are a sneak peek at what’s to come for my 26th year of existence. Here’s to it not being complete shit so far!

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Ruminations

I’m back.

I haven’t posted in almost a year, for reasons here and there. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to write down the many floating events in my life in Los Angeles or I’ll forget everything that’s happening all at once.

So stay tuned for what’s to come. (PS I really need a new laptop–I’m still on the janky ASUS from my sophomore year of college. Ugh.)

–M

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TV/Movies

“Scandal” is Crack in A Valentino Suit

Scandal Season 4 Olivia Pope

Seriously, have you watched “Scandal”? I’m late to the party, but I’m handling it.

I’m proud/embarrassed to reveal that my boyfriend and I started and finished all three seasons of “Scandal” in one month. ONE MONTH. That’s a whole lot of shouting, gasps, wine gulping, finger-pointing, and tears. Lots and lots of tears. And blowing of my nose. Yes, I totally cried when you-know-who bites the dust (like half of the cast!). Noooooooo.

Oh Shonda, my Shonda. I would like to send all 14 writers in your writer’s room (yes I did just look at the list of “Scandal” writers on Wikipedia) a gift basket full of home-baked cookies and my dignity.

SEASON 4 started oh-so LIV-idly. I won’t get into any spoilers, but someone may be dead, there are scenes inside the White House, there’s mention of a senator, and there are one or two or three heated exchanges. Sounds about right.

Also, Portia de Saucy’s in this season. I’m so excited she’s joined the cast. After “Better Off Ted” and “Arrested Development” season 4, my mind was taking on a 1920’s paparazzi man’s voice saying, “Portia! Portia! Over here, Portia! Where are you?!” And I’m glad she’s back on the silver screen and can’t wait to see a shouting match between her and Olivia. Shit will go down.

In related news, have you guys read up on the real-life inspiration for Olivia Pope? Judy Smith is the real force to be reckoned with.

Scandal Shonda Rhymes Judy Smith Kerry Washington

What do you think about “Scandal”? Or the new season? Let me know in a comment.

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