A short study hiatus

Pardon me!

No “real” posts until after next Wednesday.

Why? Because that’s the day of my next organic chemistry exam.

Peace!

(P.S: Those of you who told me that ochem was easy… I find that you are incorrect.)

 

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I have an Asian nightmare

I had a horrible nightmare the other night:

Oh wait. It doesn’t stop there. It gets better.

My sleepy subconscious was in legitimate agony. Yeesh. Dreams are weird.

Speaking of dreams, I forgot to mention here what is old news to my friends: one of my dreams is, indeed, coming true!

At the beginning of this semester, I applied for one of Northeastern’s Dialogue of Civilizations programs. These programs, exclusive to NU, are kind of like a summer study abroad, except with a much greater focus on cultural immersion and experience rather than just taking courses in a different country. For example, there are Dialogues where kids learn about healthcare in Australia, micro-financing in Cuba, or photography in Italy.

I applied for the Language Immersion Dialogue to Japan.

It was a bit of a long shot, actually. I’m just a freshman. My Japanese, when I applied, was… rusty. So when I went to interview for the program, I kind of freaked out:

But… I guess I did okay! Because, last month, I got an e-mail…

I was accepted! Oh my goodness gracious, I was accepted. I couldn’t believe it!

Especially because I’m the only freshman going on the trip. Everybody else is an upperclassman. I just… can’t… I don’t…

So this summer, from May 11th to June 19th, one of my longtime dreams is finally coming true. I’m going to Japan! 日本に行く!I’m still in shock, really. The best part is that my scholarship pays the tuition costs– so I’ll only have to pay about $700 instead of $10,000. Not a bad deal, for sure.

And this time, I’ll remember my camera!

Now for an “art” interlude

Hello!

Pardon me– I’ve been mad busy lately with, you know, life. Classes are, as always, a pain. And I’ve discovered a dangerous thing called “Tetris Battle.” (DO NOT PLAY IT. DO NOT. YOU WILL PLAY AND PLAY AND NEVER STOP.)

Here’s a bit of art I’ve made in the meantime, however– I’ve had the urge to mess around on Photoshop for a while, and finally got the chance to this weekend!

Just some of the less comicky stuff I do. Cheers!

Pink plastic poser

Way back when, I bought a longboard.

I bought it with the intention of using it for transportation, and I had a blast learning how to ride it. Longboarding is fun! Nothing can beat the feeling of cruising smoothly down the street.

Except I soon discovered one logistical problem:

My longboard is huge. Like, really long. It’s over half my height. Riding my longboard is fine. It’s when I carry it that it becomes difficult:

Or when I try to go shopping:

My longboard, while lovely, is simply too impractical. (Nor is it a particularly great longboard. The trucks creak and barely carve. The bearings are terrible, so that the wheels barely spin. In other words, I can barely turn or move.) I decided it was time for an upgrade.

I had to do some research, of course. I tried to use the internet. But I found out that skateboards are more complicated than I thought.

The internet was not going to help me much on this one. I decided I needed some help up-close and personal. I quickly looked up skateboard shops around Boston and decided on my criteria: small, lightweight, a smooth ride, good for getting around town…

First up was a store called “Blvd,” a small skateboard shop on the swag Newbury Street. The guy was really friendly and helpful:

Nearly $200! There was only one correct reaction to this news:

So that was a no. I was hoping that perhaps that was the upper price range for a good skateboard. Newbury Street is notoriously expensive, after all. Hopes still up, I hunted down an even smaller skateboard shop called the Beacon Hill Skate Shop. After a couple hours of wandering, I finally found it in a shadier corner of Boston.

And shadier it was. Rather than the polished look of Blvd, it was a tiny room haphazardly crammed with all sorts of skate stuff. Not just skateboards, but roller skates, ice skates, and the like.

The owner was an old, gruff guy who wasn’t nearly as friendly as the first guy.

But perhaps what was most off about this store was the cat. The cat. Omigosh.

The (only) cruiser board that the owner had to offer would run me $190, anyway. Even more expensive than the last shop. I’ll pass.

I was losing hope. I searched for a shop called “Board Room Boston” that claimed to be in the Financial District, but had in fact been turned into a hair salon.

And finally, I visited a specialty shoe store. It was down the street from my dorm, and claimed to stock a few skateboards in addition to the latest, greatest, freshest sneakers.

I was just about losing hope. But the guy in the last store– the shoe store– gave me a tip. He asked me if I might be interested in a “penny board.” Of course, I had no idea what he was talking about. It was time to return to the internet.

Penny boards, as I soon found out, are these tiny little plastic cruisers sold by an Australian company. They seemed to be everything I was looking for: small, light, durable (though plastic, they can be ran over by cars without snapping) and are designed for smooth transportation.

And as I searched on Amazon, I found an even better deal: stereo vinyl cruisers, which are essentially the same thing but cost a bit cheaper. And they come with stickers and sunglasses. I WANTED ONE. I WANTED ONE SO BAD.

After a great deal of agonizing and rationalizing and pros-and-cons-ing, I decided to get it. I could even choose what color I wanted! Except on Amazon, for some reason, the pink skateboard was twenty dollars cheaper than every other color. Twenty dollars. I thus ordered the pink one. (Though the green one was pretty rad.)

Once again, Amazon shipped it in a box way too big for such a small item:

And I had to buy new bearings for it, too. (Reviewers online said that the board’s bearings were terrible, and it was absolutely true– when I got the board, the wheels barely spun.) It’s okay, I used the twenty dollars I saved to get a new set of Bones Reds bearings.

The board also comes with some decorative stickers:

And a fashionable pair of “sunnies”!

So ended my journey for a new skateboard! Hours of research, traveling, contemplating, comparing, all culminating into… this.

I have gone from

all the way down to

Oh yeah, can’t forget the helmet:

And my sunnies:

But dang. This board is awesome. It carves and rolls like a pink little dream. It’s perfect! Well, except for the fact that I can barely ride it at all.

I guess going from a too-big longboard to a miniature cruiser is quite an adjustment. It’s gonna take some doing before I feel comfortable enough to ride it around. It’s okay. I love it anyway. What’s not to love about a neon pink plastic anything?

Case in point.

I’m gonna be a judo master (once I learn to, uh, roll on the ground)

I’ve always wanted to learn a martial art.

I’m going to admit that it’s partially because of comics. When your first manga (which I read at the tender age of 7) was about badass cyborg hunter-warriors beating the bloody crap out of each other, the ability to fight would seem desirable.

When I was in middle school, in fact, I coerced my parents into signing me up for a karate class. Except it was Tiger Schulmann’s Karate, a large mixed martial arts chain in my region. I soon discovered that the class was more about building little kids’ self-esteem than actually learning karate. Kids advanced belts depending on how long they had been at the dojo and not so much on skill. When I got there, I was already better than many of the kids. (Just because I was older and more coordinated, and they were like, 6 years old.) And, being in my cynical pre-teen years, I quickly tired of my “sensei” preaching the value of believing in myself.

And then I transferred to another dojo that was so hardcore I was scared out of my mind. Thus ended my venture into karate.

But now, I’m a bit more mature.  I understand that martial arts takes commitment. It takes practice and refinement. I’m old enough to understand that I won’t be able to learn it instantly.

And I’m still immature enough to want to beat the crap out of people.

Well, okay, only in self-defense and if they attack me first. But living in a city– I’d like to know how to defend myself, you know?

So this semester, I signed up for one of Northeastern’s instructional programs, for judo. For those who don’t know what judo is, it’s a modern and combative martial art that focuses on grappling rather than striking. It’s been refined into a competitive sport, complete with rules, a scoring system, and an official slot at the Olympics. Northeastern has a team, which appealed to me– I could be able to pursue judo beyond just a basic class!

Granted, of course, that I survive.

I’ve been to a few classes, and it’s hysterically fun. I also suck at it. Our sensei is a large man from Thailand who resembles a giant panda (one that could kill you in an instant, of course)

He’s a hilarious guy, though absolutely serious about his sport. Some of the stories he’s told us…

Cheerful. Then again, it’s entirely true. Judo is a sport of throwing. If you can’t protect yourself when you’re thrown, you could be seriously injured. Our sensei also told us how

So far, then, we’ve primarily been learning how to, well, roll on the ground. Which sounds like it’s easy. Except I suck at it. No kidding– I’m the worst in the class.

Oh, sigh. Sensei even had to defend me:

It matters little, though. I’ve never really had much natural athletic ability– I’m the type who needs lots and lots and lots of practice. So I’ll get better! And I love the class– it’s surprisingly fun! While we spent the first class rolling and learning how to fall, we moved onto something a little different the second class:

Even more awkward was when I was paired up with a guy:

Even more awkward was when we learned our first grapple hold:

But the class is really, really fun! I absolutely love it, even if I do suck. I just wish I had more free time to practice. Because I definitely need to catch up with the rest of the class…

One of these days, I tell you! I will be a JUDO MASTER!

Gym rivalries

I go to the gym regularly enough. You know, healthy mind, healthy body, yada yada yada.

And when you go to the gym often enough, you start to notice certain patterns. Consistencies. The same type of person, over and over again. Every time I went to the gym back at home, I would always see these people:

And, of course,

Now I’m in college, though. Northeastern’s gyms are not nearly as diverse. Mostly we’re filled with

And with this new population, I’ve noticed a sort of…contention between fellow exercisers. Correct me if I’m wrong, but did it ever seem like people sometimes compete with each other?

Or the weight room. Oh, the weight room. They’re always full of guys working their biceps and triceps and the like, trying to show each other up with larger and larger weights.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Staying in shape is admirable, after all. Though I get a bit uncomfortable when I find myself coerced into an unintentional race. Especially because I suck at running. When I did track and field in middle school, I stuck to long jump.

But those are just my offhand observations as I attempt to stay fit! Hopefully I can drop those several pounds I gained over the holidays. Oh home cooking, why must you be so delicious?