happy halloween!

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Do you guys celebrate Halloween? I thought I should share this spooky-ish jumping photo of me at Baker Beach yesterday. Not quiet sure what happened here, might have been too much sun. Ha! My cousin Tina from New Orleans was here for the weekend and we were such busy bees trying to soak in as much of our indian summer as possible. And we may have eaten way too many pastries and sweets.

I hope you have a fun and safe Halloween!

Oh, and I really love this artwork too.

the sweetest gift

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I thought I should take a trip down memory lane. Remember this scene? Could there be a sweeter gift to a book lover than her very own library? Yeah, I thought not. Which is probably the reason why Beauty and the Beast will always be special to me. It was also the first animated movie that I watched over and over again when I was little and nearly memorized every word of it.

And how cute was this moment at the library when Belle was reading aloud a chapter of Romeo and Juliet and he was just gazing adorably at her?

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P.S. You can watch these library scenes here and here. (Prepare to swoon)

Murakami, 1Q84



"It just happens to be the way that I'm made. I have to write things down to feel I fully comprehend them." 

One of my favorite Murakami quotes, in honor of today's US release of 1Q84, which is considered by many as his magnum opus. While some of Murakami's novels are too tedious and slow for me, the ones that I love, I really do love, especially his essays and short stories. There is definitely something about his writing style that is very calming and surreal, sort of like entering into a magical dream space.

As for 1Q84, I saw it at the bookstore today and it is very beautiful.  The only hesitation that I have is the weight (its hardbound, 900+ pages) and the fact that I'm also currently reading another heavy book. It took a lot of self-control to put it back on the shelf but I did pick up The Book Thief on impulse. You see, I really have a problem leaving a bookstore empty-handed and its getting to be an expensive habit. Sigh.

You can read more of 1Q84 from this NPR book review here. And is anyone else planning to read this book soon? We can start a little book club.

Photo via here

october views, instagram

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picnic

A harvest party at the park. Friends, wine, and a game of mancala.

I am feeling under the weather these days, not quiet sure what ails me. Perhaps I just need sleep, less caffeine, and more exercise. And maybe I should take my vitamins too, while we're at it. I'm working on getting a regular sleeping routine, turning off my computer and putting my phone away at 11:00 really helps.

Still reading Anna Karenina before bedtime. I am now in the middle of Book 3 (the novel has 8 parts) and I'm completely fascinated by this world that they live in. Reading this book every night is like slowly getting to know (potential) friends and I have a feeling that I will really have a hard time saying goodbye to these characters.

How about you? How is October treating you so far?

P.S. Have a listen to one of my favorite bands, Little Joy. Hope you like it!

Little Joy :: Unattainable

the science of sleep

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I have such fond memories watching Michael Gondry's The Science of Sleep that even if I can't remember what the story was all about, I still consider it one of my favorite films. All I know is that it was strange and whimsical and I was so ridiculously happy when I left the theater after watching it. I mean, how cute is that imaginary pony!

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And while we're on this topic, I've also been thinking a lot about sleep lately. Or rather, how much I need sleep. I don't think I have insomnia because I can fall asleep really easily if I want to but there's this stubborn part of me that refuses to sleep early and just think that I can stay up until 1 or 2 am and still be functioning well the next day. Unfortunately, I tend to do most of my writing late at night so that's not helping either.

Do any of you also feel this way? Like you are constantly sleep deprived and depend on caffeine to help get through your work day? I'm curious to know what are other people's sleeping routines or how they deal with lack of sleep, especially since most bloggers and creative types that I know told me that they are most productive at night.

(Film stills from here, gif image from here)

ryan gosling + feminism

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Oh man. Ryan Gosling and Foucault in one image? There goes my heart. Especially after watching Ides of March last weekend, which was completely unplanned but we saw this movie poster as soon as we walked into the theater and that was it.

The image above was taken from Feminist Ryan Gosling, a blog inspired by the famous Tumblr meme "Hey Girl", which is also dedicated to the actor. And no, he did not actually say that quote but I'm not complaining. I get to brush up on my feminist theories AND stare at Mr. Gosling's beautiful face? Yes, please.

This site was created by Danielle Henderson, a graduate student in Gender and Women's Studies, who started it "as a joke for my friends and I to keep track of the theorists we’re currently studying." I think its pretty clever, ironic, and hilarious.

And oh, if that's not enough, Mr. Gosling was indeed quoted on something (feminist) swoon-worthy when he said this about Blue Valentine's NC-17 rating:

“You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario, which is both complicit and complex. It’s misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman’s sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film.” (read full article here)

So basically, he is awesome, that Ryan Gosling.

have a lovely autumn weekend.

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What are you guys up to this weekend? I plan to do a lot of cleaning around here and add more colors in my apartment. This is a vase that I bought for a dollar at a flea market in Oregon. It is just the perfect size and I love that I don't have to spend a lot of money on flowers to fill it, just a blossom or two can transform the entire room.

Also, here are some inspiring links that I wanted to share with you:

A very thoughtful essay about writing in notebooks by Charles Simic. (via English Muse)

This performance by Metallica with the San Francisco Symphony gave me goosebumps.

I love, love, love almost everything in this list.

Gorgeous photos from a new-to-me blog by the Japanese brand LyricisM.

I found my winter fashion inspiration from this lookbook. (via The Clothes Horse)

Have a great one! And thanks for visiting me this week. xo

october views: lingering in happiness

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This in-between time when the weather can't quiet make up its mind yet. And once again, I'm chasing the sun, seabound. A guy with his guitar, serenading the sunset, may be one of the sweetest things I've heard in awhile.

The type of work that I do involves dealing with other people's suffering and sometimes its easy to get weighed down by it all. But I have to dwell on the things that bring me joy or I'll end up going home feeling tired and defeated all the time.

Tonight, I had such a wonderful evening hearing Mary Oliver read her poetry at a local theater. She is truly a gifted writer and I am still floating in the air, my heart full with everything that she shared with us. I never even knew about this reading until today, only to find out that the tickets were already sold out. But I called the box office anyway and what do you know, someone donated a ticket this afternoon and I got the last one!

When she read one of my favorites, Wild Geese, I had tears streaming down my face. Her words still ring so true to me as when I first read it, especially these lines:

"Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things."


Big hugs, my friends. I hope the sun is also shining where you are.

here's looking at you, kid.

casablanca

Humprey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman filming Casablanca.

Over the weekend I re-watched this movie, and realized that it's still one of my favorites. And may be the best ending (and line) for me. It's true, no one does it quiet like Bogie. He truly is the epitome of Old Hollywood's leading man.

As Time Goes By :: Casablanca

beautiful, beautiful words

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From The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands by Nick Flynn.

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Fortune cookie messages, mine is the one at the bottom. 

the season of reading

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Lately I've been so inspired by these images from the Japanese clothing label Syrup.  Reading in open fields, cozying up with books and tea in bed, simple cotton dresses and beautiful, beautiful sweaters. All so dreamy, yes? They make me excited to dress for autumn and line up all the books and magazines that I want to read in the weeks ahead.

Here's my current bedside table inhabitants:
I Will Never Forget You, photographs and unpublished letters between Frida Kahlo and photographer Nickolas Muray - very fascinating (and sad) love story!
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
The Fact of the Doorframe by Adrienne Rich
19 Varieties of a Gazelle by Naomi Shihab Nye
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

What are you reading these days?

(All photos from Syrup)

today's inspiration

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"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."

-- Steve Jobs, Stanford University commencement speech (Read full script here)

The co-founder of Apple and Pixar Studios died today after battling cancer for years.

RIP, Mr. Jobs. Thank you.

at the intersection of word and worlds

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Here I am at City Lights Bookstore again. Some of you will recognize this bookstore because I talk about it a lot, especially their Poetry Room. Its probably no coincidence that it was one of the first places that I wanted to see when I first came to the city, inspired by Jack Kerouac and the writers of the Beat Generation.

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Aside from its cultural history, City Lights is also an intersection of sorts where North Beach and Chinatown meet. I've always been fascinated by the stark difference between these two neighborhoods, a contrast that is even more striking when you look at it from the Poetry Room window. On one side are the Italian cafes and Victorian houses and on the other are old downtown apartments and restaurants in Chinatown.

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Here are some photos that I took from the upstairs Poetry Room window.

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One time, I was sitting by the window and found myself wondering about the people living in this apartment building that I even wrote a poem about it. What are their lives like? Do they look out of their windows to see people reading inside the bookstore? 

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There are those places that speak to us in the most ordinary ways and here is one of mine. And for as long as I can remember, I always seem to do a lot of writing here or at a nearby coffee shop.  How about you, where is your special/ordinary place?

making me happy

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Taking photos with my old Polaroid camera and this film from The Impossible Project. My first shot is a chalkboard on my kitchen wall. Its overexposed but I like it anyway.

I've been practicing how to write kanji on this chalkboard. This kanji character means koufuku or happiness. I also started a little diary in Japanese. My entries are all short, something like "Today I went to the beach with a friend. I saw the sunset."

It's a very slow process, almost meditative, and I really enjoy it. Someday, I hope to read Japanese poetry without the English translation, especially haiku.

Other things that's making me happy lately:
Sunny days and wearing flip-flops in October
Committing to read Anna Karenina
Going to church for the first time in months
Making chai tea from scratch
Talking to my sisters on the phone
Dreams of travel

How about you, what's making you happy lately?