4 x This Week: Cringing, Worth Living For and Peppermint

Doughnut from General Porpoise
This photo is at the top of this post simply because it is the most aesthetically pleasing. But also this doughnut is delicious.

This post was originally going to be gloomier but for some reason turned out a bit bubbly? Not sure how that happened.

Well, maybe bubbly isn’t the right word. But there are walnuts. And doughnuts. And peppermint.

**1**

Do you ever suddenly remember something embarrassing you said in the past and then sit there cringing in shame? I do. All the time. Especially when my roommates are gone. Then it’s just me and my thoughts, and it is not good.

**2**

I just bought a new loaf of bread the other day. It’s a generic brand but it has walnuts in it. Walnuts! Can you believe it? I LOVE bread with nuts in it. Currently it makes my days worth living for.

Also good? Miraculous Ladybug. If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry about it.

**3**

My friend and I have realized that we have a system for Sundays:

  1. Go to General Porpoise for doughnuts.
  2. Work on homework at General Porpoise. Usually a mix of physical computing (which she doesn’t like), resumes/job applications/professional development (which I don’t like). It’s funny because people always ask us what we’re doing messing with wires and stuff, and I wanna say, “Dude, I don’t even know,” but we manage somehow. It’s kinda fun. The physical computing, not the resumes.

    Arduino Build
    It looks like this.
  3. After that, possibly Salt & Straw ice cream, depending on the week. I used to eat it all the time in Portland, so it’s nice that there’s one in Seattle too.
  4. By then we usually realize we need real food, so we bus back to campus and by gyros/shawarma. Twice we’ve gotten some sort of brunch food instead, but for the most part it’s shawarma. Then we retreat to the library’s writing center to eat and do more homework.

… I realize I usually go to church on Sundays too but I’ve become a bit lax on that. Oops.

**4**

I was going to put some stuff in here about wanting to say I’m an artist or graphic designer but not feeling good enough to do so and feeling like an imposter, but instead I will tell you the secret to life:

Peppermint tea.

Okay, okay, so it’s not the secret to life, necessarily, but it’s great for plenty of reasons. Want to relax? Peppermint tea. Stomach hurts? Peppermint tea. Want a drink that feels both cool and hot at the same time? Peppermint tea. Want a tea that doesn’t get bitter the longer you steep it? Peppermint tea. Want to know what I’m drinking as I type this?

P E P P E R M I N T   T E A .

I don’t know if I can say it’s my favorite tea, but it’s definitely up there—and there is always a box around my house, without fail. It’s like winter in a cup when I can’t have winter.

I miss winter. *sigh*

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4 x This Week: Brush Pens, Drawing Tablets, and Sister + Sushi

Girl Profile in Ink
I love brush pens! But I suck at drawing profiles. Boo.

This week’s 4x post has two images in it instead of one– really going all out today.

I’m testing out posting on Tuesdays, though I think I’ll move it back to Mondays next time around. Recapping the week on a Tuesday just feels odd.

**1**

My sister visited over a few days plus the weekend, so that was nice. I missed her so much! Mostly when we get together we just eat food. Favorite restaurant is Japonessa in downtown Seattle for sushi, yummmm.

She lives in Arizona right now for school, and she doesn’t like it much. I didn’t like it much when I was there either. Sorry, Arizona.

**2**

I’m drawing more! Or at least I’m trying to. I really love brush pens, but my hands are shaky, so mastering them is definitely a work in progress.

I also borrowed a Wacom Cintiq drawing tablet from my school and OH MY GOD I’M IN LOVE. Currently I own the Intuos, but it’s pretty basic, and you can’t see your screen on the tablet with one of those. The Cintiq I borrowed was the 13HD with a touchscreen. Oh man. My lines are so smooth. Everything is so beautiful. I mean, look at this:

Sketching with a Wacom Cintiq Tablet

I want one so badly! But it’ll be bad if I get too used to it, because I soooo can’t afford one right now.

**3**

Just found out that Microsoft Word can read your documents to you. Isn’t that amazing? I can clearly remember a few years ago when I wanted something like this for reading the stories I wrote back to me, but was disappointed when it didn’t exist/wasn’t accessible.

But now it’s real! It’s happening! And my writing has never sounded weirder.

**4**

I also saw Infinity War. It was good.

Very good.

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4 x This Week: We’re Alive (Probably), Missing Winter and Introvert Problems

Me, as described by a manga speech bubble
Figure A: an accurate description of Jackie.

Hello hello hello~ It’s been a while, hasn’t it? As you might have guessed, I’m starting up these 4 x This Week posts again. Woot.

Unfortunately, however, it’s not going to be very exciting this time around. Or particularly long. Why? Well, young audience members of mine: it’s 11:43 p.m., I’m sleepy, I’ve been babysitting the members of my class project group all week, life is fluctuating between yay and meh and dear God no (but mostly the last two), and if I write too much right now I might accidentally flood you with all my pent-up anguish.

All right, all right, I’m just bein’ dramatic.

Mostly.

Anyway:

**1**

I miss winter so, so much. And autumn. Typically it’s just about missing the cold air, or raindrops—crunchy leaves, cups of tea. I’m also a big fan of soup, which isn’t really a summer food.

But this time around it’s different. Why? Because this is the last winter I get to spend in college. Which I like. And this summer I have to go home. Again. Do you remember what happened last summer when I went home? If you don’t, there’s a 4x post about it.

It wasn’t fun.

Cue existential dread.

**2**

My friend and I were doing a photoshoot this past weekend (we’ve been doing a lot of them recently, I realize)—I take the shots, usually. It’s fun, and I could always use some extra practice behind the lens.

But you know what makes me really happy as a photographer? Window lighting. So gorgeous. So dramatic. It makes me look more pro than I actually am.

I also like bricks. Bricks are a fun background.

**3**

I am a 22-year-old adult in college, and you know what scares me the most?

Professor: “Get into groups.”
Me: *looks around* *sweats*

**4**

On the bright side, the writing’s going well. Sometimes I wonder if I write better when I’m really stressed. Because my characters are usually pretty stressed. So I probably write their stress better when I am also stressed.

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That’s it for this week, I guess. Nothing too fancy.

I’m going to try to establish these as a Monday thing. Maybe Tuesday? Still deliberating on that one. But I’ll try to be cheerier next week… probably.

4 x This Week: Erasers, Karaoke (not), Inktober, and Two Books Instead of One

Mono Eraser
It has possibly changed my life forever

I think I’m going back to putting these posts on Monday. Sunday is just  a better reflection day for me, so.

**1**

Can we talk about erasers for a second? Yes, erasers. Because I finally caved and bought a Mono eraser on Saturday, and I understand now. I understand. Not that I’ve tried out that many erasers, but it’s hands down the best eraser I’ve ever used.

**2**

I’ve started drawing for inktober, hence the need for the new eraser (am I supposed to capitalize that? Inktober?) I’ll be putting my drawings up on Instagram and the blog from now on. I’m trying to limit the time I spend drawing to somewhere between thirty minutes to an hour each.

Also, my hands are pretty shaky. I forgot about that until I started drawing in ink again.

**3**

I’m not fond of singing in public, and thus am not the first one to volunteer for karaoke. But it seems fun I guess? Maybe. My friends and family all like it. But anyway, one of said friends asked me once what my go-to karaoke song is. Of course I didn’t really know, ‘cause I don’t sing. But the first few things that popped into my head were Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi (which is too high for me to sing), My Way by Frank Sinatra (because I know all the words for some reason…?) and In the End by Black Veil Brides (which is… not an option).

I’m gonna have to think on that one.

Anyway, karaoke has taught me that I also know the words to a lot of old songs. Compared to my peers, anyway.

**4**

I didn’t buy the book that I mentioned last week, but ended up buying two books by Joseph Cambell  (Primitive Mythology and Oriental Mythology) instead. Why, me, why?

I could not resist.

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4 x This Week: Back in Seattle, Inktober (question mark?) and Craving a Book

Seattle Sunset
Look how pretty!

Back again. And on a Wednesday, no less. And on a school day. Sigh.

**1**

I’m back in Seattle! And I start school today, as I have mentioned earlier. Everything in Washington is so beautiful. Sorry Phoenix. I miss the trees.

**2**

There was a book I ran across at the book store that I reeeeeally want to buy. Like, the summary and I just clicked, you know? And I almost purchased it even though I told myself I’d try not to impulse buy books. Plus, this book is pretty new and is $25. (Probably would be like $18 if I bought it on Amazon, but I want to support my local independent bookstore, damn it.)

So… check back with me next week. I might be $25 in the hole by then.

**3**

I’m thinking about doing inktober this year, which is saying something because I am historically bad at doing these kinds of challenges. Remember the 30-ish day drawing challenge? The one that I never finished? Which was about the same length as the month of October?

Yeah, me neither.

I keep saying I’m “thinking about it” even though I just bought new drawing pens and markers. You’re such a hypocrite, me.

Anyway, we’ll see how this one goes.

**4**

Earlier I mentioned that I’m back in school, so I thought I’d talk a bit about the future here. I’m going to keep trying to do these 4x posts, though it may drop down to every other week, since school makes me quite busy. Not that anyone cares, probably. These posts reach, like, what, two people?

Sorry, sorry, that’s just me being salty. Anyway, I don’t want to drop these posts completely because I think it’s good for me to meditate over what happens to me every week, even if it’s not particularly exciting. So I’ll carry on, I guess. Though it will probably  be

much

much

slower.

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4 x This Week: Piano/String Cover Music, More Books, and Suddenly Weirdly Creative

Warcross and Caraval and a Reflection
Warcross from last week, Caraval from two weeks ago. And look, I caught their reflection! So fancy.

Once again I have skipped a week, but I’m back. Mostly.

**1**

First, some music. Recently I discovered some awesome piano/string covers by Sam Yung on YouTube, which made my day. The first one I listened to was the cover of Hikari from the Kingdom of Hearts soundtrack, but I also love the Paramore and PVRIS covers. And just, like, everything.

**2**

BOOKS! Finished two good ones: Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee, which I’ve been excited about since forever but finally got around to this week, and Warcross by Marie Lu, which I devoured in one day.

**3**

I’ll be out of Phoenix by this Tuesday and back in Washington. I’m not gonna miss the heat, but I will miss my sister :(

I will also miss the time away from the drama that is my household. I guess I’ll be going back to Seattle and college and all by next Sunday, so I won’t be “home” long, but still.

**4**

I had a weird burst of creativeness today (or Sunday, I guess, since this is going up Monday?), the kind of happy-but-almost-sad-high I typically get right before I get sick. I don’t know if that makes any sense. It kinda feels like the way your stomach drops when you stand on a cliff or a high building and take in a gorgeous view.

I don’t really know why that makes me happy—the feeling before I gets sick, I mean—but my theory is that it reminds me of when I was a child and got sick, and thus got to stay home. It’s weird, though, because if I feel ill in any other ways I usually hate it and have panic attack. I’m not good with my body shutting down. But when I feel specifically like this, I don’t know, it just puts me in a writing mood for some reason.

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4 x This Week (Well, More Like 8): Books, Fake Languages, and Dying Inside More Than Once

Well, I’ve missed two Mondays now. The first time around I just forgot, and then I got caught up reading a new book, and then yesterday I thought it was Sunday. So, congratulations me. You are completely not on the ball.

As such, I’m going to mention eight notable things instead of four. Sorry in advance, this is gonna be a bit long.

(Aaand no picture this week. Sue me.)

**1**

I read Caraval by Stephanie Garber and I really liked it (which, if you remember, is why I forgot to post.) When I read it I thought it was up my alley, and I’m glad I wasn’t disappointed. Because if I had been disappointed, well, that would have sucked. Anyway, I loved the way the book was written. Apparently the prose bothers some people, but I like that kind of purpley-ness.

**2**

Need a fake language for your book, or just because? Well, a fake language generator exists. It’s called Vulgar, and it’s so much fun to mess around with.

**3**

At first I thought the sound of Paramore’s newest album After Laughter wasn’t really my thing. But then one day I was listening to it again while doing dishes and reevaluating my life, and suddenly I found the lyrics relevant to my life. Like, eerily relevant.

The songs “Pool” and “26” are still my favorite though.

**4**

Apparently I have a thing about people looking at my laptop screen over my shoulder. Like, whenever someone passes behind me while I’m on my laptop, I feel the need to hide whatever I’m doing and look at a blank tab or something. Even if I’m typing something like this blog post, which will be public anyway, or homework, which is useless for spying.

So, for future reference, anybody who reads this and meets me in real life: please do not look at my screen. I beg of you.

Times I’ve died inside: x + 1, where x = the number of times the people around me decided to creep up behind me.

**5**

My laptop has officially stopped recognizing DVDs. I’m crying inside.

But the day I replace my laptop (aka MY IRREPLACEABLE LIFE BLOOD) over this is the day I eat my socks.

Times I’ve died inside: well, since my laptop is  everything essential to my well-being and existence, I’d say about 1,000 times.

**6**

I decided to take the “Ash challenge” while playing Pokemon Fire Red again. According to the challenge I have to a) only use Pokemon that Ash caught in the anime, b) catch a pikachu as soon as possible and always keep it in my party, and c) give away any Pokemon that are given to me. I’m thinking about not following this last one, though, because I need a Lapras.

**7**

Sometimes I wish I was really into genre fiction. You know, like I wish I was obsessed with medieval fantasy or something like that, because then I’d have a near-constant stream of like items that make me happy.

Alas, it is not so.

**8**

I watched a few minutes from the live-action Death Note that Netflix released and almost died inside. And not in a good way.

I’ll get back to you when I actually finish the movie. If I finish the movie.

Times I’ve died inside: you have no idea. And I only saw a few minutes.

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4 x This Week: Help I Hate My Characters, More Ambient Music, Shepherd’s Pie, and a Tongue Twister

Monday. 2:54 a.m. Nearly forgot to write this post. So a-here-we-go~

**1**

I’m hitting a bit of a writing wall right now, mostly because of some character things. I may write a longer post about it this week, but for now I’ll try to summarize. Lately none of my characters have been clicking for me, and there have been certain points in time when I’ve just hated all of them. Like, what used to excite me about them has suddenly vanished into thin air. After some introspection, I realized this is likely due to events in my own life—but how so, you may ask?

Well, it has come to my attention that the way I perceive my characters is directly related to the way I perceive people in general—not specific people, mind you, but humanity as a whole. Lately, however, certain people in my life have lessened my opinion of relationships (not necessarily romantic) and other people in general. You know how it is—you run into someone who is so infuriating or downright evil that it makes you want to tear your hair out. So opposite your own soul that you cannot believe they actually exist. So present that it makes you question the sincerity of every other person you have met or ever will meet.

Perhaps that is an exaggeration, but you get the idea. Because of personal issues I am dealing with, the characters in my writing are suffering. And, as you may know, writing is usually a pretty personal experience.

My characters now seem too… optimistic about encountering other characters, whereas I suddenly find myself more pessimistic about meeting new people. This also comes at a crucial time when my main character is supposed to be forming her friendships, and creating lasting bonds—something that is now difficult for me.

For a moment I considered taking a break from writing my main work and focusing on some other side thing, but I felt a little better about my characters today than I did yesterday. Mostly I think it’s just personal stuff I need to sort through.

The most interesting thing about this whole experience is probably that I never realized just how closely my characters were connected to my own state of being. Whether or not that is a good thing, well, I guess I’ll find out in the weeks to come.

**2**

Flipping the switch here, I’m always looking for ambient, soundtrack-like music, particularly when I’m writing. Some time ago I posted about jazzhop or something like that. This week it’s, let’s see—“chillstep,” which I guess is like dubstep, but… chill; lofi (lofi hip hop?); and some trap-Japanese mix, which sounds weird (I mean the name, not the actual music), but is good.

**3**

I tend to make this shepherd’s pie a lot, using this recipe. Just made one today, actually.

**4**

Tongue twister I heard somewhere that my sister and I quote a lot:

How many Lowe’s could Rob Lowe rob if Rob Lowe could rob Lowe’s?

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4 x This Week: Sickness Strikes (or the Blood Moon?), Puppet-Jackie, and Email Paranoia

Concrete Ceiling and Fan
I’ve become well-acquainted with this ceiling fan. It spins right above where I sleep, as well as where I stare when I’m contemplating the complexities of my existence.
I’m kidding. Sort of.

Ahahaha, you may have thought you were rid of me, seeing as I didn’t post last week. But I am back, and just as scintillating as ever.

(And by scintillating, I mean gray. As gray as the ceiling in my sister’s apartment. But you know, same.)

**1**

I’ve been sick (hence the no-show last Monday). For one day it was something flu-like, then it was something heat exhaustion-like, and then a headache that might be related to that time of the month when the blood moon is out, if you get what I mean wink-wink-nudge-nudge.

Plus, we’re out of bottled water.

*dies*

**2**

Last week I was gonna post this, but then I got sick, but I guess I’ll post it anyway.

There’s a person staying over with my sister and I who I don’t get along with, and I don’t know what I was expecting but we still don’t get along. Actually, she may have gotten worse. Problem, though, this person is family and technically holds power over me since she’s older, familial piety, etc. etc. Do I hate it? Yeah. Because I don’t let anyone else talk to me the way she does. But for some reason I have to give her an exception. Only family can get away with it, I guess, because I’m stuck with them and I am dependent until I get out of college.

So I guess it’s time for puppet-Jackie to come back out and pretend to be a good little doll, or cut the strings and get trampled.

A bit dramatic, now that I look back. Problem has been resolved (ish), though there’s like a 99% chance that if we meet up again, we’ll still argue.

Sigh. I wish we could all get along. Truly I do.

**3**

Sometimes I wonder if my email is glitchy and I’m secretly not getting important emails.

**4**

A thought on these 4x posts: should I split up the 4x? Like, maybe split this up so that each part occurs on a different day of the week? The posts would be shorter, but they’d be way more frequent, perhaps more than would make most people comfortable.

(And by “most” I mean the small percentage of people who actually read this. If anyone reads this. If you are reading this, well then, I raise my teacup to you, sir.)

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4 x This Week: Jazzhop, Mean Dreams, Recycling Gods, and Baked Salmon

Books: York and The Night Circus
York by Laura Ruby and The Night Cirucs by Erin Morgenstern. One’s an “about time I read this” and the other’s an “about time I reread this.” The last one’s a journal. No significance. She’s only there for aesthetic purposes.

This week’s picture I chose because I liked it. No other reason. I haven’t even started reading York yet, but it’s on my list, okay?

But just look at that typography. So gorgeous.

**1**

First off, let’s start with some atmosphere. For the past few days I’ve been listening to jazz-adjacent instrumental music. And by jazz-adjacent, I mean in the realm of “jazzhop” or “jazzy hip hop” or “lounge music,” according to the videos. I dunno, the category of  jazz has always been fairly nebulous to me, because one minute you’re at cocktail piano levels, the next you’re nearer to swing, and then maybe smooth jazz, or even ragtime, and those all sound pretty different. Wikipedia has this list of jazz subgenres, in which jazzhop does not appear. Which is kind a sad, because the name jazzhop has grown on me.

But anyway, there’s like eight hours of jazzhop on these three videos:

I’m also really fond of this Studio Ghibli jazz covers collection.

Really good for studying/focusing/writing or whatever.

And if you’re looking for a new show to watch and you really appreciate this jazzhop vibe, may I recommend an anime called K (sometimes called K Project). Great jazz hop-ish soundtrack, also really like the color tints they add to the animation.

**2**

Rant. I had a dream a few days ago where an internship that I had applied to (in-dream) called me back and told me I got the job, and it was in L.A., and I went, and I think I was involved in product design, and me and my coworkers made grilled cheese sandwiches in the break room. I woke up once again jobless and without grilled cheese, and so far it’s one of the meanest dreams I’ve ever had.

**3**

This may be a Pacific Northwest thing, but having stayed in Phoenix for some time now, I have to ask: why no recycling? I feel a bit snotty saying this, but I guess I’m more environmentally-aware than I’d previously thought (or more privileged in that recycling cans in Seattle are everywhere). Let me break it down for you.

I a) cannot drink the tap water in Phoenix because it is not 100% savory and is not 100% unquestionable, according to my sister, so I have to b) buy bottled water, whose bottles I c) then have to throw away because d) I cannot find a recycling bin in my sister’s entire apartment complex.

It’s official. I have taken recycling for granted. I apologize to the recycling gods for the sheer number of plastic bottles I have sent down the trash chute.

**4**

I thought I’d share my experience baking salmon. I bake salmon a lot. I love it. Another Pacific Northwest thing, I guess. It’s actually pretty easy and fast, if you can find salmon on the cheap. So here’s how it goes.

How to bake a salmon in the oven.

First, pick yourself out a good fish. Salmon or steelhead will work. Steelhead is pretty much like salmon only it’s actually classified as a trout. But whatever, still tasty. So, when you go to get your fish, smell it—fresh fish either has no smell or a slightly sweet smell. Fish that smells like fish is old fish. You can also check for freshness by looking at the eyes: clear eyes, fresh fish. You’ll want a good fillet, so the eye thing might not help. But who knows.

Fillets: typically I go for a fillet of one whole side with the skin still on. You can get it without skin, but I find the fish has better texture, is more moist and stays together better if you bake it with the skin. Plus salmon skin is delicious, especially the parts that get all crunchy in the olive oil (more on that later.)

So now you have this fish. If you’re not gonna use it right away, wrap it in some plastic wrap, then wrap that in foil, and put it in the freezer, then defrost it whenever you want to use it. Otherwise, take the fillet and rinse it with some cold water. Just let some sink water run over it, then pat it dry with a paper towel.

Get a baking sheet and line it with foil. It makes cleanup easier.

Put a drizzle of oil on the foil-lined sheet and spread it around for a thin layer. Then put the salmon on the sheet, skin-side down. Get some more olive oil, and cover the whole salmon. Make sure it’s entirely covered, you’ll probably have to use your hands to rub the oil around.

Once that’s done, seasoning. Usually I just stick to salt, pepper, and some paprika for fanciness. One trick, though: for even more fanciness, sub out the salt for some smoked sea salt. It makes it taste a little bit more like you grilled it on an open fire, even though you clearly did not.

Okay, now the oven. 425 degrees for 15 minutes usually does it for one whole salmon fillet. Once time’s up, you’ll want to check the salmon by taking a knife and sticking it in the thickest part of  the fish. The knife should go through easy, and when you look inside the cut, the meat should be opaque, and not translucent like the way raw salmon usually is.

That’s pretty much it. If you’re a lemon-and-salmon type of person, I would advise against baking the salmon with lemons on top. While it looks pro, baking lemons makes the lemons (and thus the fish) kinda bitter, so I’m not totally in love with the idea. Try just squeezing some fresh lemon instead.

Aaaaand you’re done! Easy peasy salmon. If you’ve got leftovers you can save them, or you can mash up the salmon with some cream cheese + mayonnaise + maybe more salt to make a salmon dip. Maybe throw in some onion powder. Chives. It’s good with chips, or on a bagel.

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