And, the way, they make, you toe the line. I’ll sever my ties. Oh I’m so clever, You’re so clever, but you’re not very nice

Double exposure. I always forget to try it out when I have my film slr with me, but instead only remember when I have a dslr. I ‘ve never really been into the photoshopped overlays out there that try to create the double exposure effect, nor have I really tried to photoshop one before. It just seems slightly less interesting that the “real thing”. There’s a London photographer who I’ve been inspired by for years and years now, and she does a lot of film work as well as messing with double exposures and good old fashioned filters. Anyway, I took these a year ago one night in my room when I got really bored, and they were on the films from California in the last post that had just gotten developed. Nonsensical, pointless stuff, but it was pretty fun at the time. As you can see, I kinda fucked it up at one point, and whoever processed the film and scanned it didn’t make it any better, haha.

Two nights, three of the same people, aren’t we just such moronic funsters… We found a friend’s car on the side of the road and the other two decided it would be fun to leave the poor bloke a little note. I hope nothing happened to his car though, because he left his amp in plain view in the backseat! Also, last picture on the bottom right – isn’t that just such a cute little door knocker? Evenings with shenanigans that I prefer as memories.

My sleeping is messed up, and I don’t ever want to sleep. Yet once I am sleeping, I don’t ever want to wake. The days are too hot and short, and I need to get more things done. I have this weird obsession of constantly having to express myself either in a musical, photographic or written form… but the problem with that is, those things take time, which equates to less time to live out such things which I then regurgitate creatively. Can time please pause when I practise the bass? Or when I want to sit down to either read or write a book? I keep having to try and shove negative thoughts and emotions out of the way, keep having to try and stop wasting time being upset at things and people who aren’t even aware that I’m upset over. And right now, I am holding off eating dinner until I click “Publish” on this post. My life is an endless battle against the current of fast-flowing time. Don’t even let me make a flooding metaphor right now, it would be globally inappropriate, currently.

I’m goin back home to the west coast, I wish you woulda put yourself in my suitcase

*I wrote this entry, and then wished that I had written it from the bottom upwards. But it’s 2.36am so I can’t be bothered with rearranging and editing so that it still makes sense… just scroll and scroll and scroll… at least it gets happier as my thoughts run on?*

Yesterday my younger sister departed Auckland after 3 weeks of holidaying back home with us, and I really, really miss her already. The airport was in a state of chaos yesterday – I know most airports are, but the hectic state in which the Auckland International Airport was in yesterday, was above and beyond anything I’d ever seen in NZ before. Firstly, it took us forever to find a spot to park our car , almost akin to that of shopping malls in the pre-Christmas rush. This never happens here! We had admittedly gotten to the airport on the late rather than earlier side of things, but still well on time… except somehow the queue dragged and dragged, and eventually we were told that some system required for travelers to the states was down, and things had to get authorised by the US first, before they were allowed to manually enter something or another. After over two hours of hovering around, Liv finally managed to check in – officially the last person to do so… well after her “last boarding call” as well as flight time! Obviously the plane would have been delayed by then, in order for her to board, but the announcements of gate closure and the whole “final boarding call” thing really didn’t help us with our stress. But funnily enough (and I love her for this), Liv’s biggest concern for mum and I was the rate at which our expensive airport parking was ticking up at. It was evidently the least of our concerns by then!

I’ve always hated airports, except when I’m picking up someone. Because, frankly, who likes to see loved ones depart, regardless of the reason? And if they’re not a loved one, then I certainly wouldn’t be seeing them off an an airport, unless I was doing a favour to someone by dropping them off. It took every mature ounce of self control in me that I could muster yesterday to not let tears roll down my cheeks – after all, Liv is simply going back to Malibu to resume her study and golfing, but I couldn’t help but feel left behind – like I’m missing out on precious sister time with her whilst we’re still young. It certainly wasn’t easy the first time round when she first left in August, but it hasn’t gotten any easier now, seeing her off for her second semester

I wonder if saying goodbye to people gets easier for anyone else?

Goodbyes are my biggest weakness. In mandarin, “goodbye” is translated literally as “again” and “meet”; so my grandma has always said if there was no parting, there wouldn’t be the joy of reunion. In a way, this is perhaps the only thing that keeps me afloat when I think I can’t handle saying goodbye. Writing this now just makes me miss not only my sister but my grandma. I wish I could put into words all the things I’d like to say to her. She was such an influence on me as a young child, and I know a lot of is has carried over – such as my love of words, reading, writing, literature in general, and quotes and the art of chinese proverbs (which I really need to work on). Perhaps a story and tangent for another day…

Here’s a song that Liv and I have been listening to repeatedly for the last day she was here: “West Coast” by Coconut Records. The lyrics are oh-so-appropriate, and the song is really cute:

For a second there i thought you disappeared
It rains a lot this time of year
And we both go together if one falls down
I talk out loud like you’re still around
And i miss you
I’m going back home to the west coast
I wish you woulda put yourself in my suitcase
I love you
Standin all alone in a black coat
I miss you
I’m goin back home to the west coast

The bright side to this entry is the fact that I’ve finally gotten my developed films back! I took a couple of rolls of Ilford black and white film in LA and San Francisco, and I’ve uploaded them all to my photography site, so click here for the full set. Seeing these just makes me 1/ really, really want to go traveling again; 2/ not regret having killed my left shoulder by carrying a fiml slr as well as a dslr around everywhere in a bag; 3/ miss using b/w film, and wish that film development wasn’t such a hassle (I had these mailed back to Taiwan for processing as it was far, far, far cheaper, even with postage fees).  Here are some of my personal favourites:

I remember how excited I was on the plane when I took this… and how I wondered as to how good this photo, and the trip would turn out to be.

Powell Street in San Francisco, at the bottom of one of the cable car lines. I love love LOVE this city.

How amazing is this music store?! It was completely filled with 2nd hand music equipment. Found in North Beach.

Golden Gate Bridge, of course. With an Amanda-spin.

Under the in famous bridge.

It took me ages to get this shot – I had to time it so that the people all around me all sat down or ducked down at the same time!

View from inside the cable car.

Palace of Fine Arts.

Post office in Hollywood.

Window of Urban Outfitters, Cahuenga Blvd.

On the way up to the Getty Centre.

Getty Centre after dark with long shutter exposure. No one dared to walk in front of me and my camera – I had to ask them to please proceed!

I admittedly stalked down a few (hopefully unsuspecting) people to get some photos…

Like this.

Self portrait in a series of mirrors at the souvenir store. It’s also my first facebook profile picture change in a year!

Oh yeah, before I forget, one nice thing came of the long and arduous wait in the airport check-in queues – we passed a lot of the time chatting to a cellist who studies in Lansing, Michigan. The guy was super nice and relatable to talk to (not to mention a bit cute, shhh); turns out he’s actually pretty amazing, according to not only the internet, but youtube results. I’d always said… in another life, if I were to be a classical musician, I would totally pick the cello.

So cheers to yet another chance encounter with someone who shone a bit of light on my day and also a little on my dreams. Sometimes it’s nice to have the world seem a little smaller.

I’m gonna meet you on the astral plane, The astral plane or I’ll go insane

I’ve never been huge on dogs, mostly because I was bitten by a huge one (unprovoked!) as a kid, and I still have the scar to show for it. But lately, I keep finding dogs really cute, and even entertain the idea of having one in the far off future. Maybe. I’m not a leopard, so I can change my spots.

Yesterday we went over to an old family friends’ place for a barbecue, where Liv and I visited our old pal, a cute dog called Penny. He’s only a couple of years younger than Liv, which makes him ancient in dog years, and it was very visible from the way he had difficulty walking, as well as his overall laziness. It just made me so, so sad, and dread the day where our cat gets that old too… I remember when he used to be such an energetic little dog that we couldn’t calm down and he would run and yap and yelp all the time – where as now we had trouble attracting his attention, even with food! Anyway, here’s Penny in all his cute glory, my oldest friend in New Zealand.

Of course, I couldn’t do a dog post without posting our cute cat as well. A couple of hours ago, we found him curled up in Liv’s suitcase and we immediately gushed over his cuteness and whipped our cameras out. However, by the time my sister’s rear end got our of my way for me to snap a few of him, she had already pissed him off thoroughly – with constant flashing in his eyes and calling his name – that he simply wasn’t in a cutesy sleepy mood anymore, and was just purely unimpressed. Luckily for him, I don’t use flash. We’re going on a little trip up north for a couple of nights, so this affectionate chappy will hopefully not miss us tooo much!

On late nights like these where I sit here or in bed and write and write, I wonder if I should be doing something more productive such as sleeping. I love sleeping, but evidently never in the “correct” hours of the day. I glance at the time and tell myself “you’ll regret this tomorrow”, and I mostly do, but there is something just so satisfying with having this time to myself. As if not only the whole house (yes, cat included), but the whole world was asleep, and this time was just between me and my mind. Asides from feeling the most creative or mentally productive at these hours, I’m also often the most upset and depressed. It’s when my problems I can distract myself from all day can no longer escape my consciousness. So I transcribe such things into words. And wonder to myself – is this stuff ever worth reading?

I finally grew a little bit of courage and started the momentous task of writing a novella/novel-type thing. The main problem I have is, I’m not sure how to set the timeline and in which order to do it, because it’s like a back and forth flashback/present-day thing. Why couldn’t I have made this easier for myself?! Hopefully spending the next couple of days away in the countryside relaxing on the beach will suss my mind out. I take and handle things too personally.

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” e. e. cummings

Does the body rule the mind, Or does the mind rule the body? But we cannot cling to the old dreams anymore, For there are brighter sides to life


I can’t even begin to describe how refreshing it is to feel like I have a really nice and refreshing new start. I’m happily crossing things off to-do lists and today I gave my room a thorough tidy-up, as well as slept in new sheets last night on the first night of 2011. This is going to be a much better year than last. I know every other person is probably saying that, but considering the amount of crap I went through last year, I’m determined and excited for this to be true.

The highlight of my day today was remembering that I had bought a lotto ticket from my friend Sinead at the supermarket yesterday, and deciding to check the numbers online… and it turns out that I had a Division 4 Bonus Ball win, which equals $60 for me! Yusssss. See – looking like a fantastic start to the year already. My sister and I had slightly misread the results online and almost thought I might have won a bit more, but sixty bucks redeemed at Charlotte’s workplace suits me just fine. Isn’t it just handy to have two best friends work at Lotto outlets? I rarely buy lotto tickets and like to save them for special occasions, so I thought, heck, it’s 1.1.11, it can’t hurt!

My quote of the moment: “To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.” – Emily Dickinson

Here are some photos from my New Year’s Eve Yard Party – only a handful of them were taken by me, before inebriation, haha. The rest were taken by my sister and apparently my friend Veronique was the one who took gazillions of photos of the red cups and beer pong in progress:

The conception of the brilliant beer pong table came about when I agreed to let Ethan bring his friend Curtis along to my party. I also asked him in the same txt whether he had a long enough table suitable for beer pong or not, and he said he didn’t – but that they would build one! A bit skeptical, I asked how serious they were – to which Ethan replied “His dad’s a builder, he’s an architect [student] and I’m an engineer[ing student], between us, we’ve definitely got it down” – and that they did! Apparently they modeled the colours and “BMS” off “Blue Mountain State”, but it just so happens to also be Liv’s school colours at Pepperdine, haha.

That rude person’s photo-bombing hand is mine, I’m a bit embarrassed to say. And I really don’t look too great a few seconds later in that photo to the right. Also, I believe that magenta sheer blouse which I was wearing is the only pink item of clothing that I own! Bought it on new year’s eve for $20 on sale. It matched my lipstick, you see…

Here are some shots from a bit earlier on… when we looked fresher. The one on the left below is of Cara, Charlotte and Veronique, on my bed.

In the second photo down from this, we are doing tequila shots. I got told that my mum took this photo, but I’m not sure how true this is… I want my hair a bit longer!

The morning after and pancakes my sister made. Unfortunately, I turned it down for bacon and eggs that I whipped up instead.

Also, I’ve got a bunch of directions I’d like to head in, and things I’d like to accomplish this year, but I still think that new year’s resolutions are just not for me. I often read other people’s ones, and it just seems like such an overhead, umbrella sort of thing to do – not to mention the fact that I hate making goals. I know that goal-setting is a healthy thing to do, blah blah (enough teachers and parents have told me that), but I like things to be vague. In a way, because it feels like such a disappointment if I can’t meet them, but also as if I’m setting a limit as to what I’m going to do.

So, no new year’s resolutions for me, just badass, kickass time.

Oh, one last thing – I finally put up photos from the Viper Room last month. Click here and here!

She has black hair and small hands, And I have a red kite; I’ll put you right in it, I’ll show you the sky

Mmm, what better blog post to end the year with than one filled with scrumptious food that makes you go for seconds, thirds, and then confess of the agony of over-indulgence? Although, for some reason I am writing this blog post at 6am (very reflective of how I’ve been living December…) so I’ll just keep this short and sweet.

Last night something came over me and I announced – much to my family’s delight – that I was going to whip up dinner for the evening. I know that sounds like nothing at all, and a lot of families take turns with cooking, but in our household, it’s a big deal when Amanda cooks. Especially voluntarily. I rarely cook, and I avoid the kitchen as much as possible, preferring instead to enjoy the fruits of my mother or sister’s kitchenly labour (yes, I made that word up – I could have said “culinary labour” but I didn’t want to!) because they both cook amazingly. The only times I will usually cook is when I have to, such as when I’m home alone or when my mum is too tired to cook.

Anyway, being the ambitious, thrill-seeking person that I am, I decided to aim high and announced that I was going to cook up a risotto.  Now, everyone knows how much hard work risotto is, but how worthwhile the outcome is, so that’s why I picked it. Also, mum and Liv have been talking about wanting risotto for quite some time, and I thought, hell, this Jamie Oliver recipe book is going to teach me how to cook! In reality though, I didn’t really follow the recipe (I never do), and kind of made stuff up as I went. Apart from staples like steak and lasagne, I’ve never cooked the same thing twice, because I literally throw together what is available at the time, and make up weird combinations of things. Luckily for the family, this time I avoided lemon (which I usually use a lot of) and mint, and threw together something more normal-sounding. I decided to whip up three dishes, as I needed some more kitchen drama to keep me busy whilst stirring risotto; and I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with my miraculous ability to finish cooking them all at the same time:

There was a tray of meatballs with basil, black pepper and parmesan, baked in tomato-y sauce which I didn’t get a decent photo of, but that was dish #1.

Dish #2 was chicken with spinach and capsicum, which I cooked in hot, delicious butter.

And #3, the most important thing being the risotto (spinach and onion). To be honest, about ten minutes into cooking this, I started freaking out that it wasn’t going to work out, and that I would let everyone down. But I’m glad I didn’t! The only let down was that I forgot to put mushrooms in the risotto, but we ate so much of it so fast that we hardly had time to notice.

I think that’s my cooking quota for the next 3-6 months fulfilled, thanks, haha.

I hope everyone has a good and safe New Years and I will see you next year! What are your exciting celebratory plans for New Years Eve?

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