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Going Dark
As a kind of general heads-up, I'm going dark in terms of social circle stuff for about a month, maybe longer, which means I will be completely absent from here as well. Not that this would affect my pitiful posting frequency, but I won't likely be answering comments or anything after, say, Friday. It's mostly related to house searching stuff, since it is house hunting season again and this coming month is the peak and if I want to have the best chance of finding something this year, this is the time to give it my all. Part of it is also potentially moving to a new group within my workplace, but that's not confirmed yet, and I kind of suspect it won't happen given my luck of late. (Plus, I've been struggling really hard with a bug that's surfaced from modifying someone else's code who isn't here anymore, and who doesn't comment nearly well enough, and it's been beating the tar out of me since sometime last week.) But who knows! Maybe my luck will change!

Anyhow, I figured before dropping off the radar, I should write up a short summary of stuff I've been doing lately other than fretting over what to do. I took a modern pointed pen calligraphy class from Diva Pyari by myself because I didn't think I could convince anyone to go with me, and it was pretty cool!

I got there early, and decided to randomly check Yelp to see if there were any vegan bakeries nearby, and Lo! Pepple's Donut Farm is literally a couple of blocks away from the studio. I of course scurried on down and bought like 5 different flavored cake donuts and a raised cinnamon twist. The cinnamon twist was devoured in the car before I went to class, and let me tell you, their raised donut has the best texture, even if the cinnamon twist could have used more cinnamon. So good ♥ Vegan donuts are becoming a serious weakness for me...

The class itself was mostly what I expected--a varied bunch of women, because I guess guys don't bother with calligraphy in this day and age? I sat next to a gregarious lady named Antoinette who was a professional event planner, so the skill makes a lot of sense with her. Also, she had a really nice calligraphic hand to start with. In fact, the lady on the other side of me, Nicole, got praised for having a really good hand as well. All I could get out of looking at my own calligraphic hand was that I was clearly an engineer :/ And I apparently prefer to make everything small, even, and compact, where Ms. Pyari's personal style is definitely open and more wabi-sabi. I'll need to practice more and try to develop my own handwriting (we were learning her personal alphabet etc. since her calligraphic handwriting is something she's renowned for), and somehow I've got to figure out how to introduce that slant into my cursive/calligraphic hand! The pens, though... I knew they were going to be pointy, but it's like writing with a needle o_0 All those poems and stories that mention the scratching of quills against parchment? I totally know what that sounds like now. Wow.

I like that Ms. Pyari gave us different inks to try, but I seem to favor the original ink we started learning with, possibly because we started learning with it (it's handmade oak gall ink, which sounds like it's probably going to be expensive to get a refill). I seem to have a tendency to split my pen such that I end up with a sort of outlined letter rather than a solid letter, and it's really frustrating with the sumi-e ink especially--it's basically Asian calligraphy ink, which has that super distinctive smell I remember from Chinese class... I found it really interesting that Ms. Pyari suggested I hold the pen a lot more like I would hold a mao bi (Chinese for brush, which is what I call the calligraphy brushes, at least when conversing with my mother), except at this angle that seems ridiculous at first. (Note to self, I should probably practice Chinese calligraphy at some point, too, because I haven't in like over a decade...) I'm trying to grow into it (I've only practiced twice since), because it seemed like I'd have no power holding it like that, but the point of it may actually be to keep you from putting too much power into it. She made the comment that I apparently do well small, and I guess making smaller letters was the hardest thing for her when she started. Making big letters is actually a serious challenge for me. And making them not look like they're being written on lined paper is also hard ;_; I've kind of already developed my own capital A, though, and I've sort of got my own capital S, so I should have a personal handwriting soon. I'm trying to work it down to letter writing size, so I can use it to write pretty letters and correspondence, but I think it'll take time. I also want to be able to use it for D&D purposes :3 That's where being able to emulate another handwriting would be useful, actually, so I can have slightly different hands for different NPCs! (Such grand plans... I don't even know if the game will ever get off the ground, but dreaming makes me happier, so there. Maybe I should make myself a stationery or calligraphy tag...)

In other news, my various friends appear to have successfully talked me into setting up an OkCupid account, but I have like NO recent photos of myself :/ I can't really complain, seeing as I've spent a lifetime learning to dodge cameras due to being camera shy, but it's a bit of a stumbling block. Either way, though, the OkCupid thing is also being put on ice during the radio silence, so I've got some time to think about writing up the profile parts and continuing the search for photos. Alex has actually offered to potentially do a photo-shoot in order to obtain photos, which as alarming as that feels, I think I could convince myself to do if we went on a hike or something and just happened to take photos while out and about. The best thing about this process has been reading the OkTrends blog, which is wonderfully informative and really snazzily written! I just about died laughing reading some of the posts--humans! We're so silly! The OkCupid questions, too, are an interestingly informative piece. I swear I've answered like 50 questions about how I don't do pot (can't stand the smell) and over a hundred about my politics and feeling on guns, but there hasn't been a single question about whether I like kisses with tongue or not. I thought that'd be one of the tame opening questions or something, considering how many questions about sexual fetishes there are! Also, the questions run the gamut from seemingly irrelevant to horrifying (like whether the world would be better with less stupid people or less ugly people). I was not prepared for these questions o_0 Damn. Tame they are not. OkCupid asks the hard questions D:

Oh! And cute vegan guy sent me a postcard from abroad like I asked him to :) That was pretty nice, and I didn't actually think he'd do it, but I have a postcard from Penang now :D He's in Australia at the moment, having finished his tour of South Asia. Reading his blog has given me a lot of insight into him as a person... And I'm kind of glad we didn't end up going on a date while he was here, because while I still get along with him fine as a friend, reading his blog has made me realize that he's really deeply spiritual, and I don't think I can handle another deeply spiritual person in my life right now. That and his atrocious grammar and rampant malapropism have kind of made him a lot less attractive :/ Man, I'm kind of shallow ._. Still, it's neat to have such a well-traveled friend with such different ideas from me, so I think it's cool that we're still in touch for now!

Kerry!Mike and Max have been working on a start-up app for helping with gift selection for people (and also for gift tracking, for thank you cards and knowing what you've already gotten people so you don't buy them the same thing twice because it seemed like such a good idea and you forgot you bought it last time). Since Max is my main climbing buddy right now, he's been bouncing some ideas off of me for it, and it's kind of fun :) I probably won't get to the comments again for a while, but if there's anything anyone can think of that they think is important to consider when purchasing a gift for someone that might not be immediately obvious (they've been brainstorming for a while), or what they might want out of a gift helper app (help with writing the thank you note?), please let me know so I can pass it on to them :)

That's probably most of it for now... Xia, signing off! :P
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My friends have been tried to get me to get on OKCupid for a few years starting about half a decade ago, but it never happened. Lord knows for a while everyone else I knew was on there, though.

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Welp, who knows when the hell Xia is coming back. How are things going with you?

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Eh, the usual problems with being under one's own work schedule: lots of existential angst, leading to a lot of procrastination. I did get a nice trip to Kyoto in though, so that was a good time. Now I'm just trying to resist the urge to spend all of my time playing video games.

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