Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blog Layouts

Help me. I have a boring blog layout. It's even more boring than the standard ones you can customize through Blogger!

But you see - I can't bring myself to just be normal. I want something spiffy! And then I get hung up on trivial matters and refuse to budge, bah!

I drew it out even, something like this:
Actually, that looks like a mess. And then I managed to spill water all over it. Those paper stretch marks are really not part of my plan. But you get my point. I want to write in a spiffy blog! And then just read it through Google Reader like everyone else does. Ha. *Sigh*

The only problem with solving my little not-really-problematic-problem is that I don't know how one would code an expanding speech bubble like that. Or overlapping headers for that matter And I'm too lazy to try and figure out the programming myself.

Programming is the one aspect of engineering I just never, ever got on board with. I got a C in my one and only Java programming class, and BSed my way through Digital design class. I did okay in machine language, but probably only because it was super duper basic. So basic, that it's actually called Basic.

Anyway, HTML is okay, and we generally get along fine. CSS is a little more hazy, but with a good tutorial I'll figure it out. XML...Well, I have never gone there. And apprently Blogger likes to use XML.

So if I won't make my spiffy blog by myself, and Sak has zero interest in programming webpages (he does the one for our church, so I guess that's enough for him), I have three options:

1) Status Quo - Forget a fancy-pants template and focus more on blog content! Content is key!

2) Harass Friend E to do it for me. He's a programmer by trade, and he owes me a birthday present.

3) Pay someone else to do it. Which would be good and all, except the $100+ prices most designers have scares me a bit.

What should I do? Maybe I can just find a coder, not a designer. I'll just dump a bunch of graphics to the coder, and they put it together like my idea picture above? Would that be cheaper? Or maybe I should just stop being lazy and learn how to do it myself?

PSA: Cheap Flights!

I was on the subway this morning and heard someone talking about a fare special for Southwest Airlines.

Well, dang - it's cheap! $30 (one way) for 0-450 miles, $60 (one way) for 451-1000 miles, $90 (one way) for 1001-1500 miles, and $120 (one way) for over 1501 miles. Plus, you don't have to pay for checked luggage on Southwest.

Good only for dates between Dec 1 - Dec 15, or Jan 4 - Feb 16. Valentine's getaway anyone?!

Anyway, the deal is only going on for three days, and today is the second day. You can buy tickets directly through their webby, so you know it's legit.

I feel like I should buy a ticket. $60/person to go somewhere not so far isn't bad for a weekend trip! Where should we go? Are there any conventions going on this winter? Research commence!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spousal Allowance

I read this interesting article on the change of the average Japanese man's spending money, but I think even more interesting is the concept of having spending money to begin with.

Japan is still really "traditional" in that a lot of the men work, and the wives stay home and cook, clean, take care of the kids. But the odd thing is that the woman is in charge of the finances that her husband brings home. And then she gives him an allowance to do whatever he wants, whether it be eating out, bar hopping, etc.!

This fascinates me, and in some ways I think it's good. For example, my mother doesn't work, and she has been the stay-at-home-mom for most my life. She doesn't touch the family finances, bills, whatever - at all. And she knows little about taxes and credit rates and the like. Completely dependent on my dad's monetary decisions. I think if she had the Japanese-wife responsibility of money, she'd understand things better and be able to take care of herself if the need ever presented.

Sak's parents both work, though his mom handles all the finances. She's very meticulous too - even saves all her receipts! I tried to get into this habit, but it proved too overwhelming so I only save receipts for bigger purchases now.

Sak and I do not really share finances yet. Not in a legal sense anyway. We both have our own accounts, though we know each others passwords and readily share our information with each other. We take turns paying rent each month. Sak pays for our auto/rental insurance, and I pay all the utility bills. It works for us right now, and I don't really feel like it is "his" and "my" money - rather it is both our money, just in different places. It probably also helps that our salaries are nearly identical.

I assume we'll make a joint account someday, to save up for a house down payment or something. Perhaps this will happen once I finish changing my name.

But wouldn't it be funny if we gave our husbands an allowance anyway? Sak would probably love that, actually. He can obviously do what he wants with his money now, but I know we both feel guilty about frivolous spending without first seeing if the other half is in agreement. I think he'd spend a purely-at-his-discretion allowance on videogames or computer parts. And if I had an allowance I'd buy weird things off the internet or more graphic tees.

Oh wait - I already do that. Oops.
(source) Why yes, I bought this super cute shirt without consulting anyone.

What do you think about giving your hubby (or yourself) an allowance? Is it too demeaning and child-like, or is it a great way to make "sticking to the budget" more straight-forward and easy?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Maido Cosplay!

Sadly, I have neither time nor energy for Halloween costuming this year. But that's okay. That's what conventions are for!

One of the main "staples" of cosplay wear these days would have to be the maid outfit. It's definitely no show-stopper (unless you have a super hot-bod I guess), since everyone wears one, but it's a nice alternative to being a boring plain-clothed fellow.

But I do not have a maid costume to call my own, since I've been dressing in full face & body covering suits for the past several years. I figure I should cash in on the fact that I still have post-wedding-self-esteem and wear something that doesn't hide my entire being for once! What do you think?

The standard black and white frills is the most common type of maid. Very classic.

There's the colorful maid which is pretty adorable and cheerful:

The kimono-maid fusion (this one is Sak's favorite):

I like the look with lots of fluffy tulle underneath:

But really, it's the fabric that makes the dress. Like this FANTASTIC skirt:

Anyway, I'm not sure what type of maid I want to be, but for starters I was thinking of using my current favorite, Hetalia.
But maybe not chibi-Hetalia's outfit. More like a generic maid with flag fabric for trim! How cool would that be?

It's really hard to find international flag fabric though. I found the following online, but it's $9.50 a yard! Kind of pricey. Anyone know where I can find some flags?

In any case, I think highly-decked-out-in-theme is the maid for me. I can't really pull of sexy or adorable, so weird it is!

What type of maid would best fit your personality, you think?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lego Letterpress

Just peeping in for a moment to say - "IT IS OVER!"

All wedding planning has officially ended, as of last night! Yippee! Back to raising Nobunaga's stats in Samurai Warriors 2!

Just kidding. I've got that craft room of chaos to deal with still. And a sorely neglected blog!

So as I remember what real life is like, I'll leave with something that struck my eye the other day.  I guess it's a reminder that though the wedding may be over, certain things about planning may just alter your interests for life.

Letterpress made from Legos!

Someday I'll have to jump on this letterpress band-wagon. Textured paper is just too cool for school.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tagged - I'm It!

Well. I usually run and hide from internet quizzes, so this will be a rarity.

But since Gator called me out personally this time, I feel like I have no choice but to comply. Haha!

She's asked 8 questions, some of which were ridiculously hard to answer. But here goes anyway!

1. If you had a one way ticket around the world, what would be your first stop?
I feel like the cop-out answer here would be Japan. But only because it's the only other country I've had the pleasure of visiting, and because I missed Nobunaga's seppuku spot at Honnoji Temple the first time around. Failure!

2. If money didn't matter, what would be your dream job?
I could probably go on all day with this, so I'll say "jack of all trades". Comic shop owner, manga artist, professional convention reviewer, video game tester, knick-knack prototype developer...Nah, who am I kidding - if I added the word "job" to any of my interests it would probably never be the same.

3. If you never met your current SO - do you think you'd still be single?
Statistically speaking, probably not. The men to women ratio in the engineering field is just highly in my favor. In fact, they have a saying when it comes to us engineer women finding mates - "the odds are good, but the goods are odd".

That said - I'm glad I didn't have to settle for any of the other "odd goods". Sak is the perfect amount of odd for me. <3

4. What is your favorite sports team? Why do you love them?



I don't watch anything other than the Olympics. Due to bad personal hand-eye coordination and early horror stories of team sports in P.E., I've just never been into it. And I hate the Giants because they mess up my commute - especially now that they are in the play-offs.

So I'll have to go with the Mighty Ducks, because I loved those movies as a kid. Plus that's where I was first introduced to Queen's music. Queen love.

5. Name 5 things on your bucket list.
Finish a full-fledged 100+ page manga. Own a home (and in the Bay Area, this might actually be a challenge of meeting before death!). Learn to scuba dive. Visit China with my mom (she's the only one of her siblings who hasn't been to the "motherland"). Visit Europe with my dad (he spent his childhood in Germany as a military kid and hasn't been able to go back since.)

And honorable mention goes to inventing a fat-zapping capacitor gun. And then have the Sham-wow guy sell it for me on TV.

6. Where is you dream home location?
Where we live now - only up the hill and not in the ghetto. I'm either a homebody or I just really love the Bay Area. It's definitely quirky enough for me.

7. What was your very first screen name?
pengawenga. I guess I haven't changed much over the years. We got our first computer when I was in middle school - 1997. I used to wait weeks for one episode of anime to download. I miss the newness of it all, but things have definitely improved in the speed category.

8. Why are we blog friends?
I have no idea. I seem to have pretty much nothing in common with my dear Gator - yet I really enjoy reading about her life. Maybe because it is completely different from mine, and therefore really interesting. Haha. She's good at both writing "meat" and posting pretty pictures. And she's super nice with a slight bite of "keeping it real". I imagine she's just as friendly - if not more, in person. Plus she has the cutest doggu ever, Tebow.

Now - I refuse to pass said quizzie on since I don't generally like them.

And if you must know why I don't like them - imagine your mother and her friends and relatives were all filling out TMI self-questionnaires and then adding your name to all the forward lists. *shudder* Trauma-switch on!

How do you feel about internet questionnaires?

And really Gator - thank you for thinking of me, regardless of my pansy whiny act. :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rocket Ship

While walking around the San Francisco piers at lunchtime to de-cubicle-fy, I did a total double-take while passing the South end of the Ferry Building.
A rocket ship!

And not just any rocket ship - it's the same one that was so popular this year at the Maker Faire.

I guess it's a rotating sculpture spot, since not too long ago there was a giant spider sitting in the same place.

*Shudder* I like the rocket ship much better, thank you.

I wish it worked for real - because it's a pretty cool looking ship.

If you had a rocket ship where would you like to go? I think I'd like to see a nebula in real life. They are always so cool looking in those Hubble photos.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

America, "Eff" Yeah!

I'm struggling with how much anime I should review on here - I mean, there are plenty of other resources for that kind of information.
But sometimes there just comes a series really worth talking about. And I really like talking about things I like, so sorry if it's all been done before!

Now if you watch a lot of anime, you'll notice that a lot of it falls within certain genres like harem (Love Hina), magical girl (Sailor Moon), mecha (Gundam), or avant-garde mind-bender (Evangelion).  But sometimes there just comes a series that makes you think - "whoa, what was that?"

Hetalia is one of those series.
Based off a web-comic by Japanese artist, Hidekazu Himaruya, Hetalia's characters represent different countries, and their interactions with each other loosely and comically model our own world history.
Each five minute (yes, only five minutes. For you out there unsure of this whole "anime" business - it's completely watchable!) episode contains some snippet of European or World War II history. The webcomic covers more ground/time than this, but for now the anime only focuses on those times/locations. 

It is very interesting to me to see how Japan views the relationships between countries, especially our own.
America is depicted as a hyper-active, strong, hamburger-eating blond who believes the only opinion that counts is his own.  His tag-line phrase is "Watashi wa hero!", which means "I am the hero".

Is it bad that despite the not-most-positive-yet-sometimes-accurate depiction, I totally have a crush on America? He's a hottie.
Before you worry, every country is given it's own stereotyped-flaws for the sake of humor.  England is a chronic bad cook, Japan tries too hard to fit in with the western-world, France is pretty much a gigolo, and Germany is a stoic, serious man constantly put-off by Italy's constant frivolousness. The themes are mostly light-hearted, and they don't focus on the atrocities that war and invasion brings with it. The value of the show comes purely in the interaction between characters.
(source) (L-R: Japan, Italy and Germany)
It helps if you know your history - and I shamefully admit that I got a bit lost at times when the subject wasn't WWII or North America.  But I figure since it's the first anime that made me a smarter person (I look up and read about the world-event after if I get confused), it's worth looking at.
Just keep in mind that it does make light of otherwise serious events. It does generalize and stereotype. But it's a fresh and original anime concept. And it makes you think. I don't know how many more conversations Sak and I have had on world affairs due to Hetalia. Crazy.
(source) (L-R: America, France, Japan, Russia, Germany, England)
You can read the web-comic here.

And watch the on-going anime episodes here. New episodes come out about once a week or so.

And in case you're too lazy to click the above links, here's the first episode right here, for your viewing pleasure:

Watch Axis Powers Hetalia Episode 1(Subbed) in Anime  |  View More Free Videos Online at

The series is quite popular now, even though the anime started online. Perhaps it was considered too risque a subject to broadcast? I think it's funny that the American distribution has it rated as TV-MA. For the life of me I can't figure out why. It's also sparked a wave of doujinshi (fan-made manga) pairing up different countries (I'm still looking for a non-dirty Japan x America version!), as well as some of the simplest cosplay around (simply carry a countries flag around with you, and you're done!).

If you've seen it before - who's your favorite? If you haven't seen it before - watch the first episode and tell me what you think!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Beer Hat Man

Ah, the sweet smell of Friday, once again.

Posting here will continue to be a bit sparse as I work my tail off trying to prep for this October party, but here's a little beer-hat-man to brighten your day:

We saw him standing outside a 7-11 near Fukuoka Station. He wasn't especially happy in the heat, poor guy.

But I think it'd be a great and fairly easy costume for a beer lover.

Are you going to dress up this year? I don't know if I'll have time to, but Halloween still counts as one of my top ten most-interesting-times-of-the-year!