Sunday, February 27, 2011

Creative Cereal

I love off-brand cereal.
Nothing says delicious like some hard geometry, right?

And who wouldn't want to snuggle next to a tasty bowl of shredded wheat?

For sheer random names, I support you, knock-off cereal. Your lower prices don't hurt either.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Let's Draw a House

So the waiting game begins! Our short sale house offer was countered at a minor amount, we accepted and now it's off to the lenders! Where it can take...up to six months!


I think I shall die of anxiety before then. But it is what it is, I suppose. What you save in a great selling price, you lose in a whole lot of uncertainty and time.

In the meantime, we're advised to continue the search. Short sales often fall through, and if we find something better, we can always move on.

And yet, I find myself scratching in the lines of the house on every bit of paper that falls within reach. Like the lovesick scribbles of a crush's name in the margins of a notebook - I just can't help it. It's nearly disturbing, especially since I know I will cry like a rejected lover if this all ends badly. *dramatic sigh*

In any case, I don't think it's particularly healthy to pine after a house that might not even be mine. But I'd like to continue this interest in architecture drawing though - since it might keep me off the couch and in less of a zombie state of being. Usually I want nothing but to draw lovey-dovey couples, so I think this would be an interesting change. What say you? Care to inspire a girl? E-mail or link me to a picture of your home! It doesn't even have to be your own home - just simply a place that you love and feels like home! And I will do something with it. Maybe like Pam's drawing of Dunder-Mifflin?
Only not nearly as realistic and way more on the toonish side of style? Who knows! It's an experiment, and it'd be more fun to have inspiring bloggy friends rather than some soul-less photos off real estate websites. Anyway, email is pengawenga @ gmail, hope you all have a great weekend - stay warm!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Origami New Year's Rabbit

Honestly, I've been in a stinky slump lately due to this housing search.  While not overtly stressful, it is a roller coaster of emotions (another offer outbid, new offer pending - but on a short sale house). I feel like I can't move on with my life until it's over, and it doesn't look like it'll be over anytime soon.  Since I'm a whine-tastic drag in this state, Sak's been trying to get me to do the things that typically bring me joy - though finding the motivation sure is hard! Specifically - he wants me to start serious drawing again (because that would mean hours of absorbed computer time instead of loud lamenting on the couch). But until I find my muse/inspiration/etc. - he'll have to be happy with little craft projects and hours of videogames.

Enough excuses? Here's how to make your own New Year's Bunny: (diagram instructions from here)

This part was kind of confusing for me, but you lift up your fold and press it down. Both sides.

Then fold it in half, and two little flaps should stick up.

Then do a couple inner folds (mountain folds? what are they called?) to make the tail.
Don't forget to draw the eyes on!  Happy New Year!

I have a hard time interpreting origami diagrams sometimes, so pictures are helpful.  But if you're too pro for this little noobie rabbit - the instructions for Sak's complex rabbit are found here.

Anyone year of the rabbit? Sak and I are ox-folk ourselves.

(Personal side-question: what's your remedy for getting out of a funk?)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Home Sweet Home Characteristics

After visiting so many houses over the peninsula, I started to make note of characteristics that we found ourselves ooh-ing and awe-ing over. Maybe it'll help us find the perfect house, or maybe it'll just make it impossible to find a perfect house. Who knows!

House things that we like:

-Multi levels
Up, down, sideways - I like the variation and partition effect of each room having it's own unique place in a house. Not so much the one-itty-bitty-step tripping hazard, but a good two stories, or couple of steps down to a sunken den is cool with me.

-Vaulted ceilings
I don't know, they just seem more impressive to me. Plus if you ever wanted to get a living room trampoline like in the movie "Big", you wouldn't hit your head on the ceiling. Sak especially likes the floorplans that include an overhang from the second story, perfect for throwing parachute men from.

-Under stairs storage
Harry Potter!!!

-Laundry chutes
(source) This one screams "steampunk", doesn't it?
Okay so we haven't seen any in real life yet, but they are still oh-so-awesome. No need for a cumbersome hamper either! Dirty clothes could pop out directly into the washing machine, or at least in a laundry room. Dumbwaiters are awesome too, but I don't think they make them in Penga-size. And yes I know those are called "elevators". Pshh.

Just imagine curling up like a cat on a big bean bag in the sun, minus the bugs and wind of the outdoors! What? There's no sun in the Bay Area?

-PA Systems

Okay, so we went into one old house that had one installed in every room, even the bathrooms! It was awesome, and now I want one. Imagine how you could scare guests by talking from a camoflauged PA in the bathroom?! It's almost as good as our current bathroom, which automatically locks you in if you shut the door all the way. Gets 'em every time.

-Trap doors
Must have. But I'm sure that if the house we end up with doesn't have one already - we'll just make our own.

-Accessible attics
They're just kinda creepy, eh? Like Beetlejuice or something.

-Redwood trees
How awesome would it be to have a big fat one in your backyard?! It's like having a big sign that says "I LIVE IN CALIFORNIA", but not as flashy. Flashy would be a palm tree - and even then you could be living in Florida or Hawaii.

Anyway, that about sums up the type of things that make us gush over a house.  Do you think we can find one that has it all? I'm doubtful, but having some of these things would be nice!

What kind of house things do you like?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Original Characters

I think everyone has them, to a certain extent. Some call them imaginary friends, but I prefer the more socially acceptable term "original characters".

They're the people that exist in that alternate universe that floats around in your head. They have their own characteristics, moods, and story - and well, if you could just get it all out on paper you'd have a best seller, you're sure.

In high school my friends and I used to draw our own and each other's. We'd share the story behind them as we colored in flame-red hair. Sometimes we'd write the OC's name down once we finished, but most of the time they remained mysterious images, known intimately only by their owners.
Well, this one was from college, but still some of my friend's OCs!
If we were lucky enough to be pushed to a creative writing project, a glimpse of their lives might be shown, but mostly we were stuck with those nasty book reports. We were mostly too lazy to do anything but draw them.

And I love going through my old artwork, cringe worthy as it is. It brings back memories of OCs, some completely forgotten, others as familiar as family.
BAD 2002-era art. And I dunno why their skin is orange, I must have run out of markers. Their skin was supposed to be the same hue as their hair though, not that it matters much...
For example, there was Shui, the water fairy - who ran away from her arranged marriage to a nice, safe man she'd known from childhood, and escaped for adventure's sake with a fire fairy, though it was forbidden. She left the fire fairy when she found out he already had a wife, and spent some time learning to stand on her own amongst a sympathetic band of forest fairies. Somehow she ended up with the undersea evil guy, and is rescued by the guy she was arranged to be married with in the first place, because he had been trying to find her the entire time. They dispatch the evil guy, and they go back and marry, even though she's pregnant with the evil guy's kid. Which of course turned into a spin-off of the life of her half-fairy daughter.

Oh man, that's horrible. Maybe it's a good thing I never wrote things out. The sad thing is the stories in my head today aren't all that better. *Keeps to self*

Please tell me I'm not the only one. What are/were your OCs like? What's their story? Be honest!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

MY Home Sweet Home?

With truly uncanny timing, my uncle sent us an email out of the blue along the lines of "Hey, for your wedding gift I'll help you guys find a house."

Okay, he's a realtor - it's probably not that uncanny. But given the recent circumstances, it seemed like a sign.

I've been a renter my entire life. Do you know how dangerous floating the idea of ownership in front of a chronic renter is? My mind suddenly dissolved, becoming slave to "the dream". Being able to paint the walls? To not share a wall with your neighbor? To do laundry in your own home rather than a laundromat where someone takes your stuff out of the washer and throws it all on the floor?


Now of course, chronic-renter-Penga-dad reminds me that there's upsides to renting too - like maintenance. ( Assuming your apartment actually does any.) And no property tax or hassle. Which is true, and it works out just great for many people. I just don't know that I'm one of them.

The bait had been laid, and I fell hook, line and sinker. YES I WANT A HOUSE UNCLE!

Sak, ever the practical one, thought that there was no way we'd ever be approved for anything since we have a itsy-bitsy credit history. Like, I didn't get a credit card until after college - and I hardly ever use it. But after a bit of prodding from me and a couple more "encounters" with the resident riff-raff, Sak agreed to meet with a broker.

Surprisingly, there were no problems. Apparently a long credit history isn't so important. Having a "steady" job seems to be the main requirement (though in this day-and-age I don't see how anything is considered steady).

In any case, we submitted two years of W-2's, two months of pay statements, and copies of our driver licenses (although mine has a hole in it because the California DMV hasn't sent my new-name one yet...It's been over 3 months already!). Our broker pulled up our credit reports, we filled out some disclosures, and we were rather painlessly pre-approved.

Of course, at this point I was salivating over just about every house on the market. My uncle told us to put together some criteria to help us narrow the field a bit. Here's what we came up with:

1) Safety. Nothing near apartments, busy streets, alchy stores or anything that "just looks sketchy". Leering teenagers in big groups, obviously a red flag.

2) Something bigger than what we currently have. This is really a no-brainer though, since we live in a hole.

That's it! Not too specific, so it's no wonder we've seen a bazillion houses stretching from Millbrae to Redwood City so far. Though I'm getting antsy and our lease is (finally) set to end in March, we're taking our time trying to find a good house. We put an offer on only one so far, and it was flat-out rejected by some jerk trying to flip his non-lived-in house for more than it's worth. *fume fume* But I'm not giving up, we'll find something awesome, I'm sure!

Have you bought property before? Any tips?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Home Sweet Scary Home

Our quality-of-apartment-life has really gone downhill the last three years we've lived here.

I've been chased by scary dogs, while their owners sat back, laughing. Sak says I should kick the attacking animal, but I happen to like having intact appendages.

The door bell rings at 9 PM at night, with a thuggish teen asking us to buy magazine subscriptions. I tell Sak not to answer the door, and to pretend we aren't home. I won't even go near the door to look out the peephole in these occasions, as I'm sure the door isn't bulletproof. Years of living in a gang-infested city teaches you these things.

Speaking of thuggish teens, they like to sit in the walkways and stairwells "smoking funny things", their gangly legs in the way for you to trip on. Of course, when you do fall, they laugh. There's nothing scarier than a group of teenagers with that same evil, smug smile. Rebels without a cause?

Oh, but they are the cause of the 3AM Tuesday night police calls due to partying and violent fights. I thought after leaving college I wouldn't have to deal with that anymore?

There's also the frequently double parked cars, which make it impossible to move our car out of our spot, or the neighbor that always parks over their line, making it impossible to park in the first place.

And then there's the mail.

With the exception of like, one nice person - I've decided that our rental office is staffed of purely incompetent people. I'll try to pick up a mail package, but they "can't find it". Then the same night I'll get a phone call from the same person saying that if I don't pick up my mail, they'll send it back. I have to budget 2 or 3 trips in order to get my mail each time. And don't even think about Sak picking something up for me. That's "not allowed", even though we signed a mail authorization form in the beginning of our lease. When told about the paper, the lazy worker refused to look up our file.

This is a rant, a long time coming. But there's a point to it! And it's that Sak and I turned to each other, mutually stating - "We've got to move."

Dun Dun Dun!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Required Reading

If I don't consciously make an effort to eat fresh fruit and veggies, go to bed at a decent hour, and brush my teeth - I won't do them at all. Gross, I know. Luckily for my health, I do manage, but it's definitely not second-nature habits.

The same idea translates over to my literary/cultural "health". Don't get me wrong - I read plenty. We go to the library about once a week. But it's always straight to the fiction and the sci-fi sections for me. I aim for the ones with the shiny covers. Yes, I'm one of those people.

But similar to having two weeks worth of dirty laundry spilling out of the hamper and down the stairs, I always start to feel a bit guilty for my unfettered indulgence.

Pre-wedding I used to have a policy: for every silly pulp fiction book, I'd also read something classic or of literary merit. Such books are timeless for a reason, and I often do like them in the end. I think I have to force myself to start them because bigger words and more complex English take more effort. That and the whole thing just reminds me of book reports (the "summarize" kind), which I single-handedly blame as the reason kids don't like to read otherwise awesome stories. Straight regurgitation is so boring.

Anyway, with Star Wars was Pride and Prejudice.
With Sookie Stackhouse was Jane Eyre.
With Hitchhiker's Guide was Ender's Game.
With the Mortal Instrument series was Dune.
Well, not really. Dune was just moving waaaay too slowly and I lost patience while lugging the gigantoid book around.

But you get the idea. The system worked fairly well for me, the fun of light reading paired with something worth reflecting on. But then wedding happened and I stopped reading (well, there were blogs, that counts for something right?). Now that wedding is over, I think this process should resume. I've already tackled the light reading portion, as I'm on book 3 of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. (I don't know if I'd recommend, but it's a mix between eye-roll worthy romance novel and historical events. In the least, it has given me an interest in learning about 18th century Scotland, so I consider that merit-worthy.)
Now I need to pick a new English-class-worthy-book.

(source) Not quite what I meant.
Do you have any favorites? I'm partial to lots of adventure and some good old-fashioned love triangles. I also prefer books with happy endings. The happier, the better. My thought is - if I wanted a depressing "modern ending", I'd just read non-fiction. Or watch the news. :P
How do you make sure to get your literary vegetables? Or maybe you're already a vegetarian?