It's terrifying how the last few weeks of the year are quickly approaching when I still feel like I haven't gotten through July. But of course, I'm merely living in the past, something that's easier than facing all the worries of tomorrow and whatnot. Oh, boo-stinkin-hoo. I've neglected this blog for five months and I didn't even think twice when I received a notification on my phone's calendar that it was my second bloggerversary. It wouldn't have felt right celebrating a milestone with my passive attitude towards the entire thing.

You know how I keep track of time now? Through however many weeks' worth of PostSecrets I haven't read on my reader. (It's currently at 4, for those curious enough. Unread items: 605.) To be frank, this whole full-time, 9am-5:30pm job sucks. In addition to feeling like I have absolutely no time to devote to anything else, I am miserable sitting at my desk for those eight hours everyday. Eight hours + two total hours while in transit = fifty hours a week/two hundred hours a month that I wish could be spent doing something I'm passionate about. My sketchbook's collecting dust, my watercolors and brushes and Micron pens are nowhere to be found, and whenever I feel like translating my thoughts onto pen and paper, I simply feel too lazy to do so.

Hi, I'm Marianne and I'm feeling jaded.

Weekend Snapshots.

Saturday comprised of going to the farmers market and indulging myself with the best cheese tamale I've had in ages, a catch-up with The Housewives of NYC and church. Saturday night was spent with a very dear friend whom I've known since middle school, affectionately nicknamed Drummer Boy. We went to our favorite restaurant that we used to frequent during our years of high school after football games, concerts and rehearsals.

This summer, I promise to be more adventurous.
Summer hasn't officially begun and I can already cross this off my list. I faced my fear of climbing ladders and heights head-on as he and I trespassed onto a building's roof that evening. Gazing up at the stars, watching the cars drive past, sharing stories, the sweetest kiss before climbing back down. Magical. I may have prolonged going to bed that evening for fear of washing the memories away.

Sunday: lunch at Chinatown, an excursion into Union Station and the last of the Dodgers vs. Braves series with family.

Despite the heat, a great time was had by all. The game was made even more enjoyable as a young man, clad in Celtics gear, made his way down to his seat (directly behind me, mind you) and was met with a chorus of "Boooooo"s and a "Celtics suck!" chant by the crowd. You've got to have major cojones to wear a Celtics jersey in a Laker-predominated venue, so, kudos to him.

We rarely stay for the whole game in an attempt to beat the rush of traffic out of the parking lots, but since we used the Dodger Express from Union Station - for free, instead of paying $15 for parking - we stuck around for the extra innings. By then, the crowds were dwindling away, which is a shame because the Dodgers won in the eleventh inning, thanks to Ellis and a run by Martin.

I need more weekends like this. Life, make it happen.

This week.

I learned to take chances. After a year of silence on our parts (not due to any animosity and hatred, merely the inevitable drifting away that occurs once school starts up again), an old friend from high school texted me, suggesting a meet-up of sorts. Normally, I'd mull over the text for a few hours, racking my brain for the perfect response, then anti-climactically give up and move on with my life. Not because of the text, but because I'd be too afraid of what would happen. Would the meet-up be filled with awkward silences and uncomfortable shifting of the eyes as we struggled to come up with conversation topics? Would we be so different from what we had known in the past? What if we wouldn't get along now? I pushed those thoughts aside as we made plans to meet up at our old high school to say hello to our old drumline coach, along with another friend. While the drumline rehearsed, we found ourselves walking around the dimly-lit school (it was nighttime) as we caught up with one another. We walked to the field, where we'd spent countless hours rehearsing drill for marching band and drumline, sat directly on the giant "G" logo in the middle and just reminisced. Telling stories, how the semester went, old inside jokes resurfaced and it was just like old times. I've missed my boys so much and hopefully we'll be able to hang out a few more times before Daniel leaves for the Mediterranean for eight weeks.

I realized how much I truly love farmers markets.

I started my obsession with LOST, six years too late. When the series finale aired, I was sitting in my living room, eyes glued to the screen, though I had absolutely no idea what was happening. My LOST-fanatic friend was bawling half the time as he gave me background information in an attempt to catch me up. Well, it kind of worked. Nevertheless, the finale was beautiful and I found myself getting goosebumps at the merging scenes. Hulu's streaming the first five seasons until December 31, 2010, so here's my formal goodbye to my social life until I finish.

I finally received my giveaway prize from the oh-so-lovely NatalieAlyssa. She hosts a giveaway of her photographs every month, I believe, and the first time I actually signed up, I won! Beginner's luck, I suppose? Also, I was more than thrilled when I noticed the return address - Maple, Ontario, Canada. CANADA.

June wishes:
- That the Dodgers win on Sunday's game against the Braves. I was unsuccessful in trying to find a youth jersey for Ethier the other day, so I had to settle for Martin (#55), which isn't too bad. Long story short, I'm set for the game. (Also hoping for cooler temps that day.)
- I'm celebrating a milestone birthday this month, but I hope that it will be low-key. Heck, I hope everyone forgets. I'd settle for a midnight showing of Toy Story III in 3-D, though. Any takers?
- We are a generation run by instant gratification. I hope to stick to my diet and exercise regimen, even though results aren't to my liking at first. Slow and steady wins the race! Except there's no race here, unless you count the race against time. Or something.
- That I develop some kind of facetious inner dialogue. I'm the least wittiest person I know, as evident by the above bullet point.
- Tons of happiness, good music, good vibes. Forever.

Missed Opportunities, Boys With Girlfriends and Rude Comments.

Holy Negative Nancy, Batman!

Remember this post that I wrote over a year ago? How I had the opportunity to interview the electropop goodness that is HeyHiHello? I think I may have actually talked to Jakub, the lead vocalist, a few times before actually sitting down to compose interview questions. In the end, I passed on the opportunity as I labeled myself too shy and incompetent to go through with it. In the past year, they've slowly but surely built up their fan base and are on their way to being the next electropop hit. Following the footsteps of Owl City, if I may be so bold to say? What was the point of this blurb? Oh, yes. Missed opportunities. Sunken confidence. Regret, regret, regret. Seems to be a recurring theme in this blog, don't you think?

Oh, iTunes, why must you be a constant reminder of my terrible luck with boys and potential relationships? Meiko's "Boys With Girlfriends" just came on. Remember this post? Hopeless romantics eat that stuff up all the time! Meeting a stranger, discovering all these uncanny similarities and forming an everlasting bond, if circumstances allow. It's the premise of the rom-com in my mind's theater, honestly. I'm sure you can guess the gist of the whole situation without me having to blatantly spell it out. 'Cause I know better not to be friends with boys with girlfriends, oh. Boy-In-Question keeps texting me out of the blue, even going as far as mentioning his new job a mere fifteen minutes away; he lives in the South Bay, an hour south. Quite similar to another situation over two years ago, but that's a story for another time, perhaps. Oh, I know better than that, I know better.

Apologies for the extremely girly nature of the following paragraph, but it just has to be said with hopes that Blogspot can hold me accountable. I've gained twenty pounds since I was fifteen-years-old. That's about five pounds a year, which is a lot for someone standing at a modest height of 5'3". At a disastrous lunch with a few old friends a couple of weeks ago, a high school acquaintance (I never considered us close in the least bit) loudly declared how "different" I looked now as opposed to our high school years. After a questioning look from me, he continued to say that I was tinier back then, implying a noticeable weight gain. In the wise words of Ms. Stephanie Tanner, "HOW RUDE!" After that slap in the face, I'm now on a mission to get fit once more. Not necessarily lose weight, but get in shape. And no, round is not a shape.

It doesn't help that I can never resist the pull of Yogurtland when I veer close enough. Tart frozen yogurt + cheesecake bites + Mochi + irresistible pink spoons = a happy-go-lucky me. I've no willpower, really.

Sincerely hope you have a pleasant weekend.

Shutter Happy.

Last Tuesday, I received a parcel in the mail from a dear friend in the bay area. It's quite possible that I had a heart attack once I opened the box and peered inside to see his Canon DSLR looking up at me with eager eyes. Included were a 50mm lens, the 18-55mm kit lens and a flash unit. I, then, proceeded to squeal and jump around like a maniac in my driveway as the friend I was with politely waited for my excitement to wane. I mean, who in their right mind would allow a stranger (technically speaking, we've never met) to borrow a grand's worth of camera equipment for an indefinite amount of time?! It's unheard of! And borderline crazy. But, my goodness, I am so blessed and eternally thankful for his selflessness and generosity.

And I love how his letter clearly states that I shouldn't let the wrapping paper fool me and that he wishes for me to put it through hell.

It has been a week of impromptu photoshoots, wishing for idyllic weather conditions and a shutter happy Marianne with a permanent smile plastered upon her face. While I haven't made the full transition into manual settings yet (cue dramatic music), I'm happy to say that I'm learning, and willing to learn, everything I can about this little camera. It's also quite possible that he's successfully managed to turn a Nikon fangirl into an open-minded Canon user.


It's only fitting that, as I sit here with Notepad open and the vertical line blinking and prompting me to write, Between the Trees' "A Time For Yohe" plays in the background. More specifically, the line in the chorus, gently encouraging me to keep going with this post: "This is your time to weep / This is your time to mourn."

My maternal grandmother passed away last Sunday. I refuse to go into detail about such private matters on a public forum, so I'll only say that the situation is extremely bittersweet. Because it was so sudden, my mom, sister and I were unable to attend the funeral as our passports wouldn't have been renewed in time. What I didn't know was that my sister and I were the last grandchildren she'd had a hand in helping to raise. I haven't seen her since coming to California over fourteen years ago, and I regret it so much. It's become a banal saying in matters such as these, but I truly believe that she's in a better place now. I'm grateful that she doesn't have to suffer anymore.

Haha. I distinctly remember thinking, at the ripe age of five as my grandma helped dress me for school, that she was such a genius for knowing which sock went on which foot. I had thought that there was a specific sock for which foot, much like the right/left certainty of shoes. Favorite memory, hands down.

I miss her a lot, and I can only hope that she's looking down with a full heart and willingness to guide me.

On Chance Encounters.

Have you ever been blessed with an encounter that leaves you feeling as if all the stars in the universe aligned in such a way to bring you two together? The type that leaves you with an unwavering feeling of euphoria and a tangible "Heck yes, anything is possible today!" attitude? I had one of these encounters the other day and it began when he looked down at my iPod and practically shouted when he noticed I was listening to Circa Survive's "Blue Sky Noise" album. Kindred spirits, if only for a moment. Or, more accurately, a normally tiresome hour-long bus ride that flew by because of his company.

Though, I must be frank and mention that out of all the available seats to situate myself on the bus, I chose to sit next to him; I reverted to old habits as an attraction to his piercings drew me in. And I'll be the first to admit my surprise as my surreptitious use of Circa's soon-to-be-released album as bait actually worked. I've no shame, really. He apologized for snooping at my music choice, which was a sweet gesture, and an easy conversation encircling shared interests followed.

I realize it's nearly impossible to accurately gauge someone's personality from a conversation as short as ours. And my ignorance of the banal (yet very smart!) saying that one should never talk to strangers was evident. But phone numbers and social networking sites were exchanged. He's studious, with degrees in English and accounting under his belt, musically-talented as the lead vocalist in an up-and-coming local band and extremely polite; all green lights. He gave me his post-hardcore band's URL and I giggled upon hearing a cover of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" thirty minutes before starting this post. My close friends can attest to my penchant for hardcover covers of terribly catchy pop songs. It's a guilty pleasure that, well, I don't feel guilty for having.

As his stop was before mine, he stood up and explained that he was visiting his sick mom as he held up the single red rose I had first noticed upon taking the seat next to him. When I first saw the rose, I had thought that whomever he intended to give it to, was a lucky, lucky girl. And I still stand by that. A very lucky girl, indeed. So yes, a little crush has somehow made its way into my life.

Truth be told, that day was one of the more perfect days I've had in a while. A few hours after the chance encounter, I went to a restaurant to get some take-out and the girl behind the counter said she loved my hair and if she could please cut it off and put it on her head. It wasn't as creepy as I make it seem; it was very cute. 

A concise summary of the previous paragraphs: I love lovely days.

P.S. Desperately wishing I were in Indio this weekend for Coachella.
P.P.S. Blogger has it out for me, seeing as this is the millionth time I've tried to update this; the page keeps timing out, even though every other page works fine. Odd?

On Let-Downs, Adventures and LA Weekly.

You know what really grinds my gears? When something that's been in the planning stages for a while falls through at the very last second. (Reminiscent of one too many times when I've sat at home, all dressed up with no where to go.) Having no intention of going to a show when the artist rolls through town, talking to someone who states how amazing of an idea it would be if we were to go, getting extremely excited for the night in question, only to be let down. Again and again. Keep in mind that the concert scenario occurred twice in a span of six months.

I've mentioned time and again how I've yearned for a DSLR camera to practice, and hopefully further, my photography skills. He mentioned a grand opportunity to provide me with a camera and a chance to photograph one of the artists he's been working with - an opportunity I was extremely grateful for and literally over the moon about, only to receive one of the most disappointing phone calls I've had in a while on Tuesday afternoon. It's possible I went through a slew of a hundred emotions in one second. Extreme giddiness upon hearing my phone ring, disappointment upon realizing the opportunity wasn't going to come into fruition, and anger for trusting someone that was bound to let me down once more. It's become a set pattern, and I can't believe I allowed it to happen again.

I think I may need better friends.

Retail therapy: I believe in it. That afternoon called for a new pair of sunglasses.

Wednesday proved to be a much better day as I spent the day out and about with my sister. First stop was Hollywood and Highland to do a bunch of ridiculously touristy things: walking up and down the street pointing out names we recognized on the stars, taking photos of the handprints in front of the Chinese Theater and taking a much needed trip to Amoeba.

I thrifted this 1960's toy camera for $2 the other day. I've yet to develop my first roll of film, but it winds well and the shutter works, so I'm hoping that the photos come out alright.

Because of the 80+ degree weather, we felt that a visit to Millions of Milkshakes in WeHo was necessary. We ended the day on the Santa Monica Pier. I was only slightly disappointed that they raised the prices for the rides. Yes, the rides are akin to kitchy carnival rides, but they're fun nonetheless.

What else have I been up to, you ask? You didn't, but just go with it. In an uncharacteristically bold move, I decided to apply to write for LA Weekly's West Coast Sound blog. I sent my application a couple of weeks ago, but as of this moment, I have yet to receive a word back. I'm quite impatient when it comes to matters such as these, haven't you noticed? As of right now, however, I wouldn't mind if I weren't to get a spot. I acted on an impulse and took a risk, things I rarely do, and that's all that matters. Besides, I doubt my knowledge of mainstream music is up to par with the other applicants and well-read bloggers who have successfully placed a foot in the door of the music journalism world. Surely my meager article failed to reach the minimum word count that I didn't even know existed. Oh, and I failed geographically as I chose to compose an article surrounding an event occurring in the O.C. Fail, fail, fail. Fingers are still crossed, though.


First it's a low-toned, mellow whisper that reminds you of the consequences - be careful. A refusal to listen to the first warning prompts The Universe to gently tug at your sleeve. Soon, blatant intimations present themselves to you in the mundane as curious slaps in the face, each warning more violent than the last. You turn a blind eye to what life has kindly shown you despite your knowledge of possible dire outcomes. As a result, what was once an imaginary consequence has taken root in front of your very eyes. You'll look on absolutely numb while remorse and a yearning for a second chance wash over you, but would you take advantage if given another opportunity?

Please take care for the warnings are growing ever frequent.

Giveaways, Grammys, Vlad the Impaler and Skins.

A couple of days ago, I noticed that I was chosen as one of two winners (out of 675 entries!) for a giveaway on A Beautiful Mess. Squeals ensued, perhaps a couple of exaggerated jumps in the air and incredulous facial expressions, too. But I've come across a dilemma - yes, a dilemma within the four days of the grand reveal. I didn't hesitate to e-mail the lovely and inspiring Elsie Flannigan to claim my gift certificate, however, I still haven't received a response. She's a busy person, I realize that, and the last thing I'd want to happen is for me to come across like the overzealous freak that I am when it comes to Red Velvet Art. But dang it, I want my prize. Should I send another e-mail? Perhaps my first one got lost amidst other messages in her inbox.
The Grammys are on right now and while I feel no qualms in being a Taylor Swift fan, isn't it a bit of a stretch to praise her writing ability and say her lyrics are wise beyond her years? I'm pretty sure I can come up with tantalizing lyrics and not have to resort to rhyming "me" with "see". She's still adorable, though. Oh, and I must add - my uneasiness as she accepted her Album of the Year award was palpable; I half expected Kanye West to run onstage and steal her moment once more.

Current: Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian. I have a bit of an impractical schedule when it comes to books I check out from the library. From the date of check-out, you have an allotted three weeks to finish and return it. The first two weeks, I take my sweet time. The third and final week, I step it up quite a bit. A majority of the time, though, it becomes necessary to renew it, which isn't a problem because it can be easily remedied with a click of the mouse. HOWEVER. My aversion to anything history-related prompted me to take my time with this novel even more than usual, with its plot surrounding Vlad the Impaler, and the relationship between Christian West and Islamic East. I planned on renewing it this past weekend to no avail. Because someone has already reserved the book, I can't renew the damn thing, motivating me to go on an insane reading spree the past few days. Not that I'm complaining, but because of the fast pace, I'm sure to overlook a few details here and there, especially the descriptions of the lovely Eastern European cities the protagonists traverse through. My favorite thus far? The description of war-torn (yet lively) Budapest, Hungary illuminating the nighttime waters of the Danube.
Beautiful. I'm sure I don't have to say that this novel has piqued my interest in visiting Europe, do I? Let's take a trip, my treat, and get lost. Not in the cities we'll be seeing, but in one another's eyes. In my opinion, the ease of getting lost in the windows of the soul is magnified with breathtaking backdrops such as this.

There. A verbose Blogspot entry to, hopefully, compensate for the lack of words in the previous weeks. I've been watching the second series of Skins and I think Jal said it best when she exclaimed, "I keep stepping on (land) mines, Cassie!" as tears ran down her cheeks. I do, too, Jal. But things will only get better from here on out. I claim it.

Another Sketchbook Snapshot.

"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." Ralph Waldo Emerson

I was watching a re-run of LA Ink yesterday and this one young lady came in with this quote from Emerson. She said that as a fifteen-year-old girl, she used to think about the meaning of the word "success" and how she hated the definition we've put on the word as a society. What a profound way of thinking at such a young age! I thought. In our generation, we automatically think of material ways to define success - money, a big house, numerous cars, the latest technology, the list goes on and on. She had this quote tattooed on her, coupled with an orange blossom tree to remind herself what the true definition really is on a daily basis. She wanted to hold herself accountable and I absolutely fell in love with the idea. While I wouldn't get this as a permanent tattoo on my body, I felt that documenting it in this sketchbook was the next best thing. I constantly bring myself down for not being society's definition of "successful." I should learn to look at the smaller things and realize that I am successful in those regards. And to put it bluntly, those kinds of achievements in life will go further than the materialistic forms of success, right?

Hiatus from Blogspot; lurk Tumblr for updates! Trust & pixie dust.

A Random Thought and Updates.

You'd think that finally hearing a confession I've been waiting since seventh grade for (I'm twenty, now. Do the math.) would propel me to incredible highs. That I'd be so inspired to write that I would have numerous posts queued on the mere subject alone. Sadly, that's not the case. The conversation we had three nights ago hasn't found its way out of my mind yet and an emptiness has begun to fill every crevice. Who would have thought that a void would have as much weight — even more so in matters of the heart — as something so concrete and distinct, its polar opposite? Also, this just had to make its presence known in the month preceding February, when seemingly everything explodes with hearts, pinks and reds. Truth of the matter is, there simply isn't anything I can do about the situation. I should just take Russell Peters' advice and and be a (wo)man. Takeitandgo.

A couple of updates:
  • I recently stumbled upon Maddy's IndieVISUAL Journal Challenge, where you draw something representing your day, everyday and post it online for the world to see. It's a year-long project and while I highly doubt I'll be able to complete all 365 days, I'll be sure to take it one day at a time. I've posted a couple on my Flickr page, as well as on Tumblr. If you've ever wanted to start an illustrated journal, please, please, please consider taking part in this, too.

  • The oh-so-lovely Kina Grannis at The Troubadour next week!
  • The last thing I want to do is jinx it, but everything looks peachy for part deux of Drummer Boy's audition. He drives back up to Santa Clara on the fifteenth. Keep him in your prayers, please!
  • The idea of making resolutions never really appealed to me because it's inevitable for goals to fall by the wayside. Besides, if you really want to change something about yourself, why wait for the beginning of a new year? Just change. With that said, I'm sticking to my pescetarian diet, and gradually stepping it up to vegetarianism. I'll have to look into Vegan Yum Yum, a cookbook that Kyla Roma suggested.
  • Kafka on the Shore is a strange one! With parallels to "Oedipus Rex", you can't really expect anything but.
  • One of the people I'm following on Tumblr has written a novel and is willing to mail out previous drafts to those that are interested. I'M INTERESTED! Problem is, I'm one of those super paranoid freaks (and rightly so) that would never in a million years give out my address to someone random on the internet. A solution? Get a P.O. box. But is it really worth it to pay $45 to open one up for a book? Thoughts and opinions would be greatly appreciated.
Meager updates, yeah? Blame it on the lack of inspiration.

Oh. For those of you that made a New Years resolution, you should check out The Small Object's download for today -- a 2010 Daily Resolution Record Keeper. For every day you complete your goal, you simply place a stamp, a sticker, whatever on the corresponding date. If it worked when we were children (gold stars!), why shouldn't it work now? ;] Besides, it would be pretty neat to see the entire thing filled up (with a few gaping holes, here and there) by year's end.

Hope everyone's doing well!

Currently listening: