I Miss This, Don’t You?

I went to grab a drink with Priscilla tonight and we reminisced how we first met. On Twitter, naturally, before we finally met face to face.

We were both bloggers then. Me and my random, ranty, nerdy blog with the food spin-off that was starting to go somewhere. Then I got a job in the produce industry and the blogging stopped. Both the food side and this side.

Why is it that when something you love to do as a hobby become your job, it wasn’t quite as fun any more?

A quick walk down the memory lane with Priscilla tonight got me thinking about both of my creations. OakMonster.com was launched in 2003, and Food.OakMonster.com started in January 2007.

OakMonster.com has always been aimless. No niche. No focus. It’s me talking about whatever hell I feel like talking about that day.

Unlike today when people start a blog with a purpose–building personal brand, showcasing thought leadership, sharing recipes, reviewing products, travel diary, etc., back then, blogging was an easy way to share thoughts and ideas online.

By easy, I meant that your other option at the time is to code your own website. Oh yes, my Geocities sites were pretty kickin’. I’d spend some nights coding away. But I digress.

First, blogging. Then, niche blogging. Then there are all the strategies. You need to get the picture added. You need to have keywords embedded. You need this, and that, and other to grow your Klout and influence, and…now you’re not doing so well and nobody wants to talk to you any more.

It’s starting to become harder to blog. It’s slowly becoming a second job. Eventually, I found other hobbies and I can enjoy and feel a lot less pressure to succeed. (Not everyone is going to judge a Slave Leia Harley Quinn, I’m just sayin’…) And the blogs were kind of abandoned.

Asiatique creepy house - Bangkok - Thailand

This residence was built in 1912 in Bangkok. Now, a part of Asiatique, it awaits renovation. Does that sound familiar?

But I miss it. I miss writing. I miss spouting off in more than just 150 characters. I miss ranting about random things. I like not having a purpose. Or a niche. Or a measurement of success.

Can a girl just write and not aim to get a book deal any more?

If you say, “That’s what LiveJournal is for!” then you’re probably right. And LOL to that.

Also, I’ve been writing a daily gratitude post on my personal Facebook since the first of November. Sometime a story sprung out of that and became a bit of a blog post.

I started to miss blogging right about then. Sparks are starting to fly.

And tonight, without knowing that she did, Priscilla just added the kindling to those sparks.

This regularly scheduled blogging thing may be catching fire here.

But first, I’m going to fucking fix this mother fucking page.


The Fail Wailers - Fitzgerald's - Huntington Beach

6-Month Check Up

Hey hey party people! It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Frankly, I haven’t blogged because I’m ashamed of the state of my blog. JUST LOOK AT IT!!! I know it’s been broken for quite sometime now and I have all the intentions to fix it. But I couldn’t bring myself to the computer. Part of that is also literal, as in my office is a total FEMA disaster zone with all the cosplay and arts and crafts stuff everywhere that getting my desk is like a Spartan Race.

As a part of my reorganizing, I can’t really put much away yet either. So everything is just kind of…there. I just need a weekend away from the couch. Ahem.

That’s besides the point. The point is for me to check in on my progress for the year on my goal. Aren’t you curious about that? May be just smidget? I know you are!

Run 5K under 40 minutes

Still a hurdle, this one. So far the first few races of the year, I’m still consistently at the same time. But I haven’t changed much in terms of training. So that explains…everything. LOL

Learn to make fried chicken

I have been in the kitchen a lot less lately too! Tamara has offered to teach me to fry some chicken so I must take advantage of that before she moves to Oregon in July.

Cook one new recipe each month

I’ve been whipping up new drinks. Does that count?

I’ve gotten so horrible with cooking, and California heat is not helping with that.

Revamp the blog

I bought a new theme tonight! It’s coming. For realsies.

Play piano/guitar once a month

Now THIS has exceeds all expectations. Remember that whole impromptu Christmas gathering thing? It turns into a band. Say hello The Fail Wailers!

We have tested the waters at a few open mic nights around the OC, but earlier this week, we played a 30-minute set at a bar in Huntington Beach. Not only did we not get booed, we are invited back! (ETA – Next gig TBA!)

The Fail Wailers - Fitzgerald's - Huntington Beach

Heather (The Voice), Ken (Dear Leader), Wyatt (The Beard). and yours truly (The Token).

Downsize and simplify everything

I’m slowly but surely going through the house and getting rid of stuff. We dumped the dinner table that my aunt passed down to me that I’ve had for 18 years. Instead got another Ikea shelving unit with a table attached. That significantly cut down on clutter big time. But I still have a LOT more work to do especially in my office. See earlier point about not having been able to walk to my desk.

Stop wasting time and energy on those who don’t deserve it…

Saying no is a powerful thing. I know that now.

…and spend more time and energy on those who do

Yet, it’s still hard to say YES! I’m clearing the deck as much as I can. But when everyone’s schedule is equally insane, this is getting to be a lot harder to accomplish.

One adventure a month with Brandon

January: Sycamore Mineral Springs & Avila Beach, San Luis Obispo.
February: Brandon’s first Race on the Base!
March: Seal Beach 5K.
April: WonderCon, Star Wars Celebration, and two rounds of Renaissance Faire.
May: Epcot and Kennedy Space Center, Florida
June: OC Night Market
July: We’re heading out to Brandon’s sister’s wedding in New Mexico.

So, we’re pretty much on track here adventure-wise. :)

Star Wars Celebration 2015

HarLeia Quinn and Jokerlorian. Live from Star Wars Celebration 2015!


Suit Up Disney is busy making business deals. Photo by Robert T Photography.

Read 12 books

I’ve developed a comic book habit, so this list is going to get a little more complicated. You wouldn’t think reading comic books should count as books, but when you read a series, it does take quite as much time. So, I’m just going to list everything together.

  • Currently: The Buried Giant – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • Death of Wolverine – Charles Soule, Steve McNiven
  • Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America – Gerry Duggan
  • Ongoing – Thor (I’m on #6 and pissed about it.)
  • Ongoing – Harley Quinn New 52 (whenever it comes back)
  • Ongoing – Spider-Gwen (Well…not much longer. We’re not digging the direction of where this is going.)
  • Ongoing – Silk (…we like her more, actually.)
  • Incoming – Groot, drawn by one of my favorite people, Brian Kesinger!
  • Incoming – Mini Marvel, drawn by one of my favorite artists, Scotty Young!

I still have a bunch of classics I want to read on my shelf along with a few business books. Next on my list is finishing The American Gods before the TV series come out.

Now, back to you. What have y’all been up to these past 6 months?

OakMonster - Run for A Claus

10 Goals for 2015

What an interesting year 2014 has been. 2015 goals are less lofty but more personal. But first, a recap.

2014 Goals Recap: 5 out of 10 + Extra Credit

Last year’s list was quite and ambitious one. Let’s start with all the fails, shall we?


I did not run 5K under 40 minutes at any of the 5 races I did this year. Nor did I finish reading “S”. I don’t even know where I’ve put the book at this point!

I did not learn new phrases in Quenya or Klingon, which, ironically, is the opposite of the only one Klingon word I know, Q’apla which is used as a goodbye/good luck but literally means “success”.

Nor did I seek out “long lost” friends to hang out once a month but I had a few connections.

And obviously, the blog did not get revamp. It got broken but it did not get fixed.


I finally made a pie crust from scratch! Delicious, buttery, crumbly quiche crust for Thanksgiving. One more thing off my Bucket List. Woohoo!

OakMonster - Brussels Sprout Quiche

I completed the Hobbit Diet Challenge in grand style, and took Brandon on an adventure once a month, almost. I cheated a bit on eating fruit and/or vegetables daily with Jamba Juice and smoothie pouches. But hey, I’m doing it!

Finally, I read more than 12 “books” this year. Okay, seven actual books with a good number of graphic novels and comic series. I didn’t say it in the goal last year but I wanted to get into comic books a little bit. After all, how could you cosplay Wolverine effectively if you don’t really know him?

  • Lucky Us – Amy Bloom
  • Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness
  • School for Good and Evil: A World without Princes – Soman Chainani
  • Dresden Files: Skin Game – Jim Butcher
  • The Fault in our Stars – John Green (Audio Book)
  • Dreams of Gods & Monsters – Laini Taylor
  • An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth – Chris Hadfield
  • Gwen Stacy: Spider-man. Edge of Spider-Verse #2 – Jason Latour
  • Harley Quinn: The New 52 – Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti
  • Wolverine: Killable – Paul Cornell
  • Wolverine: Weapon X – Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Wolverine Origin – Bill Jemas, Joe Quesada and Paul Jenkins
  • Old Man Logan – Mark Millar & Steve McNiven
  • Wolverine – Chris Claremont & Frank Miller
  • Deadpool Complete Collection Volume 1 – Daniel Way
  • Serenity: Leaves on the Wind –  Zack Whedon


I didn’t plan on participating in Nerdvember, but then I did. What a month of creative expression! I’ve learned 2 things from this exercise: I hate doing a daily selfie and trying to find something new to wear everyday (that is not t-shirt and jeans) is hard.

2015 Goals

Well, here’s what will get a little tricky. Some of these are actual, quantifiable goals. Some are more of a behavioral shift I want to make. We’ll see how we do!

Run 5K under 40 minutes

I’m still going to try! I have to do some more research and find some more training methods to try out.

Learn to make fried chicken

I’ve tried so many different ways and still can’t seem to get the chicken to cook through. I don’t know what my problem is. Many friends have offered to show me the way. So, there will be a lot of fried chicken in my future. This is also an item in my Bucket List.

Cook one new recipe each month

I’ve set this goal back in 2012 and failed. But it was set as cooking a new recipe AND blogging about it. It’s the blogging part that led to the fail, I believe. If I just COOK the meal and not plan a blog around it would have probably worked out better.

Revamp the blog

About damn time, right? 😉

Play piano/guitar once a month

At a recent Christmas gathering at Tamara’s house, the party broke into a sing-along. At one point, Ken, Wyatt, Heather, and I got a four-part harmony going for “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” with everyone singing along.  That definitely inspired me to get back to MAKING music.

Here’s the video of the second go-around of the song after I had left the party.

The feels

A video posted by Tamara Hooper Greet (@tamarakayeg) on

Downsize and simplify everything

I don’t necessarily hoard things. But I have a “let’s keep it just in case” problem. I’ve started working on this process already by moving some of the clothes into the costume closet (because, well, I kind of saved them for THAT reasons) and giving away most of my earrings since I will not re-pierce my ears. I hope to clear out more clothes, gift wraps, arts and craft supplies (there must be some dead tubes of water colors in the box somewhere!), and possibly some books too.

Stop wasting time and energy on those who don’t deserve it…

You already know I’m a year-round gifter and generally a helpful individual. I don’t expect anything in return–it’s just a thing that I do. I don’t usually keep tabs but recently, someone did something that made me reevaluate my good intentions.  It dawned on me I was being taken advantage of. There are people who a) expect me to treat them to things ALL THE TIME, b) keep me company because they get things from me, and, the straw that breaks my back, c) take my generosity for granted.

Fuck that. I’m not doing those fuckers any more kindness.

Stop swimming across oceans for those who won't jump a puddle for you

…and spend more time and energy on those who do

That’s right. I’m going to spend more time and energy on REAL friends from now on.

I may have been guilty of the same crime of not paying attention to some friends, thinking that they’d always be there for me. To that I also say, no more. I will pay more attention to those around me and make an effort to be a better friend.

One adventure a month with Brandon

Sure, I sort of accomplish that last year. But it also comes to my attention that I went gallivanting alone a lot last year, and not putting as much attention into OUR relationship. Well, I’m going to fix that too.

Read 12 books

A permanent goal. If I don’t set it, I won’t do it!

Alright kids. What’s on your 2015 list? Share!

Nerdvember: The Final Days

It’s kind of hard to finish off Nerdvember during Thanksgiving AND the last USC football game of the year. But I did try.

Day 28: Elf from Rise of the Guardian

Inspiration: Christmas tree decoration at the office! I wasn’t going to wear the same ol’ elf hat for that. 😉

Components: The beautiful, handmade shrug from Pandoras Kloset. (Same person that I got my Jayne’s arm warmers from. And no, I cannot afford a full coat.) Red t-shirt. Red leg warmers.

Challenges: Remembering to pick up the long hood–goes all the way down to my butt–before going to the bathroom, or sit down at my desk. Comments from Muggles: I thought someone would’ve commented on the weird/funky shrug, but nope. Nothing. I think my coworkers are getting used to my “sense of style.”

Day 29: Helen of Troy/Lady Trojan

Inspiration: I first brought out Helen last year at USC Homecoming. Since I missed it this year, I was hoping the weather would be warm enough for Notre Dame game to bring her out. And it was! Components: The dress. The cape. The underbust corset. The sandals. The helmet. Extra point for my grandmother’s red shawl with gold embroidery, not shown in this picture, and the red leg warmers I wore over the sandals earlier in the day, you know, at 6:30 a.m. when I arrived on campus to set up the tailgate party for USC Alumni Club of LA Beach Cities.

#settostunning #Nerdvember Day 29: @uscedu edition: Helen of Troy. #FightOn #BeattheIrish A photo posted by oakley boren (@oakmonster) on

Challenges: I was going to wear this to the Coliseum, but having some drunken Irish fans hollering at me on my way to my last tailgate changed my mind. I know, it sucks. And the world shouldn’t be that way, but it is. I’m not going to put myself in a situation. Besides, short skirt going up and down the Coliseum steps is just not good sense. Heh.

Comments from Muggles: “Fight on!” naturally. :)

Day 30: Hulk at Home

Inspiration: Nothing. Nada. It’s the last day before we go back for the full work week. I’m going to be lazy about it.

Components: Purple shorts I bought for Hulk Bunny which is now my lounge around the house shorts. And Hulk t-shirt Christine bought for me.

Challenges: Getting out of my comfy pink robe to put that on. LOL

Comments from Muggles: No muggles here, fool. Just me, B, and Burt the Hippo.


Nerdvember Day 27: Han Solo

Inspiration: We were going over to our friends’ house for Thanksgiving dinner. Since we don’t have many Nerdvember days left, I really, REALLY want to wear my brand new Gold Bubble Clothing’s Sherlock Holmes dress since I didn’t get to do it last time. The dress looks AWESOME because it’s nice and snug. However, I thought about all the eating we were going to do and then I reconsidered my choice of attire. An A-line dress that does not restrict the belly is a much better choice!

Components: Her Universe Han Solo dress I bought from Hot Topic. Star pendant. And my very own Mandalorian. 😉

Challenges: Accessories, man. Accessories. I don’t have ANYTHING!

Comments from Muggles: A few people at dinner recognized the dress as Han’s. Success!


Nerdvember Day 26: Firefly

Inspiration: Working half day! I wasn’t going to put too much effort into it. 😉

Components: Jason Palmer’s Firefly t-shirt. Another ThinkGeek vintage Jayne zip up hoodie. There was a fluffy pompom on top of the hood but I lost it years ago.

#Nerdvember Day 26: #Firefly. #settostunning Classic @thinkgeek Jayne hoodie + Jason Palmer’s tee. #Browncoats

A photo posted by oakley boren (@oakmonster) on

Challenges: Wearing geek t-shirt feels a little bit like cheating. LOL

Comments from Muggles: Nada banana just as expected.