Category Archives: Hobbying

Hobbies and extracurricular activities

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?

Fails

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.

Wins

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

Bonus

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!

OakMonster.com - Reach for the sky

Day 25: Easy Like Sunday Morning

5 Thoughts

  • It’s Sunday. Why am I up at 7 a.m. without the alarm for no reason at all? Oh right. I started coughing. So much for going to bed without Nyquil for the first time in a week.
  • What a beautiful day outside and pleasant inside. It’s a great day to do whatever!
  • And so we went mattress shopping. And it was virtually painless (except for when I cut my thumb on the laminated price sheet). We were in and out of the store in less than 30 minutes. Our new mattress arrived within a few hours.
  • TV Binge damage list. On TV: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Graham Norton Show, X-Men: First Class. Netflix: half of Supernatural pilot, Down Periscope, 2 episodes of Doctor Who, 2 episodes of Farscape, and Room 237.
  • And talk about how people want to see whatever they want to see, there are some crazy theories about The Shining movie. This is beyond the obvious stuff we already discussed in film school and communication classes. And *whistle* people put wayyyy too much thought into this.

Today’s Photo

Our new mattress and frame is a lot taller than our old one. Standing on the bed, I can now touch the ceiling.

OakMonster.com - Reach for the sky

Breakfast

Leftover foolproof frittata from yesterday.

Second Breakfast

Goldfish crackers.

Elevensies

Roasted Shishito Peppers, and half of tuna salad made with olive oil, lime juice, and capers.

Lunch

An El Pollo Loco chicken taco.

Afternoon Tea

The other half of the giant cherimoya from last night. Boozy Chirimoya Alegre round 2!

Supper

2 El Pollo Loco chicken drumsticks and 2 flour tortillas, and more Shishito Peppers. (Brandon likes them. YAY!)

Dinner

Strawberries with sour cream and brown sugar.

*

For those who just now joined in, here’s why I’m going on “The Hobbit Diet” of eating seven times a day for a month.

OakMonster.com - Lord of Chaos and Captain Bubbles at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire

Day 11: A Hobbit at the Renaissance Faire

5 Thoughts

  • Need to eat 7 times a day is easy when you’re at a Renaissance Faire, I tell you. There’s food EVERYWHERE and tavern at every corner! And I want to eat EVERYTHING!
  • Fortunately for me, there’s only so much cash in my wallet…
  • …and even less room underneath my underbust corset. LOL
  • Seriously. There must be a study somewhere about how women get drunk faster and/or feeling the effect of alcohol more while wearing a corset. I had 2 drinks and I was well schnookered when I got home.
  • How about that Tyrion Lannister, eh? What a bad ass.

Today’s Photo

Thanks Ken for a rare photo of Lord of Chaos and Captain Bubbles. We took so many photos of everyone else, we rarely had any of our own!

OakMonster.com - Lord of Chaos and Captain Bubbles at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire

Breakfast

Half of the stuffed cookies from the Deli News.

I bought THREE of those. Hee. So yes, I still have some left.

Second Breakfast

Harmless Harvest Coconut Water.

Coconut water is the best thing to gear up for day drinking! Between having worked on a project for another coconut water company and having grown up on fresh Thai young coconut, I am a bit of a coconut water snob. But I have to say that Harmless Harvest is the BEST tasting coconut water by far. It tastes like it came right of the coconut!

Elevensies

Fried oysters and chips and the Evil Queen’s Kiss (raspberry pear cider with chocolate port floater).

Best. Elevensies. Ever!

Lunch

Nutella and strawberry crepe with loads of whipped cream. And another Evil Queen’s Kiss.

Best. Lunch. Ever!

Afternoon Tea

A large McDonald’s fries.

I inhaled it. Talk about alcohol-fueled binging. Sheesh…

Supper

Home made beef stroganoff.

Got up off my butt to do it after eating crap all day.

Dinner

I didn’t have any because I was asleep by 7:30 p.m. LOL

*

For those who just now joined in, here’s why I’m going on “The Hobbit Diet” of eating seven times a day for a month.

 

 

OakMonster.com - Justin Davidson Photography - Wolverine of the Bombshell Avengers

Day 9: Wolverine Doesn’t Care About Calorie Counting

5 Thoughts

….well, screw the five thoughts for today. I have ONE major rant.

Whoever said that keeping a food journal and tracking your calorie intake is good for your diet must really and truly hate food, and therefore hate life.

I mean, look at me. I have NEVER felt guilty about my food choices or what I eat. For the past few days, I have been anxious and upset over the fact that I’ve exceeded the 1,550 calories per day limit MyFitnessPal had given me. Sure, I gave myself room to be able to go up to 1,773 as it is an average of all the of daily calorie limits I gathered in my pre-challenge research. But by merely looking at the negative numbers in red on MyFitnessPal, I feel the scarlet numbers burning on my chest.

-200.

-267.

Hester Prynne ain’t got nothing on me with those letters. Check out my extra calories, bitch!

And all of the sudden, I felt fat and defeated.

Have you ever heard me talk about gaining weight or feeling guilty about food? I thought so!

See what this calorie counting business is doing to my psychological welling being and sense of self?  And I am NOT supposed to feel guilty about food and eating especially if I’m eating SEVEN times a day! Effin’ eh.

So yes. I hope I come out this without gaining a permanent eating disorder.

Sheesh…

Today’s Photo

While I was already feeling guilty about my supper choice at Deli News before I even entered it into the app, I immediately sought retail therapy at Amazing Comics next door, and bought myself two more books to add to my Intro to Wolverine collection.

I think I might be a little obsessed after having cosplayed him at Wonder Con (as featured on The Mary Sue).

OakMonster.com - Justin Davidson Photography - Wolverine of the Bombshell Avengers

And you know what? Wolverine would NOT be caught dead worrying about his weight or his calorie intake.

Damn right, bub.

I’m motherfuckin’ Wolverine. I can handle this.

Breakfast

Half of Jamba Juice Sweet Belgian Waffle and half of Jamba Juice Carrot Orange Fusion, small, with C and Zinc, and 3G Caffeine booster.

I cheated a little bit today by going to Jamba Juice and splitting the orders to cover my first three meals.

Second Breakfast

The other half of that waffle.

Elevensies

The other half of that smoothie.

Lunch

The last little bit of the prime rib and corn on the cobb from Wednesday night.

Afternoon Tea

A few pieces of Hot Cheetos chased by a handful of dried blueberries and a passion fruit iced tea.

Supper

Not even a quarter of the order of fettuccine alfredo with chicken and broccoli…but I did eat a whole meatball. Heh.

Dinner

A few bites of Haagen Dazs Caramel Cone ice cream.

*

For those who just now joined in, here’s why I’m going on “The Hobbit Diet” of eating seven times a day for a month.

OakMonster.com - Geoff Boucher & Jon Favreau

Day 3: Eating Around A Nerd Adventure

5 Thoughts

  • I foresee interesting substitution meal and weird scheduling in the future if I don’t start the day with 8 a.m. Breakfast.
  • I’m getting hungry almost to the minute of my schedule now. It’s kind of creepy…
  • I stuck to the schedule quite well considering that I spent half a day running around LA on geeky adventure with my Team Wicket partner Christine. Hooray for Free Comic Book Day!
  • I fucking hate LA.
  • I did exceed the 1,550 calorie allotment by a little bit, but still within the 1550-1773 range. Considered that I was under the limit for the first few days, I think I’m alright.

Today’s Photo

Yes, I’m short. And yes, that is Jon Favreau.

The man responsible for this picture is on your left. That’s Geoff Boucher, alpha geek and now the host of The Nerdist’s newest podcast Humans from Earth. (Not on their site yet but keep your eyes out.) I’ve been following Geoff since his very first coverage of Comic Con for the LA Times which launched the Hero Complex blog and  the film festival. When he did the same for Entertainment Weekly’s Cape Town, I was there too. I finally get to meet him in person here at his third reincarnation at The Nerdist.

And he introduced me to Jon Favreau as his first fan. It’s kind of insane.

Breakfast

A cup of tea with sugar and cream and a nectarine.

Making room for Second Breakfast…

Second Breakfast

French toast made with 7 grain bread.

I had to wait for Brandon to wake up so I can make breakfast for both of us. Hee.

Elevensies

About a quarter of a Jicama.

Team Wicket was going out on an adventure so my plan was starting to get thrown off right here.

Luncheon

Half of Alternative Baking Company Chocolate Chip Vegan Cookie.

Team Wicket was on the move when lunch time rolled around so I pulled into a Taco Bell and grabbed a burrito. I took two bites and threw it out so I’m not counting that as a meal. It was disgusting. So when I got to the theater, I got me a cookie.

Afternoon Tea

At the Pig ‘n Whistle: Half a plate of fried calamari and half a plate of the Roasted Brussels Sprouts salad.

Hmmm….roasted Brussels Sprouts. So good. Sooooo good.

Supper

At Starry Kitchen: One crispy tofu ball, one piece of the clay pot caramelized striped bass with pancetta, and house cured roast pork belly XO fried rice.

Christine and I split the dinner and we both took home leftovers. Glorious, glorious, leftover.

Dinner

That other half of the vegan cookie.

*

ETA: For those who just now joined in, here’s why I’m going on “The Hobbit Diet” of eating seven times a day for a month.

OakMonster.com - Brandon and Oakley with the Endeavor

10 Goals for 2014

Let’s do a quick recap of 2013 first.

2013 Goals: kind of 7 out of 10

Find a job I love? Check! Oh my god, check!

Don’t finish last at Race on the Base? Totally check. What I didn’t expect is that I would stick with running and continue to run 5K races around the neighborhood. This year’s Race on the Base is my one year anniversary race, and also my last race in a series of 3 to receive my first ever series medal!

Be able to do 20 burpees in a row? I wouldn’t say in a CONTINUOUS row. I can push through to 20, but after the first 10, it’ll just take some time. ;-)

Learn Indesign? Check.

See my BFF Nora once a month? Totally check. We were both so good at making time, and putting things on calendar this year. We even did a camping trip together! It worked out really well.

Read 12 books a year? I cheated a little with a big stack of graphic novels on loan from our neighbor Andrew. But here’s my list:

  1. Days of Blood & Starlight – Laini Taylor
  2. Frozen Heat – Richard Castle
  3. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn. I have to say I love how horrible Gillian Flynn makes these characters. I hate EVERYBODY, and to get me all invested in characters this much means the writing is really, really good.
  4. School for Good and Evil – Soman Chainani. Adorable YA. My niece-in-law has this book now and she loves it too.
  5. Dark Places – Gillian Flynn. Since I liked Gone Girl, I gave this one a shot. Meh. I don’t even remember what it’s about at this point…
  6. Serenity: Those Left Behind – Joss Whedon
  7. Batman: The Killing Joke – Alan Moor/Brian Bolland
  8. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot. Intriguing for a little while, but then it got boring. This is why I should never pick up another nonfiction ever again.
  9. V for Vendetta – Alan Moore
  10. Superman: Secret Identity – Kurt Busiek/Stuart Immonen.
  11. Superman: Birthright – Mark Waid/Leinil Francis Yu.  Great origin story. I really dig Supes in this.
  12. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky. Am I too old to appreciate this book? Because it seems to be a book about nothing to me.
  13. Doctor Sleep – Stephen King. Now I’m going to go back and read The Shining.

Now, as for what I didn’t do: archery once a month and taking old documents to shredder.

And then there were the almosts. I did make a pie crust from scratch once, it wasn’t any good. Then I rolled out someone else’s crust, and baked with pre-made crusts several times. Pretty much, more pies than I ever baked in my life all within 3 months. And then catching up on Doctor Who, I got through Season 1 and I’m almost done with Season 2. I’m nearly there!

So, that makes 6 completed goals, 2 failures, and 2 almosts which, to me, make a one. Hence, kind of 7 out of 10!

Before we look at 2014…

To tell you the truth, I almost didn’t write goals for 2014. I almost let Brandon be right when he said last year that I shouldn’t even call these goals or even setting them because I never really tried to complete them.

But then I thought, I should set them anyway. Many of the 2013 goals sent me down a completely different path. It’s more like 10 adventures to embark on or 10 quests to complete. Some will fail, and some will succeed. But you wouldn’t know it if you didn’t set any goals at all.

For example, I might have failed at doing archery once a month, but I haven’t given up on running. As a matter of fact, I joined a gym so that I could run when the street condition isn’t optimum for me.  Also, I might not have made a successful pie crust from scratch, but I’ve worked with several pre-made crusts this year to give me confidence.

Besides, I might not have learned to make a pie crust, but I did learn how to tie a roast. So there!

Goals for 2014

1. Run 5K under 40 minutes.

My best time has been around 42 minutes. I’m starting to train with a heart rate monitor now so we’ll see if this works out.

2. Make a pie crust from scratch

I’m still going to try, goddammit.

3. Finish reading “S”

I got started on “S” by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst all enthusiastic. But when you had a full day of work, by the time you get in bed to read, you want something to read to escape for a while and to wind down for the day. You don’t want to get all pumped up and frustrated by a fictional story by a fictional writer, full of footnotes that potential contain clues, plus TWO other people “talking” around the margins. It’s too much!

Seriously. This book takes so much effort that I have to pick it up from the nightstand and back on the living room table. It needs to be its own project. But I’m not going to give up!

4. Learn basic greetings in Quenya and insults in Klingon

“You took 2 years of Italian, and you’re not even going to put that back on your goals, but you’re going to learn phrases in fictional languages?” asked Brandon.

Yes, yes I am. I don’t know. I just want to be able to say, May the stars shine upon your path in Quenya–that is Elvish to you muggles–because it would sound beautiful and awesome. Also, fuck you assholes in Klingon should probably sound menacing as hell. I mean, who wouldn’t you want to curse someone out in a language they would probably not understand?

5. The Hobbits Challenge

It’s always been a joke that Thai people are like Hobbits: we eat at least 7 times a day! This point was made very clear when my Thai girl friends came to stay with me after New Year’s Day. So, I thought it would be fun to try to eat like a Hobbit for a month and see if it helps with anything or worsen anything.

And yes, I will be blogging what I eat daily and report the process. The eating part is easy, it’s the blogging part that might be a challenge. When will I start this? Soon, grasshoppers. Soon.

OakMonster.com - Hobbit's Daily Meals

6. Take Brandon on an adventure once a month

This is separate objective than taking a quarterly mini-vacation around the area. Brandon and I went to see the space shuttle Endeavor at the California Science Center last weekend through a USC alumni program. And we had a wonderful time. I realized we don’t go out on fun day-trip like that as often as we should, even as a member of the Aquarium of the Pacific. So, I’m going to try to get us out to play at least once a month, even it means dragging him to a USC football game once! ;-D

OakMonster.com - Brandon and Oakley with the Endeavor

7. Connect with “long lost” friends once a month

If I haven’t seen someone in over 6 months and they live within an hour of driving, it’s time to schedule a meet. Last year’s “meet with Nora once a month” has worked out beautifully so I’d like to spread the wealth to see others this year.

8. Eat fruit and/or vegetables daily

Now, you’re thinking, how could the girl who works at a produce company not eat fruit/vegetable everyday? It’s not the accessibility: it’s the mindfulness.  Oh, you’ll be surprised at how I could go through the day thinking about the 7 meals I could have and none of them would have vegetables in it. I’m horrible at that.

9. Revamp this blog

I know the blog has been grossly neglected, but I’m in a desperate need of change. I’m also thinking about bringing Food.OakMonster.com back into this blog. So we shall see.

10. Read 12 books a year.

I already bought myself 2 sets of Barnes & Noble’s collectible edition to start the year with: Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Anansi Boys, and Stephen King’s Carrie, The Shining, and Salem’s Lot.  There’s also Commander Chris Hadfield’s An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth waiting bedside right now. It’s going to be a great year for books!

Let’s see how well we do in 2014. Any goals of yours to share?