Category Archives: Hobbying

Hobbies and extracurricular activities - Hulk Bunny and Grant Imahara

Five for Friday: Retro Hair, Les Miz Surprise, and Hulk Bunny Thump!

Five for Friday is a weekly series about the five new things I learned each week. It could be anything from a new recipe, new skills, or a new life lesson.

Stan Lee’s Comikaze is actually quite mellow…for now

The Hulk Bunny had a great time last Sunday. I ran into a little girl Hulk, and that was awesome.  Lou Ferrigno was there at his own booth and people all rushed up to see him and get a picture. He grinned and pointed at a sign that says it’s $40 to have a photo taken with him.  I understand that the actor needs to make his money, but $40?! I should’ve taken a photo of the half circle that was formed around his table.  People were just standing around, looking at him like some caged animal, waiting to see who would actually pay $40 for a photo.  I mean, at that price, unless you’re a huge fan, nobody is going to approach the guy.  It was quite a spectacle.

On the other hand, Hannah Minx charges $10 for autograph and $5 for a photo. I’ve got both for Brandon!  And from a few booths away, I found the artist who drew Brandon’s favorite version of Harley Quinn. Jamie Tyndall signed the print that will now be hanging at this desk.

Booyah! Wife of the year award, right here. - Hulk Bunny and Hannah Minx

Hannah Minx and Hulk Bunny: the odd couple

The highlight of the Expo is finding Mythbusters’ Grant Imahara quite by accident. I was actually squeeing at the life-size R/C Wall-E when I looked up to find Grant at the control!  I abandoned my idea of getting a picture with Wall-E and B-lined to Grant instead. Hee. - Hulk Bunny and Grant Imahara

Hulk Bunny <3 Grant!

It was the Best Sunday so far this year! :)  You can see the entire gallery of photos on my Facebook page or my Flickr set.

Doing origami wearing a zentai suit is hard

While at the Comikaze, I bought a Star Wars Origami book and the author offered to teach us how to make Yoda right there at the table. As you can see in this picture Annette took of me, it really is difficult to do origami wearing gloves. As a lifelong student of origami, I felt so lame asking the author to help me do some of the smaller folds because I couldn’t feel the paper. - - Hulk Bunny vs. Star Wars Origami

Victory rolls

I’m working on some ideas for my Halloween costumes. For one of them, I thought the 1940s pin-up girl hair would be perfect. I found out that what I want to do is called Victory Rolls.

Victory Rolls -

So, I’ve been going through YouTube videos in search of the best way to do up my hair without using a curling iron–since I don’t own one…or know how to use it.

And wow, rolling your own hair and pinning it up requires a lot more strength than I ever thought!  Seriously. Try holding your arms up above your head with your elbow bent for a few minutes. It gets really tiring!

I have about a month to learn how to do this right or I have to scrap this costume idea and going with something else. So we shall see…

One can never get used to rejections

After almost two years of not having a permanent, full-time job, you’d think I’d be used to rejections by now.  Within one week, I was turned down for a permanent position, a freelance full-time position, and a small contract.

Oh, and USC also lost to Stanford because Barkley decided to grow a mustache. (The USC QB Mustache Curse. It’s real.)

I have written about how to battle those days when you feel like you suck at everything before, but when it was a combo punch like this, it was a little hard to choke down.

Oddly enough, even though I’ve only been running for 3 weeks, I suddenly understand why some people go out on a run when they’re upset.

I guess I need to grow a thicker skin and/or build better endurance.

Les Miserables is way more awesome than I thought

My favorite musical and highly anticipated movie has just gotten more awesome after I saw this clip.

What’s your weekend plan? - Run Disney

Five for Friday: Running, Camping, Drinking, and Chris Hardwick Envying

Five for Friday is a weekly series (and at the rate I’m blogging…pretty much the only posts these days it seems, LOL) about the five new things I learned each week. It could be anything from a new recipe, new skills, or a new life lesson.

Fireball Whiskey

When I go to USC football games, I hang out at Psychogate, the official tailgate of Roy “USC Psycho” with whom I’ve been friends since college. While Jagermeister has been the alcohol of choice, this week, we were introduced to Fireball Whiskey.

I feel like calling this sweet cinnamon awesomeness a whiskey is a misnomer. It tastes like a sweeter and smoother Goldschläger, and NOTHING of whiskey.

Oh, and that was the dangerous thing. It’s so tasty, you didn’t think it would kick your ass. I had 2 little shots of those and a Jager, chased by my cider. I almost didn’t make it across campus to the other tailgate…

…where my Trojan brother was waiting to get me drunk on his famous Mai Tai.

Thanks to 2 spam musubis I scored along the way, somehow I managed to survive the day and wake up really early the next morning for my friend Amy.

Importance of Just Showing Up

Disneyland’s Half Marathon was Gridiron Goddess Amy’s first race. Her friend Sigrid from Canada and my cousin Nick were also running.

Considering that I live 15 minutes away from Disneyland, that USC’s first home game was the day before, and that the race was starting at 5:45 a.m., I KNEW I would be the only person who would show up to support Amy on the route.

That Sunday morning, I could’ve slept in. I could’ve just posted on Amy’s page to cheer her on. I could’ve joined her other friends up in LA later on in the day for celebratory lunch.

But instead at 7:30 a.m., I was in the Angel Stadium parking lot in my USC Dr. Seuss hat with signs on my windshield, waiting for the email notification from Sigrid, Nick, and Amy of their respective arrival at the 15K mark inside the Stadium. - Run Disney

When they came around the corner, I screamed their names, waved the sign about, and jogged along side them as far as I could go.

All of them told me just seeing a familiar face there was the boost they needed to get through the last few miles.

Sometimes, all you have to do is just show up.

Couch to 5K…with a Water Belt

While we’re talking about running.

My goal with the running is so that I can run to/from the Los Alamitos Joint Training Base. That comes out to be about 3.5 miles…and that’s pretty much 5K. So guess who is on the 2nd week of Couch to 5K training schedule now? Can you believe it?

The reason why I almost died trying last week was because I remembered the interval wrong. Run 90 seconds and walk 2 minutes for 20 minutes. I was running 2 minutes and walking for 90 seconds. No wonder why I couldn’t catch my breath!  Now that I got that figured out, training has been more manageable.

So, I was going to be all macho and ran with just my music and a watch, but Brandon insisted I take water with me.  (And thank GOD he did!) I don’t like running with stuff in my hands so I bought this Cambelback Delaney Fit water belt. Now, I can take my phone with MapMyRun with me.

Yesterday, I put $10 in the pouch and set my eyes on the local McDonald’s as my stopping point. Brandon was very grateful for the surprise breakfast in bed.

I want Chris Hardwick’s Life

A day in your bowling shoes, man…

Dude’s living a nerd’s dream! Especially this nerd. I should’ve stolen his life when I met him on the set of Attack of the Show! 2 years ago. Gorram missed opportunity… - Chris Hardwick

Comfort Camping

Brandon and I got out of a town for a few days earlier this week. We wanted to go camping and had picked some fantastic destinations like Sequoia National Park and even Redwood National Park. But being a vacation, Brandon decided that a long road trip wasn’t what he wanted.  We also settled to car camp instead of hike-in to keep things stress-free.

We ended up almost glamour camping just outside of Santa Barbara at Ocean Mesa Campground and RV Park.  Super clean and well-lit bathrooms and hot showers. Pool and hot tub. Free wi-fi. A convenience store. Massage service.  And if you don’t want to cook, you can hike down to the real glamour camping sister site’s general store which has a restaurant in it.

Tent campsites are steps away from all the convenience but far enough that you still feel like you’re actually camping. Except your neighbors are kind of close by and there are not a lot of bushes to separate you or trees to provide shades. And you’re right on the road in and out of the place so you’d hear folks coming and going.

However, we were there during the weekdays so the place was pretty much empty except a few of groups of European tourists and a couple of RVs. Squirrels rule the place but we also spotted quails, bluejays, hawks, and even a couple of condors circling nearby.

We also got to pretend we were REALLY camping, using Swedish fire steel to light our fire pit and firing up the awesome BioLite camp stove to cook some of the dinner AND charge our phones.  Brandon proclaimed my “Tandoori” chicken (got the char from the campfire then finish in the pan over BioLite’s tornado of flames!) with basmati rice and carrots the best camp food ever.  We crawled into our tent well lit by a VERY bright moon.  An hour or so later, we got sprinkled on, and that kept up on and off throughout the night.

The next day, we explored Solvang and Los Olivos before wrapping up with a bowl of Andersen’s split pea soup as a part of our tradition.  A few more hours in the pool and before we had to start thinking about dinner, we decided to just go home.  At this point we did all we wanted to do. And it was effing hot and there was no place to hide at the tent camping site.  Sure, we lost our the fee for the day which we wouldn’t have if we had decided on that before check-out time at noon. But we were done.

We found that we love going completely rugged or being completely spoiled. It didn’t satisfy either of that love when it’s half and half.  We did what we needed which was to get out of town and out of reach for a few days. It was time to go home. - Franklin's new succulent terrarium

Five For Friday: Aquarium, Terrarium, and Bacon

Five for Friday is a weekly series about the five new things I learned each week. It could be anything from a new recipe, new skills, or a new life lesson.

Aquarium of the Pacific’s Discounted Late Nights

I love the Aquarium of the Pacific more now that I have experienced it in the night time with barely another soul in sight. The Aquarium offers discounted late hours admission in the summer from late July through Labor Day. For $14.95, you can roam the place from 5-9 p.m. - Aquarium of the Pacific

Seth and the Jellyfish

I set up a LBC Tweet Up event just for this on Tuesday. 4 others showed up for happy hour at Mai Tai Bar across the way, but only my friend Seth and I were left to explore the Aquarium at 8 p.m.  We almost never run into another group of people except for at the shark lagoon.  We got to have actual conversations with the volunteers and staff.  I can put my face right on the glass to say hello to the otters and penguins without having to fight with anyone.  Even the stingrays popped up to say hello because we were the only ones around to touch them!

Best part? Not a kid in sight. 😉

I’ve been to the first Night Dive before. That was a great night event as well, 18 and over only with art exhibits, live band out at the shark lagoon, DJ spinning in front of the giant tank, and a few bars scattered around.  Still, there was quite a lot of people around.

But this was different. This was midweek at 8 p.m., quiet as a grave. Just you and the sea creatures. It was magical.

Dreams Do Come True…If You Work Hard

All of us have been saying that my friend Tara should open a brick-and-mortar store for her online-only candied bacon confections business, the Sticky Pig.

Yes. Candied. Bacon. Confections. Now, wipe off your drool and continue reading. Your day is about to get better…if you live in Southern California.

The Sticky Pig

The Bacon Vixen announced today that the Sticky Pig now has a retail shop. She said more details coming soon.

Tara, you are my idol.  You have been working her little toned butt off, developing new products, and wheeling and dealing.  Your dream store is now a reality. Way to rock it!

Pinterest Lab Success: Rolo Snickerdoodles

USC football starts tomorrow! This is also the time I scour the web for easy-to-make and easy-to-transport recipes to take to the tailgates. So, I played with this recipe for Rolo Snickerdoodles. (Isn’t that an awesome name for a garage band or dodgeball team?)

And wow. WOW.  I mean, it’s no Tara’s PB&J bacon cookies, but it’s pretty damn tasty for a recipe plucked from Pinterest!

I will post my version on Food.OakMonster soon. Promise!

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium

I pinned this terrarium project on Pinterest a while ago.  Essentially, you create a garden in a glass container.  Most terrariums I’ve seen are almost enclosed or some kind of fancy goblets and apothecary jars.  I decided that mine would be in a big glass dish because of the space I have. And it was on sale at Michael’s for all of $5. So I don’t know if my bowl of plants would still be considered a terrarium. An open-faced terrarium, maybe?

Anyway, I read up some more on the tips and tricks of keeping this thing alive. It turns out that the care of terrarium is different for succulents and cacti.  People just saw pretty pictures and didn’t think too much of the actual nature of the plants. Most would kill their terrariums in a few months.  But with the right amount of water, this little garden could last.

And now Franklin the Plant Gnome finally has a new garden to watch over. - Franklin's new succulent terrarium

Terrarium Experiment

Bottom layer of river rocks for drainage. A thin layer of charcoal to keep the soil and any leftover water clean. Then the cactus soil deep enough for the plants to get in.  Then top off with some pretty little pebbles.

I spritz water on this little garden instead of actually watering it.  I’m hoping that spraying keep the soil moist but not soaked, and therefore giving enough water for these guys without drowning them.  In a couple of months, we’ll see if this will get added to Pinterest Lab Success board.  Meanwhile, please feel free to post tips and suggestions. :)

Haka for Fallen Comrades

I learn that New Zealand soldiers pay their respect to their fallen brothers by performing the Haka…

…and that if an army of shirtless warriors coming at me like this, I’m fucking running away, man.

Alright. I’m done sharing. Your turn.

Hooters Peanut Butter Pie is no more

Five For Friday: So long peanut butter pie, hello dance walking

Five for Friday is a weekly series about the five new things I learned each week. It could be anything from a new recipe, new skills, or a new life lesson.

Welcome to the Five For Friday: Saturday edition! Because I’m a dork and I sent the publishing time wrong. LOL  I also learned something else new when I went out for a walk this morning. So…here you go!

I Gained 10 lbs. For Nothing

Well, I’m sure you’ve already read about my disappointment of not being able to donate blood despite finally having met the weight requirement. Le sigh…

Hooters No Longer Serves Peanut Butter Pie

Yes, I like Hooters. The wings are good. The beers are cold. The girls are friendly. And I kick ass on video trivia most of the time. But what I like best about Hooters is the chocolate peanut butter pie.  I haven’t been there a while, so I didn’t know that the menu has changed.  First, I couldn’t find the 1/2 lbs. of shrimps I usually get. And then, I looked at dessert.

Peanut butter pie is gone.  Instead of the luxurious, creamy, chocolaty deliciousness, you can get a caramel cheesecake.

What the fuck is THAT shenanigan?!  Well, I guess now I have to make my own pie now…

Hooters Peanut Butter Pie is no more

Goodbye lover. (Photo credit: Yelp)

Pinterest Lab Success: Linoleum Cleaner

My hands HATE strong chemicals. That is why I have switched to using Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day dish soap a few years ago. I still do have a bottle of Dawn under the sink when attacking baked on aftermaths.  And it is also why I’ve been experimenting with homemade, less toxic cleaning products.

The Dawn (apple), baking soda, and vinegar (I bought a big bottle of cleaning grade kind) combination worked well for me. I only did half the recipe because we only have 3 small areas to mop.  The floor looks great and it smells pretty good.  You can get the full recipe through my Pinterest Lab board.

Core a Lettuce in 3 Seconds

Mind. Blown.

Sprinting and Dance Walking

Well, this is not really something new I learned, but it is confirmed.  Sure, I haven’t the drive or motivation to run a 5K. The total walk to the park, do a couple of laps, then walk back home takes total of 30 minutes right now. But at least I’m moving.

I went for the walk/run combo again today. While I have succeeded in slowing myself down so I managed to jog longer distance per interval today, I still find jogging boring.  I decided to sprint the width of the park, back to where I left my water bottle, to end the work out. That there, was probably the most fun 15 seconds I had the entire session.

That and climbing through the kid’s jungle gym was fun. I totally can NOT swing on monkey bars any more. But running around in the playground was totally fun.

Now, I am thinking about forming a new fitness routine, combining sprinting, climbing through kid’s playground, and, naturally, dance walking.

How has your week been?

Know your meme. This is from Hyperbole And A Half.

Five for Friday: New Things I Learned This Week

Of course, I’ve been stuck on a writer’s block lately despite having all the time on my hand. So, I thought writing about 5 new things I’ve learned or am learning during the week would be cool.

15 minutes a day to a clean house

Know your meme. This is from Hyperbole And A Half.

Sure, I have all the time in the world now that I’m going on the 17th month of being mostly unemployed. But cleaning is still not my favorite thing to do.  Pinterest proves to be a useful and inspiring time suck as I found a few tips to help me get on top of this whole cleaning the house business.

Instead of taking most of the day to clean everything, these tips suggest that the chores are broken into small chunks so you spend less than an hour to work on something everyday. Like this one and this one.  I set mine up like this.

  • Monday: Dusting. Bathroom counters and mirrors. Windows.
  • Tuesday: Laundry. Toilets, tubs, and sinks.
  • Wednesday: Mop. (I don’t have a lot of floor space to mop. Kitchen and 2 bathrooms are simple enough with one bucket!) Clean the piano.
  • Thursday: Vacuum floor, sofa, and fans. Spot clean carpet.
  • Friday: Clean the kitchen, dining room table, and the pantry area.

So far, so good. I have stuck with the schedule except that I forgot Wednesday altogether. LOL  Give me a little break though, it’s my first week! I’m going to catch up with that today.

Pinterest Lab Successes: Clothing and Carpet Stain Removers

Not all things on Pinterest actually work. So I have been experimenting with a few “recipe” here on my Pinterest Lab board.

First, the clothing stain remover. It’s essentially homemade Oxyclean in a liquid/gel form. Mix fresh to use 2 parts hydrogen peroxide and 1 part each baking soda and Dawn dish soap. (People swore by the original blue. I use clear so I don’t run the risk of turning anything blue.)  Rub this onto gnarly yellow arm pit stain on white clothing or the stubborn grease stain on dark clothing. Scrub with a brush if you have if. Then wash with everything else. Voila! Clean clothes!  Because this mixture bubbles up, you just have to mix per use.

Second, the carpet stain remover. I didn’t do the whole procedure. I just mix the solution in a squirt bottle, dribble a little on and rub with paper towel, then again with clean water, and blot dry. Works like a charm!

Learning to Run…kind of

For those of you who’ve known me a while, you’d also know that I’m not sporty one bit. You would also know that I have tried and failed at distant running at least once a year. Most of the time, I failed spectacularly mostly because two reasons. One, I wuss out because of my ankle injury or the weather getting too cold. Two, as a former sprinter, I ran myself out of the long race.

Let me put it this way. What I did earlier this week with “walk half a block then run half a block” method, I did it with Adele on my playlist. That’s right. Adele. I was training to slow ballad in attempt to slow my ass down when I get to my half-block of run.  I still found myself sprinting after a few steps anyway.

I walked half a block and ran half a block for 3 blocks, damn near passed out, and was pretty much out of breath all the way walking home. I’m pathetic.

Maybe long distance running isn’t for me after all. Who says I need to run for miles and miles, right? I mean, what really matters in a zombie apocalypse is that few blocks. If you’re not faster than the zombies…or the other guy…in a few blocks, you’re dead anyway.

New Favorite Wine: Erath Winery Pinot Noir

I’m a part of Thirsty Girl twitter tasting crew. They occasionally sent wine to me to taste along with many others online and review them. (Check us out on #TGTaste!) This month, I was set  Erath Winery from Oregon pinot noir and pinot gris. I’m not big on dry white wine but I adore the pinot noir. Lightly chilled, the pinot noir is absolutely lovely on hot summer days like these.

OakMonster - TGTaste - Erath

Sarah Barelles’s Gravity

Back on the piano! Seriously, I need to do this more.

This song so simple to play on the piano yet so difficult to get right. So far my neighbors haven’t  reported any “cat being murdered” noise to the police yet so I must sound alright. Either that or they’re really polite folks. I’m betting they’re really, REALLY polite folks…

What about you? What have you been up to this week?

Be A Better Pinner: Click it before you repin/like it!

Be a Better Pinner in One Step

There are several websites out there, in addition to the official Pinterest Etiquette, that will tell you the many steps you need to do to be a good Pinterest citizen.

Yes, you should be respectful, be authentic, and report objectionable content. Don’t copy the recipe/instructions/part of the article into the comment. Be clear with your comment. Consider your audience. etc. etc.

But the cardinal sin of Pinterest is to pin blindly and not checking for the source of the pin.

Hello, my name is Oakley. I have been a bad pinner.

When I see something cute/funny/yummy/geeky/awesome on Pinterest, my instinct tells me to click “Like” and possibly “Repin” right away without even knowing what that image is linking to, or to whom it belongs.

I see your mouse hand twitching. You know what I’m talking about then. Don’t be shy. We all have done it at some point.

A few days ago while on a Pinterest binge, I actually followed through a few pins to check out the recipe or the story behind the image.  I landed on Google Image a few times and a few more Tumblr images that were NOT linked to the respective sites. The grand finale was that I ended up on some random websites that people set up just to trap wanderers like me and cash in on the website traffic.

That is when I decided to write this post and made this nifty graphic.

Be A Better Pinner: Click it before you repin/like it! A friendly reminder from

Being a blogger, amateur photographer, and graphic arts hobbyist myself, seeing someone’s gorgeous work pinned and repinned as an image lifted from Google Image or Tumblr just breaks my heart. And those misleading links people put on great images just make me angry.

So let’s put a stop to it.

It’ll take you just one more minute to find out if the Pin is a good one, the one that is really worth sharing with your friends.

Yes, it will take a bit of adjustments. But after a while, you’ll start doing it automatically.

If we all do it, then going forward, we will put an end to the sharing of bad links and uncredited work.

So, from this point onward, I pledge to no longer like or repin any bad pin. I will also inform the pinner in the comment that s/he has a bad pin. If I have time, I will also find the original link for the poster so the pinner may make the correction. If the pin’s link is misleading, I will also report it to Pinterest.

If you agree to help stop bad pinning and would like to pledge to be a better pinner, please pin this image on your board and/or leave a comment below.

Have fun pinning consciously!