Writing a novel in 30 days

So in about 48 hours, I am partaking a pretty ambitious project called NaNoWriM0 – National Novel Writing Month.

50,000 words in 30 days. I think I can do it…I think..

I see writing as to practicing violin or piano and I let my fingers do the flying and that’s after years of practice. To practice writing, I write on whatever possible thing to write on whether it be on my blogs, on notebooks, post-its, sketch pads, etc. I think I can do this.

It’s on my list of 25 things to do before I”m 25 and I get bragging rights that I wrote a novel before I turned 25.

Actually nah…won’t brag because I don’t like braggers. Not at all.

Books I’ve read this month

This month I’ve read through 4 books–that’s about 1 book a week. Didn’t think I could do it!

1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins- So I finished this book and I actually liked it better than the first boo. I felt the pace of the book went faster and there were more plot twists than the last. I’m looking forward to read the third and final book.

2. Letters of Vincent Van Gogh –  If Vincent Van Gogh had a blog he’d keep going and going and going. Very intimate and his writing very much full of life.

3. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua – I usually borrow books from the library and if I like a book so much, I’ll buy it and lend the book to everyone and this is definitely one of them. Honestly I don’t understand the media hoopla even the front cover gives it away that reading it requires a sense of humor. I had fun reading some passages to my boyfriend and he goes “see now you understand why I act the way I do.”

FYI, her oldest daughter has a blog and she’s no robot child.

4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett – What attracted me to read this in the first place was that this book has been rejected 60 times by different literary agents and it reminds me that the lesson is to never give up. Anyways I love the style where you read from three different voices and they’re different from each other as they come but they all come together through a book project.

My boyfriend read only the first few pages, he said “this is a little messed up the maids are called ‘the Help’.”  I think I should buy the book too to have my boyfriend to keep reading.

Moonlighting–err…Dusking…as a tutor

Since last week I’ve been tutoring after work about 2-3 times a week.

A few months ago, I left an ad for tutoring because I had plans to go back to school and take some classes. I thought tutoring would help refresh my memory. I had a few people responding to my ad and I responded back and I never hear from them again.

Then all summer and up til now I forgot I ever did post that ad.

Last week, someone responded to my ad and the following day I started tutoring her daughter in math. The next session after that, the mom asked me “when she’s more confident in math could you possibly tutor in other subjects too?” Nice! I got myself a client!

After work I tutored again and the mom asked me “could you also help my other daughter with school too?” Sure…why not.

After a week of tutoring her first daughter, I noticed she’s gotten a lot more confident in math. Always good to know that I’m helpful :-).

Both her daughters go to private school, looking through both the girls agenda books the pile of homework looked pretty overwhelming for their ages. I don’t remember getting that much homework back then.

Anyways it’s easy supplemental income without committing to having a second job. I get out of work everyday at 3:30 and I tutor around 2 to 3 times week week at 4 and I usually end at 5. So my day ends at 5. It’s the easiest 20 dollars (per session) I’ll ever make.

I thought maybe make it a challenge to only live off my tutoring money. I don’t mean use my tutoring money to pay rent…just gas, groceries and miscellany. It helped me save trips going to the ATM to get cash and less temptation to use my debit card because I now get a 5 dollar monthly fee for every time I swipe my card–even if I swipe once for that month.

Using cash would also help me feed my cow. Bessie is looks really hungry.

In other news…my boyfriend makes his debut post. Check it out!

Would you let your significant other guest-post on your blog?

I do promotions on this blog

My boyfriend does not only reads my blog…but now he’s actually an editor on this blog too.

Yesterday he asked me if it was possible for him to write stuff on the Meet Mocha because there was this one post he wanted to edit because I didn’t write a lot. I gave him access to write on the “Meet Mocha” blog–but it also turns out he can also write posts on this blog too! Ahh!

Also Mocha is OUR bear. So I guess it makes sense if he’s a writer for the blog :-P.

I think I found it…

I can’t believe I’ve never used STA Travel in college.

Then again, I never traveled abroad college so I never did think about STA Travel. Well I did travel to Japan with my sister back in 2007, but we never thought about STA Travel because we didn’t have any STA Travel nearby my parent’s house.

But aside that, I can’t believe I never walked in until today. I mean there’s even a discount cards for people under 26.

After work, I went over to STA Travel nearby my place because I was still debating whether or not to do a tour. I told the travel agent that I was going to visit some friends in Beijing and Hong Kong but…I want to do a little bit more.

Why consider a tour in China?

1. Even though I have a friends in Beijing and Hong Kong — 2 weeks is a long time to be in two cities. There’s so much to do–why not explore? I really want to go explore the smaller towns too but reading through the Lonely Planets and doing my own research, transportation to go into these little towns and leave is not that easy.

2. When I do go visit friends, they have jobs and I’m left to do whatever until they come back. Due to the language barrier (except Hong Kong) I don’t want to risk getting lost ANYWHERE–especially in the smaller cities where it’s less English speaking friendly. I’m not saying I won’t try practicing Chinese–I don’t think I’ll have proficient Mandarin to find my way around.

3. It’s not like backpacking Europe. Europe seems more user friendly. But also 4 years of French and reading French helps :-P.

4. My travel agent is going to China next year and she’s doing a tour. She usually does independent travels herself but the language barrier made her decide to do a tour.

The travel agent showed me a few itineraries after telling her my travel wishlist and the results turned out better than I thought. I can tour around by day and hang out with friends in the afternoon (after the tour) and I get four days in Beijing.

I even told my agent why I was at first, reluctant doing a tour group because the last time (and it was the first time) I went to Japan with Globus. It wasn’t something I would do again because  we pretty much had the day planned out from the moment we woke up to the moment we gathered around for dinner.

Before I did a tour group, my family and I use to do a lot of road trips and we even went to France without a tour guide. All we had in France was that hop-on-hop-off tickets to use Paris buses and Paris subways and took a train to Normandy…maybe what helped was me speaking and reading French. But anyways prior to any tour group I’ve done a lot of independent travel so doing so I found doing Globus a little bit too extravagant and uptight.

I think I found the dream itinerary and the awesome news is that all the hard stuff is pretty much done. Now I can just focus on saving :-).

Guess what...I won’t reveal the itinerary! Maybe later…much later.

Bibingka

Ok so I cheated using White King Bibingka mix and all I had to do was add sugar, eggs, and butter. Not bad…but next time I’ll top it with coconut and salted egg. If you don’t have either of those–then cheese is fine too. If you don’t have that either…then plain and buttery is good all by itself.

Oh yeah…next time I’ll try to look for some banana leaves or maybe put them in muffin pans because they’re so buttery, they fall apart.

P.S. Check out Mocha’s–she’s spectating a race car competition!

Itinerary rough draft

So I’m going to China next year in the spring 2012 for two weeks and I made a rough itinerary for what to do in two weeks. Here’s the original itinerary from Lonely Planet Discover China:

And here’s my version:

It’s not final but here is my list and my wishes:

1. Shanghai – Actually I really don’t have a strong desire to go to Shanghai I just put it there so people won’t go “but you didn’t go to Shanghai?” Maybe just check out the Bund and the French concession and explore a bit before taking a sleeper train to Beijing. Like I said, I’m not too crazy about it.

2. Beijing – The city I’d probably spend the most time in. I’d like to do the following:

- Eat Peking duck

- Visit Peking University

- Go to the Great Wall

- Be a super model

- Go to Tiananmen Square – my Pekingnese friend (who is meeting up with me) told me she didn’t know what the big deal was with Tiananmen Square until she studied in the U.S.

3. Pingyao – It’s a small ancient town and it’s basically car-less town.

4. Xi’An – There are clay warriors and it’s the start of the Silk Road. Actually when creating the itinerary, I was thinking about doing a trip starting from Beijing and ending in Moscow.

5. Kunming – I want to try to squeeze in visiting the Yunnan Province because I’ve been hearing this place a lot. But I am not sure if I’m able to go either because the distance between Kunming and Guilin are pretty far.

6. Guilin – my coworker told me it’s a really pretty city. This is definitely going on my intinerary.

7. Hong Kong and Macau – My last stop. :-) I want dim sum and egg tarts and ride a boat.

Anyways this is my rough draft. I’ll still be editing later on. I’ll try to make a habit of posting something about traveling whether it’s about my trip or just traveling in general (especially on traveling solo) to help me whet my appetite to just go.

Also a great reminder that I have to keep saving. Speaking of saving, I’ll rant about how it’s possible to save without letting you say “my life sucks”.

Shots around UCLA

My friends and I took my boyfriend out to UCLA.

Didn’t take the typical pictures of buildings but if you want…check out the Traveling Bear Project!

The title is called “Shots Around UCLA” after all :-P.

Boyfriend scaling up the UCLA statue.

Some sign I guess for the construction workers are at the former  Bombshelter.

There’s a food truck named after my boyfriend :-P

Diddy Riese–I do miss these generous cookie sandwiches. Mines was White Chocolate Macadamia Cookie with Strawberry ice cream. Another yummy combo is Cinammon Sugar Cookie with Vanilla and Oatmeal Raisin with Chocolate Mint Ice cream.

The foodie challenge

How convenient

Lately I’ve been pretty stressed out especially today. Today was the breaking point.

The worst type of stress so far is financial stress especially when people’s financial problems become my problems. It stops me from achieving my goals and I sigh to myself that I had to keep whatever I want on hold. I really haven’t felt very well more like very annoyed with a dwindling savings account and a tighter wallet.

You see, my previous place had AT&T and when I moved out I went to the AT&T website to fill out the transfer of financial responsibility to the currents tenants and gave the people in the previous place the new passcode for my account. They said “thank you” and that was it.

Today I just received an e-mail from AT&T that my transfer of financial responsibility has not been processed. How convenient, the e-mail was sent on the day that bill had to be paid. I called AT&T to see what’s up. It turns out that the people living the old place never went through the process (all it really takes is to type in those four little numbers) and the window of time for them to type those four little numbers never expired and I have to redo filling out the information. It was really frustrating because I still had to pay for the bill.  I told AT&T that I didn’t want to pay for that the bill because the tenants in the previous place were suppose type in the passcode so they could pay for it. Customer service then transferred me over to the Billing Department to set a later date so I wouldn’t be penalized for paying late and then…my phone died.

How convenient.

I forwarded the e-mail I got from AT&T that the transfer was never processed along with the passcode and the link and just hope they go with it. Or…

I also thought maybe…I should just cancel the services and have the people come in and take the box. I don’t care if I have to pay them for taking it away…I’m paying for peace of mind not someone’s cable and internet bill. Peace of mind is a one time payment for not having AT&T not send me any e-mails and heart sinking reminders.

Or I can just keep pushing the due date, keep renewing the transfer of financial responsibility, and not pay until the people in the old place give in and the bill they see is a snowball of all the cable bills in the previous months.

Yes, I am that unforgiving.

I know people advised me to at least call them to let them know I’m canceling the services as a courtesy but to me, these people have been living with free cable for the past two months. Why should they find themselves surprised that I suddenly decided to not have cable in a place I don’t live in. They had that opportunity to get my account and but I guess it takes a lot of work to type in the four numbers. They’re at my mercy because it’s my checking account and I can do whatever I want.

Also people advised to give them the courtesy to cut them off because times are hard, maybe they can’t really afford the luxury of cable and internet and its going to be a harder hit that they’re not going to have TV and internet. Oh dear, a first world problem! No cable TV! No DVR! NO INTERNET!!

Anyways did all I could….now…please give me a peace of mind.