New Corporate Order

19 Apr '17  — The real battle

Looking yonder

I get emails in German.

Which is strange because I don't understand any German. I'm far from the only one in Berlin.

Spotify, Trello and Adobe are some of the services many people sign up for. They're suppose to be collecting our data, right? They act as if they don't know.

Whenever I'm sent a German email, I become conscious how different I am. Most people don't live outside their country. Since I only socialize with 'expats', I hardly think I'm outside the norm.

I'm usually not the first to know about a new trend. The fact that I'm living in another country confirms that a ton of people are doing it. Perhaps, it's becoming normal.

And why not?

If there's internet access all over the world, there are more people moving from place to place while being able to keep the same job.

I'm sure that will change how people settle across the globe overtime. But how?

I've been thinking about the relatively recent growth of corporations. There's going to be significant change in my lifetime. More and more companies are becoming larger than entire countries. Just like governments, companies provide services for their people. It's become clear that there's a direct competition between governments and corporations in providing service to the people.

"British government told: stop supporting your corporations, support your people" -

Perhaps the older generations feel connected to nationalism far more than the new because they went through a war. How long is the story of the war, the suffering of 'a particular people', going to hold? It's kicking hard to stay relevant. New movements are looking for ways to 'create history' and unify through conflict.

Chuck Palmer: A couple of them might stay, and then, voila they have something to write about. Because what do writers need?
Hannah: Money.
Chuck: Very funny. Stories. They need stories.

It's very hard for the ruling generation to understand the younger. The situation is described in an episode of Girls, when Hannah visits an older, accomplished author. While she marvels at his million dollar apartment, he expresses his thoughts on what's happening with kids these days. 'They need interesting stories.' Hannah doesn't even have a well-lit place to write.

For the government to compete with corporations, they have to understand that we're just looking for a place to write. The programs that led to home ownership and over excessive consumption created a legacy frame work where assistance today can only come in the form of cash.

We don't all crave for a family, or wish to move out. Don't assume we want something other than the flexibility to do whatever.

The companies I've worked for have all provided me with money, time and space to live out my dreams within the legacy framework. Corporations help pay rent. I'm reluctant to see how 'fuck the corporation' can be mutually exclusive of 'fuck the police'.

The government often takes credit for providing the infrastructure for corporations to exist. But if the government wants to stay competitive, they need to do more, than just take credit for what happens after they set things up.


Green Onion Pancakes

18 Apr '17  — Homemade Street Food

So green

I made Taiwanese street food last week. What I love about street food is it's small, packed with flavor, and cheap in places where it's common.

In our neighborhood, there's a street food event every Thursday in an old market hall. Since street food is a novelty in Berlin (outside of Doner and Currywurst), it's expensive. Going to street food Thursday, you can get a sampling of cuisine from all over the world. But it's like going for tapas, you pay a lot more for smaller portions.

Crispy, fried in cast iron

How I made it: click to watch the entire process

I used sourdough left over from my bread making and my stomach didn't get bloated from the dough.

I'd like to learn more about savory nibble-able cuisine from all over the world. On Easter, I had a Lithuanian filled pastry. It was unexpectedly delicious. Perhaps I'll try that next.

Adding the egg was a dangerous part of the process. Oil splashed everywhere.


Personal Value

18 Apr '17  — Another unlearning

A moment of transformation

I had wrapped my self esteem in my work.

I realized for the first time that I am not my work.

For most of my life I've believed that my work reflected me. It all started in school, when I was graded on everything: papers, hand writing, art work and even, how I threw a football.

The school doesn't explicitly say that the work is a direct reflection of a student, but the system implies it very much. As a child, my identity was built on how I compared with others. I didn't know any other way to see myself. For most of my life, I judged myself according to the work I put out.

It took a long time to unlearn.

Whether it's photos or videos, or even blog posts, I've felt potentially embarrassed if my work isn't seen in a positive way by others.

I used to show my husband my videos before publishing them. Now I know, they're just works I've created. They actually live on their own without me.

"I'm rather kind of old school, thinking that when an artist does his work, it's no longer his... I just see what people make of it."
- David Bowie

It's not that I'm going to slack off in creating, but sometimes I find myself unnecessarily upset. 'This photo sucks! Why did I have to take it that way.' 'I can't believe I wrote like that. And so many people read it!' It's even harder to deal with mistakes that can't be fixed.

There were a few times when I created work that, according to me, was unbelievably awesome. I had no need for external confirmation. Of course, I'd love this quality of work to happen every time, but it's not going to.

It's easier now to accept all the work I do: the bad, the mediocre and the good. It has no bearing on how I see myself.


Restarting Life

17 Apr '17  — Finding a life that makes sense


Exactly a year ago I started to write personal thoughts.

Prior to that, I wrote about fashion and design from a less personal voice. I was attempting to 'create' an identity/brand--someone who had 'good taste'. Like many, I wanted an aspirational lifestyle blog.

I grew out of the phase. I have no interest in making others jealous.

These days, I'm far more fascinated with life. There's so many awkward moments, so much internal turmoil. Life is a multi-dimensional roller coaster that I hadn't been enjoying to this extent until now.

I might jump from writing about home design to a video on food. While I've restricted myself in the past on what I post, I'm not going to anymore.

Everything I do here is me.

The one thing I've left out is who I am. I'm a person who spent her twenties doing things others approved. I didn't know what I wanted.

In hiding, like the guy with the cloth over his head

I moved to New York (everyone said it's cool, but I wasn't sure and I didn't have any idea where I wanted to live), I worked at startups in roles that required analytics (my peers considered spreadsheet work more prestigious, I wasn't sure why), and I got into yoga (that was trendy back then).

During that period, nothing made sense. I didn't know what I was suppose to be doing and I didn't know why others were driven to like popular things.

I spent an entire decade uneasy. Is what I'm doing respectable? Or should I do that other thing that seems to be rising in popularity? If so many people all agree something is respectable and cool, they cannot be wrong?

They were wrong in terms of what was right for me. When I realized this, I restarted.

Creating things for this blog, from home designs to food videos, all make sense--to me.

I can't describe why they make sense, but it feels right. Far more right than anything I did before.


Selfishly Moral

16 Apr '17  — Cracking self confidence

Looking fine on the outside...some thoughts on Easter

For most of my life, being good was an activity that always came at a cost.

I remember a professor coming in frustrated to class. "No good deed goes unpunished!" He was upset after helping someone out. He said it in a way that confirmed 'nice guys finish last.'

I believed it. But now I see that when I did something good, I expected good payoffs immediately. With high expectations, I was disappointed. People were not as thankful, if they even were, and this was my 'punishment' for good acts.

Part of my worldview at the time was that people were doing good deeds only to be rewarded by others. I never thought doing what's right would have benefits of its own.

Maybe I grew up with too many Erin Brockovich-like stories, where corporations were successful because they cheated. Erin Brockovich, the good one, was an anomaly--hence the Hollywood movie. For most, good deeds set a person back. The only way to get ahead is at the expense of everyone else.

Recently, I found myself believing the opposite. It's not a zero sum game. Even stranger, I've found myself driven by complete selfishness in doing what's right.

Onetime I went to Barcelona and my parents were worried. They kept advising me to watch out and keep an eye on my stuff. It became incredibly annoying.

When I got my stuff stolen, the one thing I feared was hearing my parents say 'I told you to be careful.'

So I lied and told them the guys who stole threatened me with a knife.

This might not have to do with doing a good deed for others, but it's in line with following a moral compass--telling the truth, being unafraid to do what's right.

I don't think it was wise to scare my parents like that but hearing the words 'I told you so' would've broken my false sense of confidence. I was unable to accept reality, that I was careless and irresponsible. Not admitting my mistake, by not willing to pay all the consequences--I was the exact definition of not being responsible.

If I had the courage to tell the truth and face my fear of 'I told you so', I would've acquired actual confidence. Or had a base to build my confidence from. I couldn't have continued propping up my false confidence.

I didn't have the courage. 'Oh my parent's don't have proof that I'm not responsible, so technically I am.'

I knew the truth. I went to the basement in terms of the confidence I had in myself.

Now I believe it's more costly to not follow my moral compass. A breakdown in self-confidence weakens a person like nothing else.


Infinite Walks

15 Apr '17  — Inaccurate simplifications

Same street, multiple experiences of the same walk

'Oh, look at these new trash receptacles!'

We were walking on a busy street when I spotted sphere shaped trashcans.

'That was over a year--didn't you notice when they were placed?!'

My husband and I go on walks together, but we notice entirely different things. We also have different things on our mind.

Today, while looking at the stormy clouds coming in, my husband mentioned how the cold gust of wind made it seem like winter is coming.

'Who you rooting for?'

'What? What rooting?'

'Yea, I know. It's obvious to root for the dragon queen or Jon Snow, but I can see why people might want Circe to win.'

He did not understand how we got onto the topic of Game of Thrones.

This morning I came across Walking in LA. It's a journal of many walks. Each walk is documented with a map and photos. You can see which details caught the person's attention, whether it was a building or an old telephone booth.

I imagine others have had similar walks. If each were to document the walk, every photo collection would be different.

It could vary based on criteria bound to a person's physique: how tall the person is, how far they can see. The perspective could also be bound to interests: maybe the walker has an interest in retro buildings or strange cars parked on the road. Or maybe the person is in a mood for more sun or wider pavements. An infinite amount of perspectives can exist.

In a previous post, I thought about 'what really happens' in life. If you were to walk down a street, and a hundred people were to on the same street, everyone would experience a different mix of internal emotions and feelings. All internal experiences would be different, triggered by different things they notice, even if they are physically on the same street.

It feels grossly inaccurate to say 101 people went through the same thing.


Spring Pattern

14 Apr '17  — A play of shapes

Combining a few ideas, I prefer the one that's offset on the right. It's unintentionally Christmasy.

I started documenting design details, from old books to architecture. The pattern I developed was from a few of my favorite shapes. I didn't spend much time on color, but I'll have to in order to get a combination I really like.

Decorative tiles seem to work the best when there are many of them, scaled so that the details appear less distinct.

These desaturated colors are more my style, reminds me of a kaleidoscope

As someone who doesn't have a creative background, it's fascinating to experience the process of making a pattern like this. I don't consider myself anywhere close to real artists/designers, but just to feel what it's like, to absorb influences from different places, digest over a period of time before being able to throw something out--it's magic.


Architectural Details

13 Apr '17  — Shapely glass doors

Examining elements that make up this style of door. Found in Paris.

I'm surprised how many different styles of window/doors show up all over the world. Maybe I'm excited to see them because in the US, window doors that open up an entire wall aren't common.

The cafe doors I found are from Royal Bar. From online reviews, it seems like a tourist trap. I wouldn't visit, but the doors with the little semi circle detail at the top fascinated me. Is that a strip of wood running through the glass? Or is it attached onto the glass? I'm thinking it's resting on the surface as part of the wooden frame that holds it.

There's a photo taken from inside the cafe that shows how the street is framed within the border of the windows. The photo also shows how the small corner pieces above the arch are tinted yellow, made from a different material than glass. I prefer my first impression of it, all in the same glass tint of clear.

This door was a grid of glass inside a doorway that has outer doors. Found in Marrakesh.

I found Moroccan doors with multiple layers. It feels protected under the thick wall and the exterior doors. The windowed doors had a layer of curtains behind. It's like opening a Christmas present with endless layers of wrapping. You know there's someone in there, but you may never get to them.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to enjoy such details in a home. How would you combine such a diverse range of elements? I'm thinking it has to be re-interpreted entirely.


New Phase

12 Apr '17  — Changing

Like stepping into a mysterious door...

I don't know how it happened. I've moved into a new phase of my life.

So many things I thought were entertaining are now boring.

I thought I'd be interested in the latest runway shows, but I couldn't look after glancing a few moments at the latest street style photos. These photos used to be so exciting. Maybe the format got old?

Visiting Vogue Runway, I wasn't excited about anything. My interest was recent enough for me to sense my former self haunting those pages, pouring in and out of seasonal collections. That me is no longer there.

Traveling is another thing. I used to love the idea of going from city to city, moving into a variety of environments. But now, any desire for travel comes in revisiting places I've been.

On my visit to Seattle, I spent a ton of time hiking. I'd never done that when I lived there. There's so much more you can explore once you familiarized yourself with the surroundings.

My husband and I were offered a trip to Japan. All we could think of was the jet lag. Sure, I get excited when I see photos and videos from blogs and vlogs on Tokyo and Kyoto, but not enough for me to physically get on a plane.

The only place I'm looking forward to is Rome. (It's a couple hours flight away.) Although I've covered enough of the city to know my way around, I feel like there's so much I haven't touched.

It took awhile for me to be okay with visiting the same place twice. I'd ask myself, 'shouldn't you visit a place you haven't seen?'

Now I'm totally okay.

Who am I turning into? I did not see this coming.


Should I Be

11 Apr '17  — There are many things I wannabe

You never know who you'll run into

I was on my way to the market when I passed a guy with blood all over his face.

He was pushing forward in a way that said 'don't touch me.' People ahead didn't stop to see if he needed help. As he passed I instructed myself not to look. I was freaked out.

'Should I have stopped? A good person would've...'

The presence of a choice, to ask if he needed help or not, should have been an indicator that I'm not this good person I'm thinking of. Otherwise, I'd be in the middle of asking whether he'd need help. His aggressive demeanor gave me a reason to step back and be myself.

He was probably fine if he didn't feel the need to wipe blood from his eyes.

I was reminded of the time I had blood dripping from my face. I was recovering from a wisdom tooth being taken out and my mouth was bleeding uncontrollably. That was the first time after college I wanted my mom very badly.

Despite the excessive bleeding that freaked people out when they saw, I was okay enough to walk into the pharmacy and order meds. There just happened to be blood gushing from my mouth.

So many similar choices happen throughout the day. 'Should I do this or that?' 'Should I be like that?' If I don't jump into action and have to think about it, I'm probably trying to be someone else.