Thursday, December 5, 2013

All the Big Events During the Holiday Season

This holiday season will probably be the best time of the year for me because of all the things I'm looking forward to. Most of it has to do with relatively (okay very) nerdy things, such as movies, television series release dates, conventions, etc...yet I'm also just looking forward to the fact that it's around holiday time and that I'm almost finished with my first semester with barely any issues, if any at all. I'm looking forward to break.

When I do get free time, a lot of it is spent on being excited about the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary movie, The Day of the Doctor.  You can see the exciting trailers for The Day of the Doctor here and here. There were at least four doctors in this one episode (Tennant, Smith, Hurt, Capaldi). It's a really big deal (at least in my opinion) especially with it showing in theaters for the first time. I could barely get tickets because most were sold out. In the end, I had to sit in the second row from the screen in the Century City AMC. But still, the movie was great.

Before that, I went to a Supernatural Convention, which was my very first TV series specific nerd fan convention. It was as amazing as everyone insisted it was going to be. I made fan buttons and gave one to Misha Collins. I had a photo op with him too. By the way, I met Osric Chau, the Asian American actor who has appeared on Supernatural this season. He was so cool and funny, and extremely nice to chat with me and my friend. I got his autograph too.

Osric Chau

The Hunger Game (Catching Fire) started, and The Hobbit, Part 2, and  BBC's Sherlock season 3 will be starting soon.  "Truly, the tales and songs fall utterly short of your enormity, oh Smaug the stupendous," says Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug trailer. That basically got me hooked, and after seeing the first movie I want to see the second one with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, both which are some of my favorite actors. (If I haven't mentioned already.)

Finnick, a new character in the Hunger Games series.
I saw Thor: The Dark World the other day with my mom as well. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) was personally my favorite character, and perhaps one of the most intelligent in comparison to the other characters.


I've been also pretty hyped up because of Bakuman (which my sister recommended a while ago in one of our blogs, yet I've just started).
Other mangas and animes I've been reading/watching include, Adventure Time on Cartoon Network,  (I know some of the artists who are doing the animation there!), the debut of the new Cartoon Network show (which is reallllyyyy cute looking) Steven UniverseAttack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin...which is personally one of my favorites, yet my mom disagrees), and hearing more about Bryan Lee O'Malley's secretive Seconds comic he's working on. (Author of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World)

Seconds by Brian Lee O'Malley


A lot of these events is to take my mind off of highschool and art. It seems to be working since it seems to be all I can think and talk about as the year comes to an end.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Role Model for All of Us: Malala Yousafzai

For one of the college applications I am working on, I had to write about someone I'd like to hear speak. It's an easy choice this year: Malala Yousafzai.  This is what I wrote in part:

Malala Yousafzai
On October 9 2012, a bearded man climbed aboard a bus full of schoolchildren and shot 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai in the head.  The gunman was a Taliban assailant, sent to assassinate the girl for speaking against the Taliban’s denial of education to women.  Now, only a little over a year after waking up from her coma, Malala is far from being silenced—she has become a teenage icon of  purpose and bravery, continuing to speak out in support of universal access to education.

As a teenager attending a private school, I often forget how privileged I am to be receiving an education, and I take it for granted.  Sometimes I feel as though I go to school only to please my parents or to work towards a far-off goal of getting a well-paying job.  I often feel that our education system teaches us how to fit into society rather than how to make a difference, and sometimes I wonder how I can make an impact in a world that is constantly changing. 

Upon seeing an interview of Malala, however, a girl who is younger than I am, I came to understand that I am fortunate enough to receive an education—something for which people have to fight and are willing to die.  Malala’s fight for universal access to education makes me realize that education should be a fundamental human right, and that we who are privileged enough to have access to education should make the most of it and have the courage to speak up in shaping a better world.




In the news last week, I read that the Taliban chose as head of the Pakistani Taliban, Mullah Fazlullah, the same person who ordered the attack on Malala a year ago. I can’t help but fear for Malala’s safety, but I also know that those forces that seek to suppress universal access to education will have an incredibly powerful adversary in the form of Malala, a teenager like myself, who speaks up for what she knows is right and who quietly refuses to back down.

For inspiring young people like me to be unafraid of speaking up to make changes to the world, Malala is truly a shining example of an international leader. For this reason, I think Malala Yousafzai should be Role Model of the Year.

We Reached 30,000 Page Views! Thanks Everyone!


It's been almost 3 years since we started this blog. Sometimes we work on it diligently, (mostly summers and holidays). Other times, we have so much school work and other fun things going on that we barely have time to write . . . and you know, writing coherently takes time.  But somehow, as we fret about what new things to write about and not having time to write, readers out there are still discovering us and giving us encouragement through comments, emails, and tweets!



Thanks for staying with us and continuing to read our blog.

Eileen and Chloe
(The gif above is from boffinart.tumblr.com). Follow her there if you have a tumblr account!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

First Things First: ROBOTICS!

School started last month, and the robotics team is back to working on...robots.  You can read about our nail biting experiences with Mindstorm Middle School Robotics in The Robo Games Trilogy, high school all girls Vex adventure in Competition Made for Nerds, and High School Robotics.

This year's a little different—Our team is called the Omnicats. We're competing in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) rather than last year's VEX Robotics Competition.  What does that mean?  FRC is a little bit more complex, for a number of reasons: 1) the robots are bigger; 2) we're not limited to VEX robotics parts (meaning more materials are acceptable); 3) the games are more complex.

What's the challenge this year?  "Ultimate Ascent" requires that we build a robot that throws frisbees through a slot.  Check out the video for the challenge this year.



We're tweaking the robot that last year's senior robotics team built for this competition (because some things definitely didn't work out). We are building a new chasis from scratch using
a new mechanum drive system, and we are working on new code, and have a new
intake system for the frisbees. It's a long process...but definitely a fun and rewarding one at the end of the day.

My friends working on dismantling last season's robot.
Even though I have to be in school from 8 to noon on Saturdays to help out with the robot, I enjoy it because my friends are there with me.  And besides, it's not like we don't have the time to goof off.

See?  We're not always working.
Anyway, robotics is a great chance for me to unwind after a long day of school—they're not joking around when they say that senior year of high school is tough!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Book Reccomendations: John Green and Tamora Pierce

This summer, I participated in the Los Angeles Public Library reading club and read away. Books are the best company during the summer. Even though I enjoy watching television shows and playing on the computer, sometimes getting away from electronics and just reading a book is really satisfying.  Even though we posted a book list a little while ago, it was on books written by Asian authors. Those books we love a lot, but we also have a few favorites not related to Asian culture, acceptance and whatnot.

Let us start with one of our favorite authors, John Green. (I've only read two as of now but my sister has read quite a few). As a teenager, I feel like I can really connect to his books and they all have really deep meanings to them. The two I have read are: The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for AlaskaThe Fault in Our Stars is about a a girl named Hazel Grace Lancaster. Hazel has cancer. She goes to a cancer therapy class and one day she meets Augustus Waters a cancer-free, funny, handsome, and smart guy. I don't want to give anything away because it's seriously such a wonderful book you have to read it. (Although I must warn you: All of John Green's books are inspiring, adorable, heart-wrenching, and wanting to crawl into fetal position-worthy).




I liked Looking For Alaska as well. It's about a boy named Miles Halter. (whew I almost forgot his name because I'm so used to calling him Pudge.) A lot of people compare Pudge to Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye, but personally I think Miles is a great character in his own right. Basically, Miles goes to boarding school and meets the beautiful and exciting, Alaska Young, intimidating yet sweet Colonel, and the fox, Takumi, and a few others. Basically, Pudge has friends for once. And he just does a lot of crazy things that touching and inspiring.

Over the summer, I also got into the Tamora Pierce books. Is it that embarassing since they were in the kids section? Noooo, not at all, I love them.  All of Tamora Pierce's books are set in medieval times, and the main characters are girls. I started with Alanna:The First Adventure. Alanna is the protagonist of The First Adventure. She's one of those protagonists you actually root for. I don't know about you but I always get annoyed with the girl protagonists acting like 'ahh i'm so conflicted between this guy or this guy. oh my gosh boy troubles'. Alanna is actually completely the opposite.  She has no time for such nonsense!



Anyway, most of Tamora Pierce's books come in quartets. I started with The Song of the Lioness quartet, I'm done with the Immortals, and am now going to read the Circle of Magic quartet. She has a few more that I'll read for sure also. Her books are funny, action packed, and also focus on growing up and adolescence. I think they're all quite good for teenagers to read. (I'm not really sure why it's in the kiddy section of the library...I don't think it should be) These books give me so much joy I don't even know why. It's also really nice getting a warm cup of coffee (except on ridiculously hot days like these maybe a cold drink) and curling up under the covers to read a good book. I'll probably post book recommendations once a month since there are so many good books out there but would take up too much time to read about in this one post.

Now go read a book!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bakuman!

For all you manga and anime fans out there, I have a treat for you:

BAKUMAN.
If you're at all familiar with popular manga and anime, I'm sure you've heard of Bakuman.  It was one of Shounen Weekly Jump's most popular manga series, and for good reason: the story is unique, the characters lovable, and the art detailed and fun.

Most of the manga I've read is centered around a few topics: high school romance, battles, magic, and cat ears.  Yes.  

Look at the super-cliche adorableness!  And the cat ears!
While I very much enjoy a good cliche shoujo manga myself, they're getting to be pretty predictable.  Bakuman came as a breath of fresh air, and it is now without a doubt my favorite manga.  When my friend first recommended Bakuman to me, I was skeptical.  It old him I would read it, but I kept on putting it off—the whole "slice of life" genre didn't really appeal to me.  But when I finally got around to checking it out, I couldn't put it down.  

What's it about, you ask?  Bakuman follows two boys, Mashiro Moritaka and Takagi Akito, as they chase their dream of becoming successful and popular mangakas (manga-writers).  The two learn all about what goes into making a popular manga as they develop their own unique style under the pen name of "Ashirogi Muto".  Behind the scenes, readers get to take a look at what the editorial department at Jump! is like.

Along the way, the Mashiro and Takagi encounter many rival mangakas as well as discover the benefits of supporting and encouraging each other to do their best.  Among these rivals is a manga-obsessed genius, a righteous and outspoken not-genius, and a genius who hates the idea of having to do work (yes, that includes drawing manga).

The main cast.
The story also has a romance aspect to it.  Mashiro's ultimate goal is to marry his long-time crush and girl of his dreams, Azuki Miho, after his manga becomes an anime and she becomes the leading voice actress.  Meanwhile, Takagi struggles with a number of interested girls while maintaining a relationship with his girlfriend, Miyoshi Kaya.

The girl Mashiro loves, Azuki Miho.

For someone like me, a teenager who would love to make a living off of doing something creative, this manga is truly inspiring and fun.  I love the camaraderie between Mashiro, Takagi, and even their rivals, and the story moves at a quick enough pace that it's hard for me to bring myself to stop reading.  

I have to admit that it's hard to summarize without losing a lot of the fun and excitement, but it's definitely worth checking out.  The complete box set comes out on October 1st, and if you preorder it now, it's $143 for all 20 volumes :3 (I'm still trying to convince my mom to let me get it, because it's a total steal).  It is well-worth the read, after all!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Last Book Store in DTLA


This summer, I spent a lot of time in downtown LA because of the three week-long creative writing class I took. After I became friends with my classmates, we hung out and explored downtown.  It was a lot of fun.

One of the discoveries I made with my friends is a book store called The Last Book Store.  The Last Bookstore is a used book store near Pershing Square at 453 S. Spring Street.  It’s not in the absolute safest of areas and definitely has some shady characters hanging around. I would not recommend going there alone at night. In keeping with the shadiness of the area, when you first enter the book store, there is a security guard sitting at a desk in the foyer. I definitely felt safer seeing him there.

Store window.
Once you step past the foyer and into the actual store, your first impression will be a big “wow.” The Last Book Store used to be an old bank that has been closed for decades.  It occupies two floors of the building. It still has the beautiful original art deco ceiling, balconies and mezzanines of the old bank.

The books on the first floor are organized by categories, a lot like those of a regular bookstore.  It’s a good place to look for required reading books for school at extremely low prices: most of the books here are $4-6, and a lot of them are in great condition.  The first floor also has some nice sofas to lounge on while taking a look at some of the books.

Some antiques in stores off the second floor.
The second floor, however, is not as neatly organized, but it’s definitely a treasure.  The shelves are piled high with books of all genres—perhaps not in the nicest conditions—but don’t count them out just because they’re not as nice as the books on the first floor.  The books on the second floor are literally $1 each.  Isn’t that incredible?  It’s almost that the books are organized randomly, because it really forces you to take a look at books of all genres.  The second floor is also home to the Vault of Horror and True Crime, which is literally an old bank vault filled with—you guessed it—horror and true crime books. 
 
The Vault of Horrors
Next time you’re visiting downtown LA, be sure to check out this great store.  Or, if you’re not in LA but in the area, try taking the metro—maybe you’ll find other hidden treasures.



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Whole Day of Wussy Camping-at the El Capitan Canyon


Camping can be fun when you spend your time outdoors without the distraction of the internet, and you get to sleep in a sleeping bag in a tent. For kids, camping means playing in the woods or beach all day, making a camp fire, grilling hamburgers and hot dogs, or roasting marshmallows to make s’mores.

However, if you have parents who are such city folks and who think they are too old to go roughing it, what can you do to enjoy the camping life? Well, in Southern California, there is an experience called “glamping” where you can satisfy everyone. Glamping is “glamour camping”…well at least that’s what my parents call it. I personally call it wussy camping. We decided to go wussy camping in El Capitan Canyon for a day. One WHOLE day in the great outdoors.


They have luxury tents with beds and linen and comfortable mattresses along with their many luxurious cabins, pool, and wifi hot spots. All of the cabins have mini fridges, microwaves, coffee makers, fans, heating, showers, the whole shebang! So what’s different from a hotel, you say? Well they have a fire pit outside so you can get a tiny part of the camping experience. Along with bugs and wild animals (we saw skunks, squirrels, rabbits, and lizards. No bears as of now) of course. The cabins are also spaced out so each family has their own little area which make it seem sort of isolated I guess. (But to add to the glamping part they even have a spa a little walk away and a market and restaurant for those who forget to bring firewood, matches, or any food at all. Then you could just go and get a hamburger and fries.)
Cabin with nice bed for adults, loft for kids, kitchen and bathroom
Wussy as it may be, we had fun starting our own fire, hiking along the trails up the mountain, and stargazing at nighttime. Out here, unlike hotels or your own house, you can get a clear view of the many stars in our big galaxy. I could even see the milky way and a shooting star! It was very fascinating and fun pretending to be adventurous as we sat around the fire pit outside our cabin making s’mores and bacon only a few steps away from wifi and technology. This is a perfect place for everyone in the family.

Monday, July 29, 2013

What? I have to go to Summer School?

Summer break is one of the most anticipated times of the year for students, and it's easy to guess why: no school, no homework, no grades, and fun!  During the school year, I always look forward to summer vacation because it's always nice to have a break from stress and high school.

But about two weeks into the summer, I begin to worry about what to do with myself... I'd played all the video games I'd wanted to play, slept in as much as I wanted, and was basically just an all-around lazy bum, but I wasn't doing anything that was truly productive.  I now understand that being a lazy bum can only be fun for so long.

That's where summer class comes in: Chloe took her t-shirt making class and just finished up an intensive painting class at UCLA, and I'm taking a creative writing class  as part of the Community Arts Partnership Summer Arts program in downtown LA, sponsored by Cal Arts.  

At CAPSA, I've been spending every day from 10-5 writing.  Though the focus is on poetry, I have had some chances to work on writing short stories, and I've definitely developed a love for poetry, too.  The best part is that the class doesn't even feel like class—it's just me and a bunch of writerly friends...writing. Being in the class has helped me realize that writing may be something I would like to pursue in the future.  Even though it's nice to lounge around the house, having work to do has been something of a relief to both of us.  Imagine that!

A lot of my friends are at summer camp right now, which is another productive way to spend your summer.  At least these organized activities keep us from wasting away our lives on the living room couch!

I say all of this now, but I know that when my class is done, I'll be back in front of the TV killing brain cells.  


Story of my life.
...when I'm not in class.

How do you like to spend your summer? 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Compartes Chocolate and Craft In America

I went to a chocolate appreciation/printing workshop at this funky place called Craft in America when summer first started. The class was not so much as making chocolate itself (although that would've been fun) but making chocolate wrappers using the monotype printing process. 

Me and the monotype printer
In the class, while we worked on designing the wrappers, we were supplied with chocolate truffles from Compartes. ( 912 S. Barrington Avenue Los Angeles CA 90049) Jonathan Grahm from Compartes told us about how took over his family's chocolate business as a teenager and transformed and expanded it all over the world. He also talked about how he came up with the designs for his chocolate bar wrappers, and how he printed designs onto he chocolate truffles. The chocolate was delicious but the intricate designs on both the wrappers and the chocolates (the colors being edible of course) are art in themselves. Each chocolate tells a story, with their vibrant colors and taste. Depending on the theme whether it's a holiday, an event, or different parts of the world, the chocolate and the design both match the theme. All of the chocolates are amazing (yet expensive). 


Yes, these are truffles.


Jonathan Grahm is the owner, artist, and chocolatier of Compartes. He integrates art, flavors, different cultures, and different styles together to create his gourmet chocolates. For his newest chocolate series, Jonathan researched graphic design and different cultures around the world to create the perfect chocolate that corresponds with each place around the world he based his chocolate off of.

Compartes chocolate bars


Jonathan's designs are especially amazing since he never even studied graphic design before.

Making wrappers using monotype printing was also very fun. We would paint on a piece of plastic and then place a piece of paper on top and roll them both through a machine to transfer our designs onto the paper. While we designed the wrappers we also got to eat some delicious chocolate truffles from Compartes.

My chocolate wrapper

The paper printing class was sponsored by Craft In America who has been doing some interesting workshops on art and food. The class was taught by Christina Carroll and is held in the Craft in America building located at 8415 West Third Street. The building is small, but has some beautiful craft and art on display.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Great Documentary Film: Somewhere Between

Last weekend, we watched a documentary film on Netflix called "Somewhere Between", directed by Linda Goldstein Knowlton, that follows the lives of four adopted Chinese-American teen girls.  I have a few adopted Chinese friends, and I guess I never really thought much of their back stories, but the film was incredibly eye-opening.  Each of the girls has her own struggles with her identity: Fang, who vividly remembers being abandoned on a sidewalk, continues to return to China and reach out to other orphaned girls; Hayley longs to know the reasons for her abandonment and seeks out her birth family; Jenna, a top student at a prestigious academy, constantly busies herself in after school activities to keep her mind off of the questions surrounding her abandonment; Ann, a pre-teen living in suburban Pennsylvania, doesn't show any particular interest in her biological family but is jealous when Hayley finds hers.



One of the things that is so striking about the girls in the film is their resilience: through their struggles growing up "somewhere between", the girls demonstrate an intelligence and understanding far beyond their years.

I have a few adopted Chinese friends.  Sometimes I wonder how they feel about their birth families and adoption. I don't quite have the gall to ask them about it myself, perhaps because I know how delicate the subject can be, especially considering Chinese culture's pattern of abandoning baby girls in favor of raising boys.  "Somewhere Between" provides a lot of insight into the various thoughts and feelings of different adopted Chinese girls.  The film beautifully captures a wide range of emotions—happiness, despair, loneliness, curiosity—and had me laughing and crying along with the girls.  I would highly recommend it; it's a film that everyone should watch, regardless of whether or not they know any adopted Chinese kids, because anyone can relate to its theme of being an outsider and trying to find a place in society.

I give it a two thumbs up.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

T-Shirt Making Class and Lumi Co.

So for the entire last week, I was at a T-Shirt making class with a friend of mine. The class is a program for high school students at ArtCenter in Pasadena.  It was also, much to our surprise, a business class (more so than a t-shirt making class). We learned how to license our products and copyright our designs, which of our designs would sell better, and how to advertise our designs.

Before this camp, I had made t-shirts with my cousin using screen printing which is very time consuming. I wanted to take the class so that I can learn different ways to print on t-shirts that are both more efficient and to place more detailed graphics on them.

At this Art Center camp, we first designed what we wanted to put on our t-shirts and scanned them into the computer. You can also draw your designs directly on the computer too. Then we formatted it on a 11x17 canvas size and turned the images into negatives.
Negative of my T-shirt design
We emailed our designs to Lumi Co. who then printed our designs out on film. Lumi Co. is  a company that has created a new type of dye called Inkodye that is clear when rolled on to a surface, but becomes colored when exposed to direct sunlight. The Inkodye colors come through the transparent part of our film, but remains clear where the film is black because the black parts block the sunlight and prevents the dye from activating. If the film has grey tones, then a little bit more light gets in to form a gradient. What's more amazing is the fact that Lumi Co was founded by a young woman called Jesse Genet, who started the company when she was only 16. We met her. She was really nice. Her company is in this artist's colony at the Brewery, a live work place for cool artists.

Here's a link to Lumi Co's website where they explain how the print process takes place.

My teammates modeling the T-shirts I made.
With the Lumi Co. dyes you can experiment a lot more than you can with screen printing. However, if you want your designs to look exact with more colors, I would suggest screen printing. Both are very time consuming (so you might want to get a company to print t-shirts if you were looking for mass production). However, DYI is a lot of fun to do. I'll be making my own T-shirts soon, so look for them my store site at http://twopears.storenvy.com/.

By the way, I sold three of my T-shirts for a total of $90! Not bad eh?


Friday, June 21, 2013

2013 V3con!

If you haven't already heard, I was invited to speak at V3con last weekend on a panel about internet safety.  V3con is a digital media conference, presented by the Asian American Journalists Association, that focuses on Asian American Pacific Islander communications.  It was such a rewarding experience for me - it's not everyday that I get to exercise my public speaking skills, let alone in front of a bunch of adults!

Chloe and I worked together to revamp our business cards from last year.  Unfortunately, she couldn't make it to the conference this year, but I was able to hand out most of the cards we printed. I'm so proud :D

Last year, Chloe and I attended the conference as volunteers, so it was really neat being able to go as a guest this time around.  I had the opportunity to meet some seriously cool people whom I hope to keep in touch with (I got their business cards, too!).  Hopefully you can all check out V3con in the future if you get the chance; it's really inspiring and fun!

Me (left) and one of the cool people I met at V3con, Mallika Bajaj (right)!
I did end up writing a blog post about the panel I spoke on, which you can check out here

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Driving Troubles

Did I tell you guys about how I got my driver's license?!  I've had it for about a couple of months. I can finally drive myself places now!

But...I kind of got into an accident already.  Don't worry, nobody got hurt; it was just a bumper thumper.  Still, it was a real bummer—my mom had literally just been warning me the day before about insurance rates, and then I went and rear-ended another car.  I guess traffic was so bad that I got bored and forgot to pay attention....big mistake.  I guess I really met the "bad driving" Asian standard.  Definitely not the one I wanted to meet.

It looks like I won't be driving for a while because my insurance rate went up.  So...lesson learned: don't go thinking you're cool and stop paying attention to the road.  I feel so uncool right now.  

But at least I can always be proud of myself for not getting hurt.


Woooo!  I'm so proud!


Friday, May 10, 2013

Social Media!

I was thinking about all the social media sites I use. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, DeviantArt, Tumblr....

Which one is your favorite?


Personally I don't really get the point of Twitter even though our KoolAsianKid Twitter account has over 600 followers. I guess it's nice to get the word out fast about what I am doing, my newest blog post, or find out what other people are saying about topics I'm interested in. From a fan girl's point of view, I do like getting updated on when the next season of my favorite TV show or movie is coming out or follow actors and directors. I also follow topics about teens and Asian Americans and what they are doing.

Facebook I don't really get either. It's really time consuming though. I guess it is nice being able to keep in touch with old friends and things of that sort...but a lot of times, my friends and I just post pictures of ourselves and wait for "likes" and comments from each other about how nice the photos look. Of course, it's not as if we are going to call each other ugly on Facebook, so the whole exercise is a bit self serving. I have a public CoolAsianKid Facebook page, but that one doesn't get too many followers, and I don't use it much except to occasionally advertise our blog posts.

If had to choose between the two social media sites Mark Zuckerberg owns, I would have to go with Instagram because I have a...fandom account that I enjoy updating very much. My fan account is everything about the British TV shows Sherlock and Doctor Who, and yes I'm a nerd. But you say that like it's a bad thing. Don't scoff though. My cousin and I have close to 2000 followers in the short five months since we created it. In my opinion, our fandom account is really cool. Check it out http://instagram.com/doctorwho_sherlock#.

http://instagram.com/doctorwho_sherlock#

TUMBLR. Tumblr is the home for a fangirl or fanboy. I personally like it because there are quite a lot of interesting people and subject matters on it and you can always find people or things that inspire you, or things you can connect to through Tumblr. On Tumblr, you can personalize your account by setting up your own theme for your tumblog....your own music, your own cursor....Anything that portrays your style. Also, unlike Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter it seems like a very safe environment. You don't have to worry about hacks (Like Instagram), or unwanted people on your account or annoying ads everywhere!

I'm always inspired by the artwork on Tumblr  I always find an amazing animation on Tumblr or an amazing artist. It's a very artsy community. Plus they have gifs, which is a series of pictures that appear to be moving like a short animation.  See my Cool Asian Kid Tumblr here.

My plush animals race gif on http://www.tumblr.com/blog/koolasiankids
I have an AskChibiAang Tumblr account where I pretend to be Aang from Avatar: The Last AirBender, . . . but in a miniature chibi form I created. Other Avatar fans ask me funny questions about Aang's duties, and I respond about what an Avatar has to do. It's fun role playing, and it's funny that other fans like to engage in this kind of role play.

My gif on http://askchibiaang.tumblr.com/.


I guess dA (Deviantart) fanfiction and YouTube are also forms of social media. Deviantart is mainly for people posting art and stories, and Youtube is quite fun with a lot of people posting Vlogs (Video-blogs) that are fun, informative and interesting.

People are also into Pinterest and SnapChat now I believe? I haven't tried them. My school discourages us from using SnapChat for our own safety. Some kids have gotten into trouble for posting inappropriate comments on SnapChat which prompted our school to give us a talk about internet safety and social media etiquette. I think social media can be fun, but kids need to be careful about what they post online and not abuse the freedom they get on social media sites to invite unwanted followers or criticisms. By far, the worst offenders I meet on social media are the advertisers who spam me with things they are trying to sell. This makes social media a lot less fun.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

From Up On Poppy Hill by Studio Ghibli

We weren't sure about this Studio Ghibli movie because first of all, it is directed by Goro Miyazaki, and not the great master Hayao Miyazaki who directed My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, etc. Secondly, the movie was not being released widely in Los Angeles. The closest theatre showing the movie is in Westwood, but only once a day, smack in the middle of the day. It's hard to find the right time to go.


Luckily, our parents are die hard Miyazaki fans, so on Saturday night, we drove all the way out to the Laemmle theatre in North Hollywood to see the movie.

The movie doesn't have any white knuckle action like most American movies do. The storyline is slow paced: It's about this girl in 1960's Yokohama who waits for her sailor father to come back to her while she takes care of her family's boarding house. She falls in love with a schoolmate who is involved in trying to save an old school club house and she chips in to help.


The movie should be a classic. The background artwork is stunning, depicting the streets, sights, culture, and architecture of 1960s Yokohama and Tokyo: a time when the country was modernizing after World War II to meet the demands of hosting the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The story seems definitely a departure from Hayao Miyazaki the father, lacking his adventure and action style. However, we may just become Goro Miyazaki fans too with his nostalgic and sentimental story about treasuring the past while moving forward into the future.

We've visited Yokohama,Tokyo and the Miyazaki Museum in the past and it's fun to be reminded of those places while watching the movie. The movie should definitely be more widely released in the United States. It's recommended for all kids and adults alike.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Amazing British TV Shows

I'm not sure if you've realized, but I have a bit of a thing for British TV shows. My parents and my sister think I'm weird. Maybe I am. I first got obsessed with the BBC show "Sherlock". The adaptation, featuring Benendict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson, is (in my opinion) the best adaption of the Sherlock Homes mysteries books ever. The creators really followed the books (which I read in 5th grade) even though the TV series is modernized. There are so far only two seasons of the Sherlock stories, but they're coming out with a third one soon. (Only three episodes in each season. But each beautifully done and 1 hour and 30 minutes long)  I can't wait! I was so sad after the end of Season 2 of Sherlock, it was SUCH a sad, heart wrenching episode.  Those of you who read Sherlock knows that in the Reichbach Falls story, Sherlock supposedly dies!

In the meantime, American might have noticed that Martin Freeman starred in the Hobbit, as the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, and Benedict Cumberbatch is going to be in the next Star Trek movie as a villain. I can't wait, because Star Trek is one of my favorite TV and movie series.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman
So, in order to compensate for the lack of Sherlock in between seasons, I decided to try out other BBC shows. In particular Doctor Who. My gosh what did I get myself into. It's SO good. I can't really tell you if Sherlock or Doctor Who is better because I love them both. It's impossible to give a short summary of Doctor Who. The genre is sci-fi. It's basically about a time traveler named "The Doctor" who's species is a Time Lord. He's the last of his kind because the evil Daleks killed the rest of his race. He travels around in the TARDIS (A blue police box) through time and space and saves people and other alien races. Through the decades that the shows has been on, the Doctor usually time travels with a human companion. He has been portrayed by 11 actors now. Each time he reincarnates into a different doctor for survival. After he reincarnates he remembers everyone but he just looks different from before. I haven't gotten to the eleventh doctor yet. I'm still on the Tenth Doctor.
David Tennant as the 10th Doctor. Tardis
As a tribute to my love of Doctor Who and Sherlock, my cousin and I have created an Instagram fan account that features images from, and about just these two shows and their stars. We put so much time and care into it that in a mere 4 months, we have gained over 1000 follows. Here is the web address: http://instagram/doctorwho_sherlock. It's a great page. Our followers say so. My cousin and I have even started to make T-shirts and buttons featuring Doctor Who and Sherlock to give away to our followers every time we reach a milestone.

My family likes to watch Downton Abbey. This is the one show that we all watch together. (I personally prefer Doctor Who and Sherlock....but...I love Downton Abbey also.) Downton Abbey is. like all British shows, really well done. The sad part is that BBC is not afraid to kill off their own main characters and it makes for completely unexpected, spectacular shows, but also the most heart wrenching moments ever. I bawled my eyes out during the episode of Downton Abbey when yougest sister Sybil died from childbirth, and another episode when leading man Matthew Crawley is killed in a car accident right after he and his wife has a new baby!

The Cast of Downton Abbey

Well I suggest watching all of these British TV shows.  They are completely different from each other, but they're the kind of shows that make you fall in love with the characters and sometimes feel sad about sharing them with anyone else because you want to think you are alone in this great fandom .....Or maybe that's just me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Road Trip to Temecula


This was a super long weekend for us because of President's Day and our school's semester break combined. We had five days off. Unfortunately, Dad's on a business trip to Hong Kong, so we thought it would be a good idea to get out of town and enjoy ourselves while he's away. Chloe and I went on a road trip with our mom to visit. . . the INLAND EMPIRE. More specifically, the wine country of Temecula. Mom decided that it's time I get ready to take my DMV road test, so she asked me to drive . . . all the way to Temecula.  Aside from one scary lane change that scared the bejeezus out of all of us, we stayed in one piece.

I've always assumed Temecula would be a dusty, dry and hot town with not much to see. However we were pleasantly surprised. If you don't know what Temecula is like, here are some pictures of the vineyards:

Vineyards at Churon Winery
Oak wine barrels at the Callaway Winery.

We spent a lot of the first day just driving around and checking out the wine country, partly because mom didn't make any firm plans. We didn't really know which hotel we would be staying at.  Eventually, we checked into the Fairfield Inn, and got a nice suite, which was the cheaper of the two hotels we were considering (bargain hunting rocks!).

Once we settled into the room, I took a really long nap.  Mom wasn't too happy about that because she wanted to go out and eat dinner with us, so she woke me from my peaceful sleep (grr).  She wanted to try this local steakhouse called The Gambling Cowboy, since it was getting kind of late and we hadn't had dinner yet.  We drove all the way out to Old Town Temecula - a really charming, old-west kind of town - and checked out the steakhouse.  That was when we realized that none of us were actually hungry.  So in the end, we brought a couple of slices of pizza back to our hotel room and munched on them while we watched the season finale of Downton Abbey, which was [SPOILER] really depressing, by the way.

Entrance to Old Town Temecula

Mom had been talking about taking us to mine for tourmaline - that was really the big point of the trip - so on day two, she woke us up bright and early (nine-ish) to get ready to dig for those gems!  I was never too big on the idea, but she insisted we give it a try at the Himalayan Mines.

We went to Old Town Temecula to grab a bite to eat, but again, we weren't very hungry.  We ended up buying some fudge from a local candy store called Old Town Sweet Shop  instead, and before long, we all decided to put off the gem-digging until the next day.


Different kinds of delicious fudge.

The fudge is cut perfectly using these metal guides.

We decided to spend day two checking out Temecula instead: we went on a tour of the Callaway Winery and wine cellars and learned some fascinating facts about how wine is made, not that we can drink wine yet. (Did you know Callaway winemakers are also the Callaway golf club makers? or that oak wine barrels from Europe can cost $1000 each?)

We walked around old town and took a look at an old jailhouse (scared the heck out of us - there were a couple of mannequins in there!), drove around the Wine Country some more, and had a lovely lunch at the beautiful Ponte Vineyard and Inn.
Old Temecula Jail. You don't want to be locked up in here.
Beautiful day for an out door lunch at the Ponte Winery.
For our second night, we decided to stay at Churon Winery, another one of the many beautiful wineries in Temecula, and got a huge room with a GIGANTIC bathroom.  Huge.  You wouldn't even understand.  The bathroom is probably twice the size as my own bedroom.  Seriously. (Did you know that the name Churon came from the two original founders of the winery, Chuck and Ron, hence Churon? We learned that Chuck sold his share of Churon to Ron, so maybe it should be called Ronron Winery?)

After we moved our stuff into the room, mom checked the internet and found out that there was no gem-digging to occur the next day.  The mines are all closed to the public on Tuesdays!  Chloe and mom were really bummed out...but I didn't mind all that much.  I didn't really want to get my fingers dirty. We ended up hanging out in the room for the rest of the day and having In n' Out for dinner.

We were hoping to find some gems like this!

The next morning, we had a nice breakfast at the inn and headed back home for school tomorrow. I drove all the way back, in the rain and did really well.

However unplanned and disorganized it may seem, it was a lovely little trip!  Sometimes, you find more adventure that way. We definitely suggest you check out Temecula when you have the chance! We have to make it out to dig for gems some other time, and we'll let you know what that's about!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Going to College . . . Why?

It's been a little while since we last posted.  We both have midterms coming up, so we have to study for those! I'm a junior this year, so a lot of my senior friends are going to be graduating soon and I'll have to start thinking about which colleges I want to apply to.

Thinking about going to college is really scary sometimes!  I always wonder about what colleges I'll be able to get into and where I even want to go.  I hear that it's especially hard for Asians to get into the colleges they want to go to because so many Asian-Americans apply to top colleges that we automatically have lower chances.

Dad went to UC Berkeley, so I thought about going there for a while, but then my mom told me that there are so many exceptional Asians in the UC system that I won't be able to compete. Not to mention the fact that the UC system really only looks at GPA and test scores, and I'm definitely not quite up to par. So I guess I'll have to do some major research! Come to think of it, Chloe and I have a lot of expectations to meet because dad went to Berkeley and then Yale, and mom went to Wellesley and Columbia....

Luckily, my high school class is going on a trip to the east coast to visit some of the colleges there, so I'll be able to get a better taste of what kinds of colleges there are and what kind of college I'd want to go to.  Still, since we grew up on the West coast, I'm worried I won't be able to handle snowy weather!


Shall I go here?
Or Here?

Also, my going to college means that the Cool Asian Kids will be separated!! Noooooo!!! But with the internet, we might still be able to continue with our blog, but maybe as Cool Asian Teens? Cool Asian Young Adults?  Doesn't have the right ring to it. We gave to come up with something better.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sawtelle Boulevard (Part 2) The Stores

Food aside, I really like the stores on Sawtelle also. The stores are so cute and have great for buying gifts. I really like going to Happy Six and Black Market. Happy Six has a bunch of really cute Japanese t-shirts, bags, and accessories. On top of that, they also opened up a macaron store inside Happy Six that sells really good macarons in the cutest little packaging ever! Plus they give out coupons to the best boba place next door called Volcano Tea.


Macarons inside Happy Six

The Black Market has so many different things. You can spend an entire day in the Black Market and never get bored. It has toys, mugs, clothing, journals, keychains, stuffed animals. Anything you can imagine. The stuff they sell are really funny and cute also. It's one of my favorite stores to shop for gifts because you can always find a good and unique present.







Of course, there is Giant Robot, the original store that carries all the Ugly Dolls. Our parents got us our first Ugly Dolls back in 2003 when they were at the San Diego ComiCon. We loved them so much and since then, we found that Giant Robot on Sawtelle carries them and we've gotten many more Ugly Dolls there over the years. The new Ugly Doll designs and colors are not as nice as our old ones, but that's just our opinion.

Our Ugly Doll Collection since 2003

Giant Robot carries other designer toys, t-shirts and books too.


Sawtelle Boulevard has become a great destination for hip contemporary Asian American art, design and food for kids and older folks too. Go check it out sometimes.

Happy Six: 2115 Sawtelle Boulevard  Los Angeles, CA 90025
Black Market:  2023 Sawtelle Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Giant Robot: 2015 Sawtelle Boulevard  Los Angeles, CA 90025