Saturday, January 29, 2011

ALMOST Chinese New Year Break! :)

Here's a little update video! Enjoy!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Argentine Odalisque

So this past week hasn't been easy, per say. Albert's been on a business trip and I've kinda had to fend for myself. No worries! I'm just fine! But I'd kinda like to be able to order different foods and not eat at the same places everyday. :P Work is a little stressful right now since it's the end of the semester and the usual dramas. Oh well. Can't wait till it's hot and sunny again! I really wanted to go out dancing but a lot of stuff got in the way so I ended up spending my weekend as a crazy artist. (I did check out the one argentine tango place in Taipei...maybe Taiwan)

I finished an acryllic painting I started the last time Albert was away. It's of hyacinths at the flower market. I tell ya, it was pretty tough getting back into acryllics and I had a hard time getting the flowers the right shade of pink (it's like a faded, purply pink). It's really hard for me to blend in this medium for some reason. So I impressionized it a little bit. I like bold colors anyways. It's crazy, I can't just randomly pick up a brush and spend five minutes painting... I spend HOURS.. Can't stop myself. I just keep wanting to fix things because everytime a do a new layer it goes from looking crappy to better and better. It's addicting. Then after I did that one.. I had to start something else. Took a break from painting and did some oil pastels. I don't remember how I got reminded of Ingre's Odalisque, but I did and had to do my own version. Albeit, it could never be as great as Ingre's... and I used a stock photo from So it really seems unoriginal. I found this great picture of a small-chested, overweight (like Botticelli overweight) woman who's posing in a headscarf and I just had to do it. The folds on her body from the extra body fat looked really cool to me, since I always draw girls who have more of my body type (since I see mostly myself everyday). I started with a pencil sketch and it looked so good I was afraid I would ruin it with the pastels (since I'm still a beginner with them). I made the elbows, knees, hands, and feet really bony and grotesque and it contrasted well with her voluptuosity-ness. And the pastels did ruin the detail a bit but I'm overall happy with it. I used purple colored pencil to define the sharp wrinkles and it's not easy to use pencil over pastel so I don't recommend it. Something's really off with the face- I didn't want it to look cartoony and I didn't want it to take away from the body, but I just can't get it right. I don't think I can do anything more to it because I went over it many times with pastel and colored pencil. The hair's also rough and chunky.... doesn't fit the rest of the style of her body... ick. So now I have a mostly ruined painting, except for her skin. Better luck next time I guess. I got it propped up on my desk so I can live with it for a bit and figure out what I need to change.

And that's my artist's process! ;) Hopefully I've entertained you with some of that mania. Sometimes I really wish I took that opportunity to go to art school instead of getting a regular degree. It probably wouldn't have been a setback in the long run because BA's don't matter anymore. Can't believe I was so naive to think they did. I was too scared to get an art degree because I thought it would ruin my chances of getting a good job someday. MAN!!!! I would do this all day everyday if I could!

I just finished watching dvds of the last season of DTWS and I'm super pumped about that! This year my goal was to get serious about ballroom again and compete in at least one competition. So I'm hoping I can stick to it even though it's the most frustrating thing in the world! You see people dance and you can tell who has good technique and who doesn't .. you even know the concepts of what you should do and shouldn't... but to get your body to do it and remember ten bajillion in things at the same time is URGHHHH!!!!! Really hope I don't give up!

So that's my rant for this week. Nothing new except work. My kids are really impressing me lately- because I force them to not speak Chinese in class (try to) they're coming up with new things to say in English and they listen more with the intent to learn. One of them said, "Teacher Rachel, give to (name)" when he wanted me to give him something. It's something he's picked up from what I say.. So yayy!!!By the way, Mom, Dad, Grandma Genny-- they LOVED the videos I took to show them. The 2 year olds keep asking me to show it to them. "Teacher Rachel Mommy" (We want to see your Mom) They also keep asking to sing Jingle Bells in class.

Okay! Peace out! (PS- I still remember a lot of Italian :) )Next post I'll talk about going to a hot spring in Beitou- I wanna wait till Tuesday when I get my new computer and can put my photos on there. (Yeah, mine is permanently broken :-\ )

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hess Banquet, Training, Lindy Hop, and Medical Check!

Things have been really busy since I've gone back to work. We had a year-end banquet for my school. We went to the Hyatt hotel and had some kind of assembly where different branches gave cheers. After that there were some performances- dancing fish and dragons on a stick... I went to TGIF for the first time in Taiwan and they had a great drink- it's like an oreo milkshake with liqueur inside. It was very yummy! Then there was a banquet where we sat at different round tables and people went on stage to perform songs. There were free drinks and a lot of people took advantage of that. It was most interesting to see where conversations kept going to. But it was a fun experience- you gotta try everything once, right?

My Pony class TA- she is awesome!!!
Pony Class HRT- She's been with me since I started working in Taiwan! :)
My great coworkers! Everyday at work is always interesting! ;)
With my manager and director- NICEST bosses I've ever had
With my Bear class HRT- I stole her from Rachel when she left ;)
Anyways. In the meantime I guess I'm taking a break from Chinese class (not enough people signed up) and I'm training to get back into ballroom competitions instead. I'm making myself practice 3 times a week, but uh it's kinda hard when I go by myself, practice the wrong technique, and then get told later I'm doing it wrong.... Urgh. But it's a work in progress. I'm also trying out the lindy hop scene in Taipei. It's a small group but there's a bunch of Americans doing it, and awww going dancing makes me remember how much I love lindy! I'm gonna try out the Argentine Tango next week if I get my way.

It's also that time of the year when I need to renew my ARC (Alien Residence Card). So that means a trip to the hospital for a medical check... Basic stuff, blood test, full chest x-ray for TB... (Yeah.. I know... :-\) Turns out I'm in the gray area for Measles and Mumps so they made me get the vaccine.. again. I'm 99% sure I got it when I was little. But whatever. So that's done.

Yeah so I obviously have nothing better to say. But I wanted to update and let people know what's going on. The end of the semester is coming up so things are busy at school. Chinese New Year is also coming in February and it's my year- Year of the Rabbit! I get a week off and we might do a little traveling in Taiwan.

Oh and another random thing: we lost one of our English channels (Starworld) so no more sitcoms, and random trashy tv. It's kinda a major blow - that means only HBO and those kinds of channels now.

PS- I was told yesterday that I look like I'm 18. Yay! I still got it! ;) (23 is so old)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back in Taipei

Hey everybody!

I had a safe flight back to Taiwan. Whew, it was really long but the turbulence wasn't that bad. We got to hang out in the Tokyo airport for an hour, and I saw a lot of movies this time. Eat Pray Love (again), Despicable Me, Four Christmases, Salt. They were all pretty good. I liked EPL better the second time around. I swear I feel like I know that Brazilian guy she ends up with. I just can't figure out who he reminds me of.

So I had a lot of fun being back home. I can't believe how much I miss America. Got to see some family, and some friends ;) and Dante!!! I finished this gorgeous dress I was working on before I moved to Taiwan... but it kinda turned into a disaster! It ended up being too small on top, and bulgy in places... and I burned/melted the fabric with an iron..... that I destroyed... :'( But it was a good try I think. I think my next sewing project will be to just make a tablecloth.

But anyways, I'm back. I took a couple days off so I could rest from all the traveling... but I feel weird not working. Plenty of unpacking to keep me busy though.