I stayed up late and made Jake picrew. Relatively speaking, he is way easier to make than others because he is 10% closer to pretty boy type than the others (facial hair, body size, skin tone)...

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Sabina...

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Today's music post: Dog by Lucifour M, directed by Emanuele Kabu!

I've always been on a mission to find the perfect bag. Every bag I own, I've had some major/minor gripe about, whether in function or aesthetic.

This is going to be about my most recent EDC bag for daily commute/work. This bag only works because I've been pretty intention what I do and do not want to carry, on top of trying really hard to not take my work laptop home! I also wanted something that could fit a sketchbook, or any other "maybe" items depending on the circumstances (scarf, mitten, lunch tupperware, umbrella, etc.) without become an overloaded monster.

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It's a World Famous Web Haversack from an army/sporting goods surplus store. I pulled off the stitched tag on the front. It's a bit of an in-betweener when it comes to aesthetic/style; it's kind of classic, but also kind of casual, but also not so casual that it couldn't work for a more businessy outfit.

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Since the inside of the bag didn't have any pockets (a no-no feature for me), I found a 3-zipper compartment pouch and sewed it into the bag seams around the corners. My needle wasn't strong enough to pierce through the bag fabric, so I went for a minimal viable product (MVP) here.

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I also sewed in a little cotton ribbon and looped in a carabiner. I use this to latch my keys to the inside of my bag for easy access.

I pulled out the tag and got a gigantic wax candle from dollarama and rubbed it into the fabric. It's like colouring with a gigantic crayon.

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I melted the the wax into the fabric with a hairdryer set to warm/hot mode! I'd say that this probably only makes it slightly water repellent, since I also went for MVP.

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Post-melting, the bag looks a-okay! Other than the 3 zipper pockets, the main compartment is just one big hole. Time to fill it up with stuff! Though not too much stuff. I'm always trying to get away with carrying as little as possible. Since I usually commute during rush hour and have to transfer a few times, I don't find that I have heads down time to do much sketching/drawing/music or podcast listening. I've made a choice to be very "present" in these moments (vs. zoning out/going into my own headspace).

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What's inside:

  • Charger and AC adapter for iphone
  • Lightning/audio jack adapter (I hate this)
  • Earphones (not pictured)
  • Tissue paper
  • Bus pass
  • Zipper pouch: friend printed and sent this to me as a memorial to our Germany trip (contents below!)
  • Keys/lanyards
  • Pens: platinum preppy (F) pink, pentel finepoint, gel pen
  • main wallet: MiniCap 2.0 by Anvi Design. really like using this! Fits in my pocket!!
  • second wallet: custom printed pattern of Pinkey from artscow. Mostly insurance/health/membership cards and other knicknacks (aka not daily use)
  • notebook: Aranzi Aronzo Kappa Take Notes Memo Book (A6)
  • foodbar: just in case

What's inside the zippy:

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I'm pretty happy with how this all came together. My only grips about the bag now are that I wish it closed tighter, but it's not a deal breaker since I feel the inside zip pouches are a good secondary level of theft protection. My next bag mission is to move from a 29L bag to a 20L bag for business travel. Stay tuned...!

Today's music post: Glory Box by Portishead. An oldie but a goodie!

My webcomic Here We Are is launched! The first chapter (10p) is available online at http://dirchansky.com/hwa/01 :)

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I want to acknowledge to myself that...I'm a very hard worker. Sometimes I feel subpar or barely meeting the status quo, but when I look at what I've been able to create/produce in tandem with all the other things happening in my life (full time day job++OT/travel, volunteer work, freelance work, personal work, etc.), I will give myself that pat on my back.

I will never be the best from a technical/visual/storytelling POV because of my circumstances (and ever-evolving moving target of what "good" looks like), but I have come to terms that I'm not at the point in my life where going deep into craft/skill-building is the highest priority, and know that my expectations will need to scale to the available space-time-continuum. I also scaled back on social media, consolidated my stuff into spaces that I prefer (e.g., this freetalk blog, mastodon) and that I feel that I have more control over.

A few personal achievements

  • Finished all my Love Love Hill comic work well in advance; learned that I have to start planning/plotting/drafting months in advance of the due date, ahaha (especially since I find the planning/plotting stage takes longer and longer as years go on; the well of stories is running dry in my mind)
  • Made a small visual novel game called Come for a Drink; practiced writing (using Scrivener), coding (where indentation matters) in a new game dev engine (Renpy), all while working with a set of very dependable, professional, skilled, and talented voice/music/sound folks!
  • Launched Here We Are webcomic, which I aim to continue and focus on in 2019, since LLH is taking a break next year (from anthologies, conventions, tabling, etc.); I'm making a conscious effort to experiment with the way that I tell stories in verbally/visually, thinking more consciously about voices, etc., so I'm sure the comic will be a bit of a mess, but I'll learn a lot from it! If I'm too strict with the planning, I think I'll feel creatively stifled/locked-in, so there's going to be a bit of "making it up as I go along" from a story POV.

(more fake dialogue)

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(fashion exploration)

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I owe most of the above productivity to pre-planning, time management, and years of built-up resilience; given my other responsibilities and unpredictable client work, if I let anything one slip too long, things will pile up and be due at the same time, and ultimately leads to detrimental mental/wellness ripple effects to all aspects of my life. When that happens, I feel over-extended, over-committed, and oftentimes bitter! I will continue to negotiate all these aspects of my life to strive for better balance, and keep myself out of situations where I feel bad!

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this year and to everyone who engaged with any of my stories!

In 2019, I want to continue to add more positive vibes into the world, rather than self-deprecating/negative ones. After watching the tearful Mr. Rogers documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor, I really need to up my game on being kinder and nicer to people around me.

(My stardew valley life)

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Hope that 2019 brings you folks some good stuff! There's a lot of garbage stuff happening in our world, but a lot of greatness too. Don't lose sight of the good!

Lastly, here's today's music post: Lambo-san no Yabou (Lambo-san's Ambition) by Junko Takeuchi. It's a character song from the Katekyo Hitman Reborn anime. I really empathize with being a big crybaby, and particularly the parts of the song where Lambo's voice starts cracking/wavering. The voice actress (also does the voice for Naruto) puts on a great performance.

(I'm also very happy that I cut my hair short, I didn't think it would make such a big difference)

Recently spent the weekend in NYC for the first-ish time! Just documenting this for my own reference; I barely took any pictures.

FRIDAY

  • I had a bad service experience with UP/Presto...
  • Apparently my nose is not attuned to the smell of ur|ne in the subway?
  • Friedmans: Got the mac n' cheese (fortina, parmesan), ginger carrot soup, and sauteed spinach (raisins, pine nuts)! The mac n' cheese was very cheesy, just the way I like it!
  • LINE FRIENDS store: I was sad that most of the Sally merchandise was sold out/gone already. I was able to grab a few items, but much less stuff than I thought I would exit with!
  • Roberta's: got a pretty regular pepperoni pizza; nothing too special
  • Joe & the Juice: I got a very $$ smoothie called YOUNG BLOOD (celery, Lemon, apples) but it was good and made me feel "healthier"
  • Carnegie Hall: the main reason I went on this trip was to catch the Joe Hisaishi Studio Ghibli concert at Carnegie Hall. I have to say that I was disappointed at the acoustics in the hall, given that I could barely hear the soloists (vocal or instrumental) over the regular symphony. There were also parts in the playing that sounded slightly off/like mistakes? I've been to TSO quite a few times and never experienced anything bad. The Joe Hisaishi show probably the highest density of east asians I've seen packed into a theatre!

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SATURDAY

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  • Alimama: I got a match mochi donut (it has matcha coated rice krispies on top), it reminded me a lot of jin deui!
  • Xi'an famous food: I got the stewed oxtail hand-ripped noodles in soup. The soup was very good! I think I prefer thinner ripped noodles for my own preferred noodle-surface area to soup-ratio though.
  • Karaoke Boho (Orchard): there was no (visible?) way to adjust the volume of the music of the karaoke video/song vs. our microphone, so the overall experience was lackluster. Best part of this was meeting up with an old artist friend, Nou!
  • Loring Place: we shared the BBQ chicken (roasted brussels sprouts, apples, and mustard), Peking Duck (with turnips, carrots, and spicy quince-apple chutney), and the roasted short rib (horse radish gremolata and potato puree), all very delicious! I also got a celery ginger (iced team, mint) drink. Gotta fool myself into being healthy.

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SUNDAY

  • Chelsea Market: met up with Nou again and wandered around, including a pop-up watch/timepiece show, and the artist flea market!
  • Num Pang Kitchen (Chelsea Market): I got the lemon grass braised beef short rib on jasmine rice, super delicious! The beef just fell apart with a few pokes from my fork!
  • The Highline: a former elevated freight rail line railway that was turned into a community space/public park. The weather was very nice for a walk, and the flowers/plants were still blooming!
  • Paper Presentation: Went to Nou's favourite stationery store...so much paper and craft supplies! I could make ALL THE THINGS!
  • Books of Wonder: dropped by a cute children's book store and it just so happened that Eva Chen was getting ready to do a autograph/reading session for her book Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes.
  • Le Pain Quotidien: stopped in to drink more "health" into my body, aka the super green (kale, celery, cucumber, pineapple, lemon, apple, ginger and mint)
  • Ichiran: most expensive ramen I've ever had in north america, but I enjoyed the level of customization that I was able to do. I got a rich broth, and it was great.

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Today's music post: The Last to Know by Faith No More.

Updated to Bludit 3.0! Always a bit stressful doing upgrades when you're not sure if all of your content is going to get busted or not, haha. Luckily everything worked out just as the documentation outlined!

I was at Canzine Toronto yesterday with Linda Tea, representing Love Love Hill. It was nice to see a lot of bustling creativity across the whole show. I'm grateful to the organizers and volunteers at Broken Pencil for making things happen. Thank you to everyone who dropped by to say hello and/or buy stuff :). Check out the winners of the 2018 Broken Pencil Zine awards, and their IG compilation post to find more excellent zinesters (such breadth!)!

C.Y.P.H.E.R. Operation Wildlife We had the boxed version of this game growing up. I suspect that a large part of my animal knowledge and love, originates from this game.

Wacky Wheels I always played the Moose names Morris. I'm not sure why...slow and steady? Also played this with my siblings.

Rampage They made a movie out of this, but I played this with my siblings, all three of us on the same keyboard, somehow. I was always Ralph the wolf!

Scorched Earth I remember spending hours shooting holes into the ground.

James Pond I always gravitated to replaying this platformer. I remember there were a lot of cream/sugar/candy-related backgrounds and themes. Even though I loved James Bond for other reasons, I never really made the connection between James Pond and James Bond.

Pastel Muses Another shooter/puzzle game, but with cute animals! I was really good at this game...

Shining Force 1, 2, and 3 (scenario 1) Strategic RPGs with wide cast of characters. This game is likely part of why I love knights and fantasy setting so much. So many hot knights. I liked that you can take your sweet time making decisions and placing your characters, rather than real-time battle. They also had fun animal/creature hybrid-type characters that were secretly powerful. I'd often replay an entire level if it turned out that one of my team members died during battle.

Today's music post: Shining Force II Symphonic Suite by Motoaki Takenouchi. Super nostalgic!

Not really related to anything, but I can't believe that Houshin Engi inspired official street fashion exists!!!!!! Fugen shinjin's outfit is the best looking one IMO. All this reboot merch because of the rebooted anime...they also recompiled the manga with fancy new covers.