Going to a new place and acting like a tourist is a lot of fun. Now, I know a lot of travel/lifestyle people get wee bit pretentious about “looking like a tourist” when they travel— you know who you are! As much as I enjoy being “immersed in the culture/city/etc” and pretending to be a douche bag, I find great joy in looking like a tourist.
We spent a day of pure tourist fun in London. We started with the London Dungeon, which… I can’t even begin to describe the pure, amazing kitsch of it all. We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the event either. Therefore, I can only recommend experiencing it for yourself if you love fun, hilarious things and pure tourist-trap-cheese.
Here’s our super-tourist-y photo booth shot for your pleasure and to give you an idea of what’s in-store.
Next stop was the London Eye. When riding the Eye, make sure to browse the internet for ticket deals. We got a two-ticket deal between The Eye and the Dungeon (they are right next to each other) and saved on money.
The London Eye gives a great view of all of London and I hear it’s also very pretty at night. Magically, they keep the glass fairly clean and photos turn out pretty well.
Be warned, you will be trapped in the ride for a few minutes with other tourists. They don’t allow the pods to get too crowded, but if you are annoyed by strangers easily like I am, it can be challenging… but I’m a cranky old lady. I’m sure the rest of you will be fine with it.
We were incredibly lucky to have had a sunny day during our ride. Afterwards, we walked for awhile in search for our afternoon tea reservation at the Haymarket Hotel. Walking in new cities is my favorite thing in the world. I love when I walked and explored so much that my feet feel like they are dying. I live in Los Angeles where driving is a religion and it’s such a treat for me to be places where it’s possible to walk everywhere.
Walks in London can last for awhile, but it never feels like it takes forever to get anywhere.
Old cities are just too goddamn gorgeous.
As far as the afternoon tea, it was lovely. We were perfect ladies.
Seriously, the Haymarket Hotel does a perfect afternoon tea service. The decor at this little restaurant was perfect without feeling too stuffy with a great flair of fun and colors. The food was delicious and yes, somewhat overwhelming. Don’t let the tiny food fool you… getting to the top tier of desserts felt like an eating marathon. Can’t help filling up on scones and clotted cream though.
I ran away to London for three weeks after I gracefully quit my job. My best friend from high school lives in England and was gracious enough to allow me to crash at her place. Before I hopped on the plane, I was looking up “weird” things to see in London, because I’m a morbid girl…
In my search, I found… preserved animals in jars!
Warning: if you have a queasy stomach for dead, preserved animals, don’t click on the jump.
There is a very specific charm to eating at a place like Buca di Beppo. The family style pasta dishes. The tacky decor… but if you want to level up on tacky-Italian-dining, go to Angelo’s and Vinci’s Ristorante in Fullerton, California.
Last Saturday, I went there for a friend’s birthday dinner. I love family-style dining. Mostly because you can share several kinds of dishes and not have to settle for one!
Although the food at Angelo’s and Vinci’s is so-so (maybe just slightly better than Buca di Beppo) but the atmosphere is the best part. I regret not taking photos of every nook and cranny inside the establishment but perhaps most of it is better experienced in person. I would recommend going up the stairs just to stare at the giant golden angel statue bearing down on a bath tub with mannequin legs sticking out from under the statue. Insane and surreal!
Although our favorite is the cat glass window.
This year, I did something that was completely out of character. I quit my job… without having a back-up plan or a new job lined up.
I have always been a borderline workaholic. I feel guilty when I am not productive. I love working (even when I complain). I like getting paid on a regular basis.
In 2016, my work life began deteriorating because the environment was less than ideal. It was toxic and in the end, I knew there wasn’t a future there that I would want. It drained me—but it took me a full year to admit to myself that I needed to be done. It wasn’t an easy conclusion for me to arrive to. That Asian-Model-Minority-Guilt is way too real.
This blog post isn’t a “I quit my job and started working on my own and made many moneys and here’s how YOU can do it too!” … I swear, are any of those legit? Because yes, I would be super interested in making 6-figures with just my laptop.
These are my own, personal advice to people who are struggling with their work right now and are thinking to themselves: being broke is better than this.
First, make a very real and very semi-rational plan.
I have always been obsessive about saving money and I made a financial goal for myself as well as a set-date to motivate me to reach that goal. I understand that my situation is different from other people and most people can not easily save up. I do believe it’s not impossible. Start prioritizing your purchases and bills. Is there anything you can exchange for a cheaper deal even if it’s not THE THING you want? What is unnecessary in your life? This is important and it will be hard, but it’s a good start.
Remember, money will always come and go — time is constantly running out.
Okay. I know it’s super annoying to see blog posts like this and I get it, people can not just afford to quit their jobs, especially if they are supporting other people. I’m super lucky.
BUT time IS constantly running out. During the year I cried and fretted over whether or not I should leave my job, one of my best friends constantly reminded me of this. You can’t ever get time back and if you had a chance to spend time the way you want, go for it.
Admit to yourself when it’s time to be a quitter.
This was difficult for me. I have never just taken a break from,well, life. For most of us, our work defines us and that is very hard to shake off. I am still struggling with it. I have to keep myself in check and prevent myself from jumping on every opportunity. Although I admit, I already have a job interview right after my last day at my current job! See? I suck at this “taking a break” thing.
I am a creative person and my peers are pushing me to actually take a real vacation from working. Again, I know it’s a luxury and I am taking advantage of it while I can. I will take a trip. I will work my own projects and portfolio. I will freelance when I can but for the most part, I am embracing self-care.
Not just yoga on the beach.
I know people are assuming I am going on some Eat-Pray-Love-Find-Myself-Journey. Um, no. Gross.
I am learning that there is a difference between working versus productivity. Anyone can work but it takes more to actually produce. I want to make things that I care about. I want to elevate my skill set and find a more elevated career path for myself. I can’t just sit at a desk job anymore and push the same buttons on my keyboard.
Things you can do to achieve a somewhat vague goal or making “things better”:
• If you are a creative person, try to go back to your roots. Step away from the computer and pick up a pencil and a sketchpad.
• Take classes! Find something interesting that pertains to your career, or a logical extension of what you were doing before.
• Keep a physical or mental to-do list even if it’s just: Clean out that damn bookcase and donate old books to Goodwill.
• Spend time with like-minded people who you can share thoughts and knowledge with. People who understand what you are trying to achieve.
• Don’t listen to people who want you to fail.
• Don’t let other peoples’ fears get in your way.
• Pet as many dogs and cats as you can (unless you’re allergic… then I’m sorry you will never feel the joy of a loving pet).
• Do the things that you love.
• Know that you don’t have to settle and there will always be a better place for you when you are finally ready to get back into the work force.
I will keep you updated on my own progress as I go through this very new phase in my life. I’m sure I’ll have days when I’m crying and broke, so… stay tuned and let’s all find out where this insane decision takes me!
This Saturday, January 21, 2017, was historic.
I joined the Women’s March in Los Angeles and even though I do have my reservations— inclusive feminism is very important to me— I knew I still had to support this movement. To show solidarity, to help make the numbers as large as possible, in order to show that we are together in this. That we won’t stand for a government that promotes greed and oppression. A government that supports an idiot for a leader.
750,000+ people is the official count for Los Angeles.
All kinds of people were there and it was peaceful. Yes, of course, it was peaceful because the police weren’t aggressive because this was organized by white women. We have to acknowledge the police bias against Black Lives Matter and protests that centers around people of darker skin color.
But still, I am happy it turned more into a celebration of what we stood for. Equality. Love. Tolerance. It is all worth fighting for.
Trump’s supporters might ridicule us. Try to belittle us and write us off as people who don’t contribute to society—”snowflakes” seem to be the favorite word at the moment (even though I find it’s them who need safe spaces from the scawy feminists…). Now it will be laughable to watch them deny us and claim that millions of people just “need to get a job” and get off the streets. We are what makes this country run. We are not the people who voted for Trump who believe he will save them and give them hand outs. We have saved ourselves and we created our own destiny, our own future and earned our lives through hard work.
We are not delicate. We are strong. We outnumber. We survive.
It says something when there are so many more protesting than who attended Trump’s inauguration, right?
I am proud.
We will fight for all of us. Even the ones who are against us.
Except Nazis. Fuck those guys.
This year, I got to have Martin Luther King Jr. Day off from work and I had the brilliant idea to go to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art—LACMA for short. I did not realize that it was all Free Museum Day. Parking was miserable as all the museum lots were full by the time we got there. I really did almost just give up and just turned around to go home. Why must parking in cities be so ridiculous? Eventually, we decided to bite the bullet and park at the Peterson Automotive Museum across the street and headed into a semi-crowded day looking at art.
Luckily, we had an annual membership and didn’t have to stand in the long line that day plus we got our free event tickets to the Pablo Picasso and Diego Rivera exhibition. My inner art history nerd was happy. It was incredible seeing his famous paintings in person.
The exhibition wasn’t crowded, thankfully and I got to enjoy staring at each piece. My favorite were sketches from Picasso. I know he gets a bad rap from a lot of people because: cubism, wtf? But I am a fan.
The exhibit consisted of three rooms with a mixture of work from both artists. They showcased a variety of their work which was really cool to see in person.
We explored a few of the other rooms in the museum and I tried to get as inspired as I possibly could. I’m going through a major life changing moment right now and I will ned to refill my creative well. It’s super scary but so is running out of time and basing all my decisions on fear.
I’ll get super deep later, but back to the museum!
It wasn’t so bad despite the busy crowd. A lot of the rooms were pretty empty because most people were enjoying the sunny day outside.
We did find the Ed Fella room, which I loved. I kind of wished I was a graphic designer when it was all still done by hand!
The Picasso and Rivera exhibition runs through until May 7, 2017.
I guess most of us can probably claim a co-dependent relationship with coffee. In my 20s, I tried to consume coffee at a minimum—because you know, caffeine is a crazy thing to put in your body on a regular basis. Now that I’m in my 30s, I feel I have no choice but to pump my withering body with coffee. Thankfully, I’ve weaned myself out of the “sweet stuff”… don’t get me wrong, I still love a good Salted Caramel Mocha (SCM!) from Starbucks when the season calls for it (better than PSL, trust me). Lately, I’ve learned to prefer just a good brew with maybe some syrup and cream.
My neighborhood has great coffee shops but the newest kid on the block, Steelhead Coffee, is becoming the new winner for me. I’ve gone back three times and I already have a staple drink: Drip coffee, lavender syrup with room for cream.
Their coffee flavor is so good! It taste like a morning treat without feeling like I just drank a cake in liquid form. The coffee is brewed perfectly. Doesn’t taste too bitter and definitely never “burnt.” Each drop made with great love and care. They have all these fancy coffee machines to make coffee with. I’m wondering if they’ll find it creepy if I just show up and watch them make coffee for maybe an hour? Is that way too hipster-y of me? Millennial-y?
They also sell a good selection of baked goods which I haven’t tried yet, but I’m sure my moment of weakness will come. I can’t pass up a good chocolate croissant after all.
What’s even better is that they are part of Steelcraft, a new communal dining space in Long Beach created with shipment containers. There will be ramen, waffles, shaved ice, craft beer, etc. I’m pretty excited to hang out there soon. I like eating.
If you’re in the neighborhood, definitely check them out!
(Above photo borrowed from business’s Twitter account)
I’ve always had (and loved) online nicknames.
In the mid-90s, when I was young and spry and well into my tweens, we were strongly advised to never give out real information on the Internet. Don’t give people your full name. Don’t tell them where you’re from. Etc. Despite the cultural chat phenomena of “A/S/L” (that stands for age/sex/location to which you were supposed to promptly respond with your age, sex and location)— most remained anonymous.
Thus, Internet nicknames became a thing. As I discovered my first fandom (a cartoon series called Road Rovers), I created a persona under the nickname, Dawn.
Dawn was fun and outgoing. She wrote fanart and fanfiction. She participated in late-night IRC chats. Eventually, she discovered anime conventions.
Dawn became a cosplayer.
Wasn’t she adorable?! (see pic above)
The name stuck so much that for years, people IRL only knew me as Dawn.
As I grew older and less of an adorable cosplayer, I had to drop the ruse. It took awhile but people eventually learned my real name and I got used to this current world of Facebook and social media… no longer are we hiding behind our screens. ALL forbidden information is out there, beyond A/S/L!
I still wanted a nickname though and that’s when I adopted the Space Pirate Queen for Defective Geeks.
Now here we are. A new blog for my own personal creative interests.
I hope you enjoy!
I am the Space Pirate Queen.
My name is Dianne and this is my personal blog.
I live in Southern California. I am a huge geek and I love The X-Files. I produce a podcast over at DefectiveGeeks.com. I love to travel. I also love food (typical blogger, right?). I go to comic conventions. I’m obsessed with animals, especially the ones that live with me (one dog, three cats!). I am an artist by day and if you want to work with me, check out my portfolio!
Got questions? Need help starting your own blog? I can help you! Send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.