You know it’s dead week when…


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  • You’re at the library, and a guy storms out the door muttering about “coffee, the fundamental evil of life”.
  • You skip one class to go study for another class, in which you fell behind because you were working on a project for yet another class.
  • Sleep is a luxury you really can’t afford. #PoorerThanACollegeStudent (which is just pathetic…)
  • You wait outside Starbucks for them to open at 5am, because you really need to finish your essay (– because, of course, you can’t write an essay without sufficient caffeine and sugar in your system.)
  • You set your alarm for a 30-minute nap… and wake up 3 hours later.
  • You forget it’s your birthday because your life is one long pattern of sleep-study-work-eat-study-sleep-study-work-study.

Looking Forward to 20

In which Shma enjoys an odd brunch under too many cozy blankets.

Since I got up a little earlier this morning than I usually do on a Sunday morning (the one day of the week I don’t have work or class), I decided to try a clever new recipe: The Baked AvoEgg! Not to brag (okay, maybe a bit), but I’m proud to say my attempt turned out a lot better than most people’s on the recipe page.


It’s a very simple recipe, took only 8 minutes for the oven to preheat and 15 minutes to bake. Next time I try this, I’ll probably reduce the baking time to 10 minutes, since the egg came out a bit stiff and dry. Another tip (from my roommate) is to dribble some olive oil over the raw egg to help the top cook faster.

The taste was a bit…different, but with some white wine dijon mustard, I had a lovely Sunday brunch, with a pile of blankets on my lap.

2014-03-01 23.06.58

I don’t know how this happened, but over the last couple of days I’ve managed to acquire 4 blankets. They’re all very cozy, so I can’t bear to give any one up, and luckily they all look different, so I can’t complain that I have too many. Every one has sentimental value, so I guess no matter which one I use, I’ll be buried under memories and virtual hugs.

P.S. I can’t believe I’m turning my second decade. Aaah!

We Need a ‘Frozen 2′ That’s All About Elsa’s “Good Girl” Crisis

Sarah Xixi:

There is something so right about everything that’s said in this blog. So, admirably, right.

Originally posted on Flavorwire:

Disney’s Frozen , which is as of this writing at the top of the box office, didn’t strike me as a particularly great movie when I saw it. Frozen  was competent and in places adorable, and the little girl who sat next to me at the screening I attended quite liked it. And I thought: well, I passed a pleasant evening, I have no real objections, but I’m sure this won’t have any lingering effect. I left the theater secure in the belief that  The Little Mermaid , Beauty and the Beast , and The Lion King , which were the ones released when I was in the just-old-enough-to-get-the-adult-jokes demographic, would remain undisturbed at the top of my Disney list.

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It’s official!

I’ve declared my formal options in the business school – I’m still majoring in Business Administration, but now with focuses in Operations & Supply Chain Management and Information Systems.

“If you make yourself a cup of tea and attempt to get an object working and the tea goes cold before you finish, you are dealing with technology.”

– Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

To get a head start on my first computer programming class next quarter, I’ve been teaching myself binary and C. Let it be known that I spent 5 hours this weekend trying to install Visual Studio. But I will not let this define my future!

Hurdles, or The One Time I Lost

I tried to write a post about everything that’s happened to me in the last two quarters of college. There are so many posts that I’ve started but I just don’t know how to finish. So I tried to write a post that pulls it all together, but this story kept interrupting. I need this to be written and out of my head.

Due warning: this story doesn’t have a happy ending. Is there a silver lining? Maybe I can find one for the next post.

Little known fact about me: I ran the 100m and 300m hurdles in high school. Tripping on one of those things scares a lot of people away from the hurdles. Choosing that sport was less about the running or the competition. wholly inspired by flight. Nothing felt cooler than being in my track cleats sprinting at a metal bar that rose above my should and leaping clean over.

But the reality remains that I’m very, very short. A good height for hurdlers is around 6′; I am a whopping 5’3. Have you ever stood next to one of those short-distance hurdles? They are tall! Even when we warmed-up using the low hurdles, I was the only one clambering over while everyone else merely stepped over the blasted things.

It’s greatly disheartening to know you must work twice as hard as everyone else in order to only be half as good. As such, my track and field career was fun, but short-lived. The athletes out there are sneering at me, but I wasn’t helping anyone by being last in practice everyday.

I never stumbled on a hurdle, and in all my practice videos I have great discipline and form. But I don’t think anyone on that team ever looked at me twice. Maybe three people knew my name. Even so, I kept going to practice. I kept running that warm up lap and coming in last. And I never finished a winner, yet I also didn’t lose.

*sigh* As the title says, this is a story about when I lost.

In the end it wasn’t my height or my physical inability that mattered. In the penultimate race of the season, I was against three other girls in the 300m. 100m in and I fell behind, as usual, when the girl just in front of me tripped on a bar and crashed to a halt. I was hopping over the bar next to hers when she got back up. For the last leg of the race, she and I were neck-to-neck and it was the first time my teammates had ever said my name – let alone hollered it from the stands.

That should’ve been my moment. I should’ve gone for the finish with all my strength. But I didn’t. I thought, there was no way I could ever beat this girl. I thought no matter how hard I try – it won’t make a difference.

I may never have stumbled on a hurdle before, but that race I stumbled inside. And the worst part is that I could feel it spreading from my heart to my legs. And I lost.

Look what came in the mail!

I ordered these off Amazon UK sometime ago, back when the boxset was first announced on Facebook.

2013.11.07 Merlin DVDs

The original price was around £55, but the price has dropped to £25, thankfully. (Gods, that currency conversion rate…)

As soon as I’d got them in my hands – there was a brief tussle with a mailbox that didn’t realize it wasn’t big enough for 5 packaged DVDs – I stuck them in my laptop to test.

Did I mention I ordered these of Amazon UK? As in, UK not USA, where I live and to which region my laptop DVD player is set to work, and so it refuses to accept non-US regional DVDs?

Luckily, I have a software called VideoLAN which plays media of all file types and of all region encodings. It’s completely free for the full version, and totally cross-functional. Not only does it enable you to play region-specific disks, it also reads soft subtitles, and plays Adobe flash videos as well.

You can download VideoLAN here:

Homecoming and Going: a reflective fall afternoon


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Strains of Seattle’s latest indie soul band rep filters over from Red Square, amplified in the chilling air. Hundreds of yards away where I sit solitary and undisturbed on the Kane Hall back patio, the music resonates cleanly and clearly.

There’s a typical Puget Sound after-rain damp coating the ground, and a cocktail napkin had to be sacrificed before I sit down. Atypically, instead of the usual grey accompanying overcast skies, the leaves littering the table are a vibrant, fiery shade of fall. Compostable plastic food wrap in place, l lay out my spread: hot dog with relish, iced coffee, and a chocolate cupcake. Cost of lunch: $1.

As l dig into my already not-hot dog, scores of college students rush past to get the free food and spirit swag celebrating the University of Washington’s 152nd birthday. The autumn breeze tricklIng down my back makes me shiver, lifting my gaze to the golden boughs above.

Seattle is beautiful. I feel the thought all the way down to my bones, and I know no matter where l travel in the world, this place really is my home. This strange patchwork corner by the ocean, where l am free to sit alone with a book amidst a crowd, l really love it. And though l want to see the world, l would very much miss Fremont’s whimsy, Queen Anne’s hauteur, Sodo’s bustle, Shoreline’s calm, and Mukilteo’s recluse. I would miss unconventional conversations with strangers who all are artists in each their own ways.

I’m applying to study abroad in China for the following autumn, and the feeling of leaving home is a melancholy I’m eager to know. There’s an unbelievable pile of planning and paperwork for the application process, so I’ll post again when I can.

Morning Nuances on a Pagan Holiday


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Bright and early on Halloween morning, as my roommate and I walked down to the bus, we passed the apartment custodian. Upon seeing us, she with crinkly hair (it’s a sailor thing) and I with striped tights and a Wonderland-inspired red blouse, he positively goggled at us in horror.

10-30-2013 pumpkin 1

What’s wrong with a little holiday spirit? The boy on the bus next to me is wearing the usual sloppy student fare: hooded jacket, sweatpants, slippers… Okay, I won’t blame someone for having dreadful fashion sense, but this is Halloween!!

10-30-2013 pumpkin 2

Who doesn’t celebrate Halloween? It’s even becoming a thing in certain parts of China. Sure, its origins are foreign to the US (like all things over here), but that’s no excuse not to participate. Me? I like the excuse to play “This is Halloween” on repeat while scarfing down candy and pumpkin pie.

Seriously, I’ve hardly seen a handful of people dressed up. If I were still in middle school, all the angst about being the only one in costume would have murdered me by now. But in college, apparently I’m just surrounded by boring people. (Maybe they’ve just got work or something… Nah.)

Ah well, it’s still early morning. Still time for Mr. Hoodie-and-Sweats to go home and change into his Pikachu jumpsuit.

How are you showing your halloween spirit?

Photo credit: My brother, 2013.

Story Collages!


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Over at Bookish Types I do a little thing called LitDuets, in which I pair books with movies, music, other books, or anything really that strikes me as drawn from the same well. The effect is something of a scrapbook story collage.

Basically, it’s my booknerdy version of Polyvore fashion sets.

Speaking of which… iriswill on

I had far too much fun making story collages for The Death of Bees. If we are to be brutally honest, that time should have gone to studying for an accounting exam, but I really, really like pretty things.


So yep, you’ll be seeing some posted in the near future.

Update: That accounting midterm? We got the tests back today, and I scored in the 90th percentile. Am I pleased with my very passing score in a subject I thought I was rotten at? C:


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