Friday, December 24, 2004

Straightening things out...the Japanese Way...

I forced myself out of bed early Tuesday morning, even though I was exhausted from the previous day of driving...I managed to get out of bed early because I had an 11:30 appointment to have my hair straightened, the Japanese way...I was very nervous, not because of the straightening process in which I was going to undergo if the consultation goes well, but it was the fact that I had to find my way to this a hair salon which I have never been, located on Sawtelle blvd in Santa Monica, also a road name which sounded very unfamiliar to me...I felt sorry for not going back to Riqco, my hairdresser, this year, but I had no choice as their Salon didn't have anybody that was qualified to do the hair straighteing process...and not many places in LA provided this kind of service either...so I had no choice this time...

After I woke up, I ventured into the kitchen and made myself a big cup of coffee, then proceeded to the bar area to go online to mapquest.com, to find the directions to Taka Hair Salon...and looking at a printout of the directions, it seemed to me that it was not going to be too difficult to get there...and so I was relieved... the diretions turned out to be precise and easy to follow, as I found the Hair Salon and parked my car, in their rear parking lot...

When I walked into the salon, the receptionist confirmed my name and sat me down at a waiting area to fill out a questionaire with the usual questions like address, name ,birthday, phone number , and wherther or not I had undergone this straightening process before and whether I am pregnant blah blah blah...then after Miravella, looked through the form, she sat me down in the chair, and a Japanese woman came out to examine my hair condition, she told me that it would not be possible to do this if my hair was in very bad condition, but upon close examination, she determined that my hair was very coarse, but the hair condition was not so bad and therefore doable...once again I was relieved knowing that I would be able to have everything done by the same day...

Before Miravella, began the process, she took a before picture of my hair with a polaroid camera...Miravella would be the person doing my hair straightening for most of the day, with some help from the others, as this was a very long and grueling process, where they can't miss a single strand of hair...seeing that I was bored while having my hair done, the receptionist brought me some fashion magazines, then brought me some coffee...and then at lunchtime, Miravella orderd me a grilled chicken sandwich, which by the way, was absolutely delicious...

I think that day I was the only customer who spent the longest time there, as I saw customers, most of which were Japanese, come and go to get their hair done...by dinner time, they asked me whether I wanted some food...but this time I declined because I was too exhausted to eat, and only hoped to get this whole thing done and over with...after eight hours...everything was done and my hair was perfectly straight...and my coarse hair never felt so shiny, so silky and soo smooth...Miravella said that I was blessed with a lot of hair...and I thought to myself, oh yes, I was born with a lot of hair too!...and maybe that's why it took so long to have my body of hair straightened...As I got up to stretch my legs, Miravella took an after picture of my new hair...and recommended to me a bunch of products to maintain the hair...I was a bit disappointed as I thought it was maintenance free...but at least it does not require hair brushing, and when I wake up in the morning my hair would be perfectly straight...when I step out of the shower, my har would still remain perfectly straight and orderly...and to me that was good enough compared to my old tangled hair...

After I paid...the receptionist showed me the before and after pictures, and that made me realize that I had been living with very bad hair for te past 24 years o my life, yikes...my old hair was just a complete mess...but at least this whole eight hour process achieved what I was looking for...very orderly hair...so I thought if I am going to pull all-nighters in studio or at home for my desgin projects...at least I can show up to final presentation with good hair, from now on...I think I must be really slow or something, I mean most asians get their hair straightened and enhjoy the benefits of it...and I only get it now...I must be really slow in the trend of personal grooming...

So this appointment that I had made, in the spur of the moment while waiting for my flight at Newark Airport, was definitely worth it...and I was glad that everything that was messy about my hair, got straightened out, once and for all...if only life could be straightened out this easily, then everything would be perfect, straightforward and crystal clear...but life as it is will always be more complicated than that...and will never be a straightforward one either...but for now...it's good to be in LA, with one less problem in my life...my complicated years of bad hair, finally straightened out...and problem, finally solved...

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom...

The first Monday of my week in LA, was a busy one...I guess I finally got my wish and it turned out the way I had envisioned in my previous blog...I got my wish to drive down 110 south at 80mph in the middle of the night and made good use of that v8 Cayenne S engine...in fact I did more drivng than I had wished for in one day, which left me exhausted...
Early in the morning Mom and I drove to Pasadena, to drop off Ana-jo at the groomer's for a haircut and bath...then I quickly drove mom back to Downtown LA before I headed back to Pasadena to pick up Jimmy, who is visiting his brother before he goes back to Taiwan...and today, I had promised to pick him up and show him around...but much to my annoyance I got lost as I tried to find his place on Roosevelt ave in Pasadena, but I found my way, enventually...We then headed to Ding Tai Fung for lunch and then I proceeded to pick up Ana-jo from the groomer's and bring the beautifully groomed Ana-jo back to mom in downtown...since we were in downtown, we dropped by the new Morphosis building, as Jimmy was dying to take some pictures of the much talked about project by the famous architect...finally I drove him back to arcadia to his brother who was waiting for him in a nearby cafe, before I zoomed off to Irvine to meet my friends for dinner...
On my way to Irvine to meet up with Jeff at South Coast Plaza, I was stuck in trffic, and exhausted, I almost dozed off, until I almost drove into another car, which gave me a shock and woke me up for good...to stay awake I decided to blast the music in the car...after an hour I arrive at South Coast to meet Jeff...and we met up outside Gucci...
While we were walking around, I suddenly felt that New York had changed me, somehow, shopping in South Coast just doesn't excite me anymore...and standing amidst a multitude of brandname stores didn't give me the urge to shop at all, in fact I found myself not knowing which shops to browse...it was a strange feeling and I began wondering whether there was something wrong with me...had I truely gotten sick of shopping altogether?...it is actually possible for Lilly Dee to get tired of shopping and buying?...and I didn't even feel like digging into my closet for my LV Murakami bling bling bag, when I went out...something is going on and I am slowly changing...somehow the bling bling doesn't appeal to me anymore...and I began wondering whether I was going into another phase, away from my bling bling phase...
Later on Philip left work to join us at Saks Fifth Avenue and by the time we were browsing the Sony store, Joyce and Juno met up with us...
That night, the five of us headed to Quattro cafe, or what used to be the Armani cafe for some italian cuisine...and for appetizer, we shared a huge place of fried calamari, just for old times sake...dinner conversation revolved mainly around their work experiences as they all have jobs, whereas I was the odd one out again...still living a student life...hehe...
After dinner, I followed Philip'ss car over to Joyce and and Juno's new apartment in Irvine...I followed too closed that I almost hit his car...good thing my car comes with really sharp breaks...When we arrived at their apartment, we were greeted by Joyce and Juno's new puppy...and the apartment was nice and cozy...
Philip and I left when we both realized that it was getting really late..and rushed back to our cars to go home...
And that night at 12:00 pm in the middle of the night, I drove down the desolate 405 and 110 South, at 80mph, with music blasting in my ears...and I must say, I had a great time...I guess the simple pleasure of driving is better than shopping haha...but then again maybe it was the porsche that made it all that enjoyable...yes so I haven't changed all that much, still very into that bling bling car of mine...it's good to be drinving in LA...Zoom, zoom, zoom, just like that mazda commercial...

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Leaving with...Excess Baggage...

Just when I thought that I was definitely ready to take a break from New York city, I suddenly felt saddened to leave, after an evening out with friends, friday night, before I leave for LA. And so maybe I was wrong, part of me didn't get tired of the city, and part of me still thought that it was good to be in NY.
Friday morning after an all-nighter of writing my final paper for Delanda's class, I headed to school after a three hour nap, to drop-off the paper...and that evening, Alice, James, Nick, John and I headed to Koreatown for dinner...and for me it was meaningful because I knew that my friends cared enough to thake the time to join me for dinner the night before I leave for Los Angeles...And the tea bath set that Alice bought me as an advance christmas present was beautiful and thoughtful...even John, who disappeared for most of the semester made the determination to show up for dinner before we all go our seperate way for the holidays...
Conversation over dinner was lighthearted and funny, a nice break from any depressing subject matter...we all knew that this was not the time to talk about our prsonal issues, as we would, over coffee at Starbucks...and so nothing serious with laughter and jokes...dinner at Wonjo, was followed by dessert and coffee over at Cafe Muse...and more carefree and lighthearted conversation ensued...we all joked that if ever I have a design office called Lilly Dee, James would help run my New York branch, John would run my LA branch, because he has the bling bling attitude that is suitable for the west coast, while James is more preppy chic, definitely more east cost...and strangely enough, a few days ago while chatting with Eric and Jimmy, they offered to run my Taiwan branch, haha...but I hardly think that will be the case...because I believe that all of them will be succesful architects one day with their own firms, afterall, they all seem to have that passion for architecture which I have lost and still cannot recover...but in some way, they have all inspired me to find that passion again and to realize that I am in architecture because I was once really passionate about it too, just like them...
That night as I got home, packing just seemed to take forever, and I realized that part of me didn't want to go back to LA...so while packing I found myself taking time to go back to the computer and login online to chat with friends...
That night Eric sent me a link to his online photo album where he uploaded the photos he took at MoMA...as I was browsing through the pgotographs, I had to admit to myself that they were beautiful and the framing was thoughfully composed...and that fuelled my curiosity to look through other photos which he had taken in the past...and there was one that left a deep impression...it was a close-up of a fall leaf siting on top of a hedge, on the bottom left corner, set against a blurry yet visible background of the Grand staircase leading to the main school library...and I was rather impressed...but the truth was, that I left the website with mixed feelings...
Oh the one hand there was admiration for Eric's series of succesful design projects and photography skills, and on the other, there was that slight feeling of envy... and for someone who is rarely envious of others...it was quite difficult to come to terms with the fact that I would be envious of another person's work and devotion seen through the work itself...I have always taken pride of my ability to find that certain balance that always keeps me in check so that I won't venture too far off in reality and gloat over my on work, thinking that I am good enough and leaving no room for improvement...I have always kept that cool distance from my design work, so that when the final product turns out well, I could be satisfied and if not, I will not be hurt either...however, I am beginning to wonder, lately, if keeping that balance is the right thing to do...and maybe that fear of failure has led me to keep that cool distance from my own work...and in the process, I have unconsciously driven out that 100% devotion that has led me to architecture six years ago...
And so that night, I was deeply troubled by this, contemplating whether I am heading down the right path by creating a safety net for myself...and maybe it's time to be both passionate and critical of one's on work, instead of developing a cold attitude towards my own design work... afterall, how much more time do I get to be a student...one more semester...and why not be daring once again and pour myself entirely over design? instead of hiding in that safety zone...I still don't know the answer, but I thought to myself that night, for the rest of the holiday, I will be thinking about this...and just when I thought that I could take a break from my uncontrallabe mind and issues, I find myself immersing myself into it all over again...and there will be no peace of mind, which I had hoped for...and I wonder if I will truely be taking a break from New York City when I will most likely be carrying those thoughts with me over to LA...will I be able to fully enjoy the the good life awaiting me in LA and Taiwan...I wonder...maybe it's time to be more critical of oneself in a diffrent way...I don't know...I really don't know...