Oct 25, 2009  •  In Web

Friday Night Links

It is pouring in New York today. The all-day, unrelenting, cats-and-dogs-replaced-by-rhinos-and-hippos kind of rain. I had made plans to go out, but exhaustion from working all day at my mother’s store combined with the thought of myself stumbling around drunk in this weather has led to flake out and keep myself warm, dry, and sober at home.

Warm, dry, and sober with my Google Reader, that is.

So if you’re also home this Saturday night and looking for a distraction, this post is for you!

 

Livebrush Makes Design Creation Simple

Livebrush is a FREE, easy-to-use Adobe Air app that lets you create your own designs, styles, and decorations without the need to purchase expensive vector-based illustration software.

Personally, the best feature seems to be the brush tool which responds to the speed of your mouse movements. I can’t wait to start trying this out!

 

25 Premium Like Though Free Blogger Templates

I know that the majority of my blogger friends use Blogger. Here are some eye-popping themes that are coated by the best flavor there is — FREE — brought to you by a great and trusty resource!

 

And Now It’s Time for a NSFW Field Trip to Love Land

I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that South Korea, one of the most outwardly sexually-conservative countries in the world (I guess the key word here is outwardly) has a sex-themed park.

Let’s let that sink in for a moment before clicking through to the gallery. Here’s a sample for your viewing pleasure.

The best part has to be all the ajummas (a term used to describe an adult Korean female of married age) included in these snapshots.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the very last picture in the gallery. It’ll make your day (especially if you’re Korean).

 

Michelle Obama on Jay Leno Show (10/23/2009)

I heart Michelle Obama. That is all.

 

Oct 24, 2009  •  In Books, Christianity, Web

Devotional Christian Books Giveaway

One of my new favorite spiritual blogs, Devotional Christian, is giving away 22 Christian books!

Go check out the promotion page for the full list of books.

To enter for a chance to win, write a blog post, tweet, or post a note to your church’s website about Devotional Christian. Then fill out this form, and that’s it! A winner will be chosen via random.org on November 8th.

Good luck to everyone who enters!

Oct 23, 2009  •  In Gadgets, Photography

My First DSLR

Earlier this week I decided that things just could not get worse. Yes, there are a lot of horrible things happening in my life in addition to the drama that has been shadowing me for the past few months. And no, I am not exaggerating.

But as they say, the only way to go from here is up. I won’t go into details other than that things are finally starting to get better.

After getting our mortgage, hospital bills, and other financial responsibilities situated, I pulled in some extra work and decided to treat myself to some retail therapy.

I had wanted a DSLR for quite some time now and had my sights set on the Nikon D90 since it was first announced last year. However, when Canon released the latest addition to its popular EOS Rebel line, I decided to reconsider.

Each camera has its pros and cons (you can read extensive reviews on both at Digital Photography Review) and neither seemed to be glaringly better than the other. In the end, it came down to personal preference…and once I tested each camera in person, I found myself leaning towards the Canon.

Announcing my new baby: the Canon EOS 500D / Digital Rebel T1i!

I haven’t been able to play with it yet because the battery is still charging! (Isn’t that the most annoying part of every battery-operated technology purchase?) But I’m undoubtedly über-excited, and can’t wait to get started!

I have some photography experience from a class I took eons ago. Fortunately, J grew up with advanced SLRs (courtesy of his father) and has volunteered to answer any questions I may have.

We decided not to purchase any accessories yet (save for a memory card) so that we can do additional research and look up the best prices online first. At the moment, these two accessories look like great starting-off companions to the camera:

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens
Canon Speedlite 270EX Flash

Now, I have a question for you, my readers:

What accessories you would recommend to a first-time DSLR owner?

Oct 23, 2009  •  In Art/Design, NYC

How a 3-Year-Old Views the NYC Subway

Graphic designer and illustrator Erin Jang created this wonderful poster for her nephew’s third birthday.

How adorably fun!

I have to say that I’m very impressed with the boy’s extensive list of meaningful subway stops. My custom map would be about the same size, and would include the following stops (from north to south):

175th St – George Washington Bridge (for when I need to meet my parents in Fort Lee)
96th St – Central Park West (who doesn’t love Central Park?)
 86th St (The Metropolitan Museum of Art & The Guggenheim Museum)
Columbus Circle (there are always things to do in Columbus Circle)
Fifth Ave – 53rd St (The MoMA)
42nd St – Times Square (Port Authority & Times Square)
34th St – Penn Station (my old company & the home of my beloved Knicks: Madison Square Garden)
34th St – Herald Square (K-Town)
14th St (J’s old company & my favorite places in Chelsea)
14th St – Union Square (Union Square)
Astor Pl (St. Marks Place)
Canal St (Chinatown)
Bay Ridge Ave (my babysitting charge lives here)

How about you? Which stops would your custom map include?

Oct 23, 2009  •  In Korean, Personal, Relationships

Sacrificing for Family

Last week, I was helping my mother go through some business documents at her store when her friend dropped by to visit.

“And what is your daughter doing here?”

“She’s helping me sort through these documents, make phone calls, write letters, and fill out forms.”

“What a great daughter!”

“Oh it’s nothing. She’s been doing this for us ever since she was in 2nd grade!”

What my mother said is true. When we first immigrated to the U.S., my parents painstakingly studied books, listened to cassette tapes, and even took night classes to learn English. But how could they properly learn while working 80 hours a week in an attempt to set up a new life in a new country (to which they had arrived with literally no money in their possession)…all while raising two young children?

My sister and I picked up our second language without much difficulty, and I, as the older daughter, quickly assumed the role of the translator.

I resented this while growing up, and I am ashamed to say that I still resent it at times. Not only was I required to decipher every letter that arrived at our address, I had to make phone calls, write letters, and intercede on my parents’ behalf. I have done this since elementary school.

Can you imagine being the only kid whose parents never attended parent-teacher conferences, and having to explain to your teachers that your parents can not visit because they do not speak English? (And no, I was not allowed to attend and translate on behalf of my parents.)

How about getting in heated debates with government agencies at the age of 8?

Even something as trivial as going out for dinner had the potential to become an embarrassing experience, because you just knew that your father (who always insisted on placing the order) will screw it up somehow…

The story is typical of many immigrant families. I know that I am not alone, and I am sure I had it a lot better than others.

However, I can’t deny that these circumstances force a child grow up a lot faster.

There were so many times during the course of my childhood where I could not let go and just have fun. Be a CHILD. How could I, when I had to write that letter to the New York State Department of Labor, call the phone company to ask why we had been charged an extra $30 this month, and translate for my parents a permission slip that the school had sent home with me earlier that day?

Even now, I hate the fact that my parents continue to call on me when I have my own “adult” problems to deal with.

Listening to my mother have the above conversation with her friend, my mind flashed back to bitter memories. To being forced to solve problems that should’ve rested on my parents’ shoulders. To losing time, to becoming so careworn at such a young age.

To being called in to do even more work just days after the most painful loss of my life.

“Oh it’s nothing. She’s been doing this for us ever since she was in 2nd grade!” my mother proudly exclaimed.

Nothing? NOTHING? How can you say that it’s NOTHING when —

It was then that I heard the underlying tone of my mother’s voice.

This hurts her more than it has hurt, or will ever hurt me.

*

Are you the children of immigrants? If so, did you have similar experiences?