9 awkward moments with that office eye candy

1. Weird eye contact

When he walks past your table and you’re secretly like

 photo sungmincheekysmile_zps6e68b5cb.gif

But then he suddenly looks your way and you’re like

 photo siwonsurprised_zpse19485ee.gif

Wait … is that a smile? Should I smile back?

 photo zooeydeschanelcreepysmile_zpsdb877c16.gif

Too late.

 photo dammitdammitdammit_zpsbe5c15f8.gif

2. The water cooler walk

Is he heading for the water cooler now? Damn, I’m thirsty too.

 photo kyusprayinwater_zps337c6045.gif

3. Facebook stalking

Nothing?! Why is he so mysterious?

 photo zooeydeschanelintrigued_zpsdafb33fa.gif

4. Lunch break

He’s lunching at his table alone again! Should you ask him out for lunch?

 photo amandaseyfriendmeangirls_zpscce10df2.gif

… Yeah, just a thought.

 photo krystalareyoucrazy_zps4380c150.gif

 photo thatscrazy_zpscb6c54f0.gif

5. At the cafeteria

Oh, shit. He’s there getting lunch. Turn back or say hi?

 photo ronweasleyfailwave_zps3233fcc4.gif

6. When you’re lunching in

Do I have food down my shirt? Oh crap, please don’t let him turn around when I’m wolfing down this chicken.

 photo ronweasleyeating_zpsaa1869d1.gif

7. At office parties

Some cake for you? Not you. You.

 photo donghaeyouyesyou_zpsa7c2d036.gif

8. Lift encounters

You’re in the same lift as him! Enclosed space! BUT. He’s with a friend and they’re talking about some trip he just came back from. Should you join in or hope for this unending lift ride to end?

9. Klutz alert!

When you think you’re all

 photo samwinchesterfabulous_zps9f2490fc.gif

That’s the moment you end up like this

 photo clumsypenguin_zps9feb82b3.gif

And he TOTALLY SAW.

 photo jlawsarcasticokay_zps7523e06c.gif

Crushes are much more effort than they’re worth sometimes.

Murakami wisdom, Tinder shenanigans and book talk

1. How girls talk:

That conversation came about after my girlfriends and I piddled around the Tinder app and were trying to figure out what a guy might mean when he doesn’t respond to an emoticon. And people say GIRLS are hard to figure out.

 photo siwonwhuuut_zps61e7d8aa.gif

Our responses to the faces we see on Tinder range from this:

 photo emmastonemehh_zpsf4c8b6ca.gif

To this:

 photo jacksparrowgrossedout_zps2071eb23.gif

(All the dudes baring their pot bellies or flexing their gargantuan muscles in minimal clothing, you know who you are!)

Occasionally, we’re like this:

 photo zooeycuteguyalert_zpsb7c2e172.gif

 photo jlawflirtywink_zps50cd69c0.gif

(There ARE some cute, non-creepy ones on the app, after all! Faith in humanity restored.)

But more often it’s this:

 photo jeremyrennerthatsweird_zps2125ad97.gif

(Why would you put a shot of yourself sitting on the edge of your bed in your boxers eating half a watermelon as your profile picture???)

By the way, can I just say that Tinder still has a lot of room for improvement? Not only are we unable to scroll back to the person we might have accidentally rejected, we are unable to go back and view the profile of someone we have approved until he approves back. Apparently not a fan of hindsight, this Tinder.

For now, though, while my friends have run out of guys to pick from, I’m still highly entertained by the different types of profile pictures (supposedly) single guys choose of themselves.

And because I think I’m permanently scarred by the sight of this one guy in a pair of green floral shorts hugging a huge block of cheese (another head-scratcher), THIS is very much welcome:

 photo donghaeprettyraisehead_zpseb1c5d64.gif

 photo donghaesmile5_zps773e07c1.gif

Ah. Much better now.

2. Anyway, speaking of wisdom, here are some snippets of wisdom – so profound, but never self-righteous or self-important – from “the Yoda of Japanese literature”, author Haruki Murakami:

“Life’s no piece of cake, mind you, but the recipe’s [your] own to fool with.” ~ Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (1985)

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” ~ Norwegian Wood (1987)

“For ‘a while’ is a phrase whose length can’t be measured. At least by the person who’s waiting.” ~ South of the Border, West of the Sun (1992)

“Even castles in the sky can do with a fresh coat of paint.” ~ South of the Border, West of the Sun (1992)

“A person’s destiny is something you look back at afterwards, not something to be known in advance.” ~ The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1997)

“Understanding is but the sum of misunderstandings.” ~ Sputnik Sweetheart (2001)

“In this world, there are things you can only do alone, and things you can only do with somebody else. It’s important to combine the two in just the right amount.” ~ After Dark (2004)

I read After Dark a few years ago, in my freshman year at university, and I remember being taken by sparse, beautiful and heart-breaking prose.

Murakami’s characters are always diverse and complex, even when the things they say and the conversations they have seem surface. Plus, there’s something tragically lonely about the characters and their voices, and uplifting about the way they found each other – which, I realise, can be applied to Norwegian Wood too. But while Norwegian Wood got a little draggy for me, I didn’t want After Dark to end.

Go read all 30 of them!

3. Romance writer Jennifer Crusie on how to create conflict in romance novels:

Conflict in general is pretty simple … The pursuit of these goals brings your protagonist and antagonist into direct conflict because neither can achieve his or her goal without blocking and thus defeating the other.

The romance plot has a protagonist and an antagonist (or vice versa) who are drawn together and who, during the course of their story, move through the physical and emotional stages of falling in love … Over the course of the story, they change as people so they can connect, learning to compromise and forming a bond at the end that will keep them together forever.

The hard part [is] taking the romance plot and giving it conflict. A good conflict has the protagonist destroying the antagonist completely (or vice versa). A good romance plot ends in compromise with both protagonist and antagonist safe, happy, and bonded. Trying to navigate the space in between causes most of the problems in romance writing.

Romance novels aren’t just the usual, fluffy boy-meets-girl, done-to-death stories that everyone thinks are so easy to churn out. (Well, there are some stories that go like that, but we try not to emulate them.)

Romance novels are, in essence, highly character-driven, and that’s what makes them so tricky to write. What makes this character different from another? Why choose to write his or her story? How do they grow as a result of each other? What do I want them to become at the end of the story?

My characters usually end up sitting around talking, so I try to toss in some action that is totally lame and pointless, and it all ends up looking contrived and my characters get really confused and annoyed with me.

 photo ronweasleywth_zps3ae93fa6.gif

 photo donghaerollseyes_zpsbd12465a.gif

Still, it’s just the first draft, Joyce. Just the first draft. You can rewrite and edit the shit out of it later.

4. And from a literary agent’s perspective, Carly Watters believes writers should compete with themselves and not with other writers:

It doesn’t make it easy when you know how many other writers there are out there trying to get published, too. But that information has to light a fire under you and make you want to revise and want to write the best book you can. Competition is about writing better than you did the day before, and the book before this. You are your own competition. Make that your mission.

Also, she offers candid insight on what publishing requires from a writer:

Publishing is where creative writing meets Hollywood: Does it have a hook? Can you sell it in a sentence? Are the characters memorable? Is their journey compelling? Does it start when we meet the characters at an interesting point in their lives? Getting published requires some stripping down of overwriting and self indulgence. Getting published is about making your writing accessible to mass readers.

For more advice, go here!

5. Due to the slew of less-than-glowing book reviews that have popped up, particularly on sites like Goodreads, some folks are starting to question: Do we really need negative book reviews?

Of course, the first reaction would be to say no, that it’s unnecessary and let’s just all talk about books we love and enjoy instead of directing attention to the “bad” ones.

But without criticism, how are we writers going to learn what works or what doesn’t? I’d much rather be told candidly why my book is mediocre than be assured that it is deserving of critical acclaim if it isn’t true, even if the criticism may be harder to stomach.

Of course, if the negative review is mean for the sake of being mean and getting some laughs at the expense of the author, then please fold some origami and shove it up your pie-hole because the world doesn’t need more bullies.

 photo snapehaterstotheleft_zps22c8a884.gif

6. I don’t want this post to end on that note, so here’s some happy:

The Infinite Gallery : Cornwall, England

Okay, okay. Off to do just that now! Happy mid-week, everyone! :0)

of gatherings, saggy middles and a crush on an author (and yes, pretty faces)

Monday! 

I like to start off the week catching up on blogs. Laini Taylor’s blog is always a mood-lifter: she writes about her travels to exotic places like Morocco and takes beautiful shots of France, and her daughter Clementine is soooooo adorable and happy, and her husband is as creative and fun-loving and sweet as her and they all seem like such Shiny Happy People.

Is it possible to be entirely in love with someone you’ve never met and only know through her writing? Because I am head over heels in love with Laini Taylor and her fabulous, creative, artistic, whimsical life and family.

How I see Laini and her family

And oh, just a little piece of news: SHE’S FINALLY COMPLETED DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS!!!!! 

 photo deanfangirling_zpsb5a19590.gif 

 photo yay_zpsd7a305ae.gif 

APRIL 2014, COME QUICK!!!!!! I need to devour that book now!!!!!!

 photo sheldonhyperventilating_zps60d1c0f1.gif 

Okay. I’m done spazzing.

 

*

 

Literary agent Victoria Marini has some timely advice for this writer struggling with her first draft, the one so raw you can hear it moo or caw or whatever sounds animals make when they’re alive and kicking and not ready to be served on a dish. (It’s also what I like to call Draft Zero – capitalisation for dramatic effect – so raw it’s not even entirely in prose form, just scattered prose and mostly dialogue and stage directions.)

 

“I suspect the main reason that people who wish to write, but fail to write, do so because they want write well. You must, first, be willing to write terribly.  If you want to write a book, your goal should be to write a book. Not a good book. Just a book. Worry about the “good” part later. Ms. (Annie) Lamott is a huge believer in “the shitty first draft.” She argues, rightly if you ask me, that a first draft is just for getting it out of your head an onto the paper. It’s sort of meant to be bad. Just get it out; word vomit! You don’t even need to show anyone (certainly don’t show your agent ;). It’s just getting the bones of your story on paper. Once you have that version done (and most people don’t get THAT far)  you can start to worry about being good.” 


I hate to say this, but it’s become increasingly undeniable that I AM STUCK for Neverland. Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. The pace is flagging, and I can’t think of a dramatic or emotionally-gratifying way to weave my characters and their dreams and fears and motivations together. Every idea I have just falls flat like the way tepid tea sits on your tongue. Completely disappointing.

Still, I shall take the above advice and plow through the crap. Hopefully, I’ll have made some headway the next time I blog.

 

*

 

So last weekend, I managed to extricate myself from my computer, on which I’ve been watching the old episodes of We Got Married, a Korean “reality TV” show  that brings celebrities together in a make-belief marriage and then chronicles their lives as they do couple-y things that make us sad single people even sadder. I’ve watched the Leeteuk (from Super Junior) and Kang Sora episodes, and now I’m watching the Nichkhun (from 2pm) and Victoria (from f(x)) ones.

Fine. You caught me. I only decided to watch this for the pretty faces. Whatever. Nichkhun is CUUUUTE.

Seriously, who can resist that face? Plus, he’s such a sweetheart to Victoria even when she’s being difficult. 

ANYWAY. That wasn’t my point. My point is that I went out and socialised! Broke out of my isolation! Stuck my head out of my hermit cave! (And other annoying cliches.) And I attended not just one class gathering, but two! So yes, break out the champagne.

There was no champagne at the class barbecue last Saturday at my primary school gathering, but booze was definitely aplenty. Plus, seafood. And chicken. (Oh god, that chicken. It could be the most divine thing I’ve ever tasted.) 

 photo ronweasleyeating_zpsaa1869d1.gif

 photo joeyimnotevensorry_zps63f2c575.gif

It’s funny, but I used to get so nervous about attending these class gatherings. After all, these are the people who have known you since you were a kid, and they are the ones who bear witness to the crazy stupid shit you did then. But we do crazy stupid shit now anyway, so I guess  craziness and stupidity isn’t something you leave behind once you cross a certain age threshold.

Here’s a fairly normal shot of us

 

Before we decided normal is over-rated.


Last Friday night rolled out in a similar fashion, despite the drizzle.

 


Socialising is like running – for me, at least. You have to drag yourself to gatherings/events and convince yourself it’ll be fun, but then it turns out to be really rewarding, just like you have to tow your ass to the track (although I don’t run anymore since swimming is my cardio drug of choice) but then you experience runner’s high and it becomes all worth the effort.  

Still, that’s enough human interaction for one week. I shall retreat into my cave now. Merry Christmas!

The 5 crazy things I did because of my crush

So I came across this post on Material World today, where the beauty/fashion/lifestyle website founder Deborah shared TEN (OMG, I applaud her bravery) of the crazy, silly things she did because of her crush.

So I thought I’d share five (just five – I might die of embarrassment if I reveal any more, though my friends can probably dole out a few more) of mine:

1. Creepy staring
Hear me out. The rational behind this is actually totally sane. It’s an attempt to brainwash the poor guy into thinking he likes me. Like, “Hmm, maybe if I stare long enough he’ll realise what a great catch I am and trip over himself in his hurry to ask me out. You’re in love with me. You’re in love with me. YOU ARE IN LOVE WITH ME, DAMMIT.”

 photo possum_zps48bd9293.gif

2. Finding common ground
“He likes fruit juice – I do too! He blinks every five seconds – I do too! He throws his head back when he laughs – that is SO me!”

 photo deanwinchesteromg_zps70ddefec.gif

So basically, everything we share in common is reason why we are SOULMATES and should totally get together already!

3. Time-table planning
Me to friend: “At 11:05:46 a.m., he will walk through that hallway. So we have to be there at 11:05:47 and look like we just happened to bump into him. Hurryyyy!” Upon which I would drag my friends to that exact spot in the hallway and act all breezy and go:

 photo katyperryawkwardwink_zps4c38f4eb.gif

And:

 photo ronweasleyfailwave_zps3233fcc4.gif

4. Sneaky glances
This is not to be confused with creepy staring. Sneaky glances are when he already knows of your existence and is experiencing that chill down the nape of his neck, so you have to be strategic in your looking. And make sure your friends don’t stare too!

 photo becool_zps9f6b14b8.gif

After you make off with a hard-won glimpse of him, you can share a subtle conspiratorial look with your friend.

Or maybe one that’s not so subtle:

5. Code names
From fruits to anatomical parts (we keep it clean, though), my friends and I give that guy a secret name that only makes sense to us. We DO NOT use his real name. Except in scribbled notes we pass among ourselves in class, and destroy entirely and thoroughly by the time the bell rings.

 photo shutup_zps75d00bed.gif

* (Bonus) 6. And of course, the requisite freakout session when he replies your text message or says hi to you in the cafeteria.

 photo freakout2_zps53806b04.gif

 photo freakout_zpsfe996763.gif

 photo freakout3_zpsb7c87889.gif

Wow. I realise a belated apology is due. To all my ex-crushes (though you may not know who you are because I’m sneaky that way), I’m sorry for the psychological trauma I must have put you through. You gave me sweet, sweet memories of my school life, although I’m the one who has to live with the embarrassment now.