I’m Back!

It’s been awhile since I’ve written. Wow, last time I wrote, I had just turned 40! Well, now I’m 42 and lots of things have changed. Most recently, I have done a mini-tour with my sketch comedy troupe, Granny Cart Gangstas, I have become really good friends with the owner of a great vegan Filipino restaurant in town, I’m finally happy at my job, my boss retired, I bought a new car (and sadly let go of my old one), and I recently met a man I really liked. However, it didn’t work out and while it was disappointing, it was not regretful. I’m glad I met him.

I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the type of life I want to live.  I really want to write a cookbook. I feel like I’ve gathered a lot of information on how to veganize foods that I should be able to start recording everything I’ve been making. I started an instagram page where I collect all my vegan finds, recipes and meals I eat. Through this page and some vegan friends, I’ve been able to meet a lot of other vegan in the area who have been imperative in my vegan journey.  My favorite thing about my journey and how smooth my skin is now. I love it! Never been better. I have the skin I’ve always wanted as an acne-prone young adult who unsuccessfully went through Accutane twice! Who knows what damage that’s done to my body. Luckily, I don’t plan on having children. Anyway, I’ve currently been offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do something I never thought I would ever do in my entire life. Just waiting to get approval from my boss. Will write more about this next time. It’s been 5 minutes with you!

Happy Birthday To Me!

I’ve hit 40! Wow. I’m incredibly thankful for the loving community I am surrounded by. Was surprised with cake 4 times this past week! How awesome is that?! My family & friends are so sweet and I appreciate them so much. As I sit here today reflecting back on all the events that have occurred in my life, both good and bad, I think they have all shaped me in one way or another. I’m stronger in the sense that I’m not a pushover and I fight for what I believe in. At the same time, I’m weaker in the sense that I somehow have remained single all this time due to my mistrust in men. All experiences have influenced me.

I decided not to have any New Year’s resolutions this year and treat myself to good things any time I want to. Every since I went vegan, I’ve found lots of inspiration in other vegans on social media and have discovered a self-love that never existed before. No longer do I look in the mirror and complain about my double chin or flabby arms or love handles. No longer do I wish I were skinnier or wish I was toned or get disappointed in what I see in the mirror. The person I see in the mirror is doing her best to save the animals, to treat her body to good foods and to do her part in helping the environment. So how could I hate this person I see? How could I tell this person that she needs to lose weight or get in shape when she is already doing so much for herself, for the animals and for the planet? It’s simple. I can’t. I love what I see in the mirror now. It is an incredible feeling to love yourself. Some might call it arrogant but if a little 4-yr-old girl was confident and happy, is that arrogance? Is that being an egomaniac? I don’t think so. You know the saying. You can’t love someone else until you love yourself first. So here I am, loving myself and seeing that I am finally at peace and no longer fighting my negativity. And what’s great is that as soon as I started loving myself, it exuded into my community and it was glorious.

Oh yes, and as a birthday present to myself, I decided to enroll at Cornell University and obtain my Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition! It was so weird to be back in school, even if it is online. Having to write essays and do quizzes really brought me back. I didn’t do it for any professional reason, just wanted to learn from good sources since there is so much misinformation out there. Now that I have learned about plant-based nutrition in professionals, I feel like I can apply it to my own life to get healthy and live a long & stress-free life. I would encourage anyone else to get healthy too, whatever way works for you. I think it’s time I start a new website to document this journey, yes? ;0)

Girl Meets World Canceled

I can’t even put into words how disappointed I am with Disney for canceling Girl Meets World. It is a really great show and it has really great role models on here which frankly, the world really needs right now. I know I haven’t really been keeping up with GMW as much as the younger fans who are completely destroyed right now but that’s what’s supposed to happen. I had my Boy Meets World and now they have their Girl Meets World. I’ve been trawling the internet on Girl Meets World articles and reading all the comments and I feel completely helpless for these young fans who didn’t get to have their show continue through their childhood like I did. I was always one of those that watched the latest episode way after the fact. I don’t own a TV so it’s a little more difficult for me.

The best thing about this show was that it produced positive role models for young kids today and it didn’t “kardashianize” anyone to make them act like someone they’re not. It was relatable, entertaining, humorous and fun to watch. I don’t want to believe that this is truly the end of Girl Meets World. I want to believe that the public outcry and fan reaction is enough to get Disney to give it a second thought. Or if anything, it would be great if Netflix would pick it up and they could tackle topics they couldn’t before when they were on Disney.

Anyway, I guess all I can do right now besides sign petitions, tweet at Netflix & Disney Channel and share my dismay on articles is enjoy the last three episodes coming up in January for the next three Fridays. :0(

Dream Gig

I’m so completely excited for tonight. My sketch comedy troupe is opening for Kevin Camia, my favorite standup comedian. This is my dream gig, seriously. I’ve always wanted to perform in the same space as Kevin and I’m excited to be able to do that tonight!

On another note, a long time ago, one of our dreams was to get into SF Sketchfest and this year, we made it! It is such an incredible feeling to be a part of such a huge festival! I’ve been attending SF Sketchfest for at least 10 years now. Never thought I would ever be in it. I’ve seen so many amazing actors, comedians & performers there including Kids Ih The Hall, John Cho, Rider Strong, Robin Williams, Michael Ian Black, Thomas Lennon, and the list goes on. Sigh, I wish I could write for longer but I need to get my shit together. Can’t wait for tonight!

Will Friedle Got Married!

Holy muthafuckin shit, Will got married last Sunday! I’m soooo incredibly happy for him! Yes, I know, I know, people thought I would be sad. I literally received texts from friends asking me if I’m okay, lol! Dude, of course I am. Yes, I loved Will in almost every sense of the word so of course I want him to be happy! I can only wish him and Sue the best for their years to come. It’s so wonderful to see him so in love. I’m sure hearts broke all over the BMW fan world on Sunday but this is a great thing for them. I wonder if he will have babies. He’d make the best dad since he seems like a big kid himself. I know people like him and they are wonderful people who can relate to people of all ages. Congratulations, Will & Sue! May your new life together be the happiest it will ever be, full of love, laughter, tears and joy. Grow together, learn together, and love together.

Here is the photo Will tweeted.

willsue

I have to admit, their eyebrow pic looks wayyyy better than mine, lol!
willeyebrow

But I’ll always love my favorite photo with Will, the first time we met.
Will Friedle meets Miss Ava

Sketch Comedy Show Feedback

Aww man, I forgot to blog about our show experience! So, the weekend of 8/4 – 8/6, my comedy troupe had a show and we did 3 performances. Last year, we did 2 weeks with 6 performances because we usually have a show Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. This year, we decided to only do 1 weekend instead of two because I had tickets to see John Leguizamo on 8/12 and I was not going to miss that for the world. He is an incredible storyteller. If you’ve never seen his one man shows, I’m telling you: GO. It’s so good and he keeps everyone engaged, entertained and this time, educated. It’s called “Latin History For Morons.” Basically, it’s about his journey trying to help his child learn about Latin history so that he can stand up to his bullies. You know what they say: “No history, no self. Know history, know self.”

Anyway, we had our sold out show, “Bad Fruit” and the content consisted of gross humor, vegan humor, social injustice, social commentary, a bit of vulgarity(i.e. I dressed up as a dildo), menstruation, and outrageous premises. I especially enjoyed the outrageous premises we had. I ended up writing 6 of the sketches myself. My friend wrote 7, two others wrote 2, another wrote 1, and one of the sketches was split into 3 parts. Altogether, we had 20 sketches and we added 2 short films and a music video to start off the show. It ran for about 75 minutes and instead of having an intermission, we decided to just power through the entire thing in one punch.

We also passed out surveys to the audience members and upon reading the feedback, I would have to say that this was our best show yet. That made us feel like we made the right decisions to take out stand up sets and remove videos from showing in the middle of the show. People kept writing that they wanted to see more and we were happy to hear this! Some even requested our playlist of songs that we had for transitions! I also noticed that most of our audience that we thought were a repeat crowd from past shows were mostly people who had never seen our shows before! I even saw people who had never come before see the show twice! Amazing!!

Wow, what a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to have my own sketch comedy troupe and have people who enjoy our content. It was such a gratifying experience to hear so much great feedback from our audience. I am so proud of everyone. I think we will try to apply for Sketchfest next year and see how that goes. But even if we don’t get accepted, I am still confident that people love our troupe and our content and I’m so excited to get started on our next show. We haven’t edited any of the footage of our show yet but here are the three videos we put on at the top of the show. Enjoy!

You Mad, Bro?

Call Me? Maybe? (from our show last year)

“Run The World” (Parody of Beyonce’s Run The World)

1st Time in Hong Kong

Oh man, haven’t blogged in awhile. Been busy and lazy. Really quick though, made a short montage video awhile back from my trip in Hong Kong. I also went to Shanghai but I did not feel like making a video for that. Sad to say, I didn’t have as good of a time in Shanghai as I did in Hong Kong. Not sure why, maybe the language barrier. All I can say is if you’re going to go to Shanghai, you’d better bring a Mandarin-speaking and Chinese-reading friend. Hardly anyone was able to speak English with me and definitely no one was able to speak Cantonese, which is what I speak. Of course in Hong Kong, I had no problems. Here’s some of my Hong Kong experience.

And really quick though, my comedy troupe is having its next show in 2 weeks! Omg! I’m so nervous and excited at the same time. I ended up writing a lot of the material. Here is our flyer. Can’t wait! http://badfruit.bpt.me

GCG_badfruit_FINAL

Going On My First Trip to Asia

A month ago, I made the decision to go on my first official trip to China…to Asia actually. Back in January, I had a near meltdown because I read that Stephen Chow was doing a 20 city road tour in China to promote Mermaid and I so wanted to go. However, the nature of my job does not allow for me to go on vacation in February so I was incredibly disappointed, not to mention depressed. I damn near quit my job! I desperately wanted to quit my job, cash out my vacation pay & my sick pay and buy a ticket to one of the cities Stephen was going to be at and just enjoy it. There’s nothing I wanted more than to see him in person. I mentioned how much I wanted to quit my job so much that people started getting concerned for me and began to message me privately asking if everything was okay. Of course at the time, I wasn’t really sure if it was my job that I hated or the fact that I really just wanted to go on vacation and was upset that I couldn’t. Eventually, some old friends came through and talked me through an otherwise senseless action and I ended up not quitting and bearing it. The good thing is that I got to reconnect with a friend I hadn’t seen since 1995 and we talked more than we did in high school, ironically.

Anyway, a month ago, I came across an article that talked about a new Stephen Chow-themed restaurant that opened up in Shanghai. He doesn’t have anything to do with it but that was the tipping point for me. They were fans and I need to be among my people! I decided to go to Hong Kong & Shanghai.

I had asked two of my best friends that I usually travel with if they wanted to go but they were not able to go until possibly 2017. Alas, tomorrow is never a promise, so I decided to go on my own. After telling some people that I have decided to go possibly in May, a friend of mine told me he was going to be in Hong Kong in April as well as another mutual friend of ours who expressed interest in going. I figured it’s probably best if I could see friends at least one day out of my whole trip instead of being a solo traveler the entire time so I decided to go in April as well. I’m so excited I don’t even know where to begin with my itinerary. Luckily my mother told me about getting a visa for China. Otherwise, I would not have thought to get that in time.

I bought two Lonely Planet books, one for each city and I have to say, I am incredibly overwhelmed. So much that I don’t even know how to start figuring out my itinerary. I have so many questions but my main concerns are

A) What should I see most?
B) How do I eat vegan over there?
C) Are there really huge cockroaches flying around? Ick!!!
D) How much money do I really need?
E) How will I find my way around in Shanghai? I don’t know Mandarin.

I guess i should check out blogs and vlogs and see what others have said. I have one month left to figure everything out. Currently, I don’t even know where I’m staying at in Shanghai as I decided to do AirBNB and the owner has not given me the address. Hmm. Hopefully, I will get it before I leave for Hong Kong. As for now, the Asian adventures await…

Check Out Stephen Chow’s “The Mermaid”

If you live in North America and are lucky enough to be near one of the scant 35 theaters that is showing “The Mermaid,” make the effort to check it out. It was released over the weekend on 2/19 with some sneak preview screenings on 2/18. I spent all day today reading reviews about this wonderfully enchanting & thought-provoking movie. The overall consensus is that while there is a total lack of disregard from Sony’s marketing department for this film, critics are loving Stephen’s environmental message disguised within fantastic nonsensical storytelling & quirky slapstick gags that are infamously Stephen Chow style. Not to mention, they are giving widespread criticism towards Sony for its inactions, leaving us fans wondering what the hell is going on?

I’ve attended a couple of Chinese language films in San Francisco this year and I thought they would show a preview of The Mermaid at least before the Chinese films. Alas, there was no mention of it, not even a Coming Soon poster anywhere to be found. It seems zero dollars were spent marketing this movie in San Francisco and we have one of the biggest Chinese populations around. What gives? They promoted Kung Fu Hustle pretty hard back then but I started to think maybe it is because they are associating Chinese people with martial arts. Thus, I’ve concluded that perhaps this is a little bit racist and Sony should be ashamed of themselves if that is the case.

As a bonus, I came across some wonderful Behind The Scenes videos on YouTube. They are in Chinese but you can see how much work Stephen is putting into the film and they are still worth a watch:

Deleted fragments:

I could go on and on about this but I don’t have to. These reviewers have done it already. Pretty sad how this amazing film is being treated in the US. I don’t expect Stephen to want to work with the US much more.

TO check out some of the reviews I’ve read, see below. Thank you all for giving The Mermaid a voice.

Forbes

New York Times

RogerEbert.com

Metro

LA Times

Variety

Pajiba

Twitchfilm

Entertainment Weekly

Criticwire

Film Journal

UPDATE:2/23/16 Looks like Sony stepped up and added more screenings. Yay!

Accident in Competition

So, I submitted my little short film, “Accident” to this website called “The Audience Awards” in the “Dramatic Short Video” category. They run various contests and this category seemed to be a good fit for my film. The contest ran for 10 days beginning 2/20 and ending 2/29 at 7 PM. I shared the contest on Facebook and surprisingly, I noticed a lot of people were sharing my post and helping me ask for votes. I wasn’t sure if my film would get close to the top but I had hopes that it would warrant at least a few votes from my friends.

By the 2nd day of the contest, we had been thrusted to 1st place somehow! That was incredible! Of course we eventually got knocked out of 1st place throughout different moments in the contest so I spent a lot of time spamming my own Facebook feed and eventually even annoying myself. By the middle of the contest, I started to think that it was a possibility that I might actually win, but how? I needed a strategy. I started looking at my competitors because if I wanted to win, I needed to know what I was up against. There were 29 films in the competition and while only 8 of them were made by women, only 1 was made by an Asian: me. That was it. That was going to be my hook. Wouldn’t it be great that out of all 29 films, it was an Asian American who won? If I was going to go hard, I knew this meant war. So I rounded up a team of players who were willing to go to battle with me and started developing my strategy.

These were my targets:

1) Share the credit of the film with my comedy troupe
2) Hook – The only Asian in the competition
3) Take advantage of the date/time of the end of the contest
4) Make my community care about us winning
5) Create a pool of reserves for the last day of the contest

As I started going down each of my targets, I started garnering more and more votes. It was at the point where people I don’t even talk to on Facebook were sharing my post and getting excited about the possibility of our filming winning. I was absolutely floored by the strength of my community and the depths they were going to help me. It was getting so exciting. By the 8th day of the contest, I had discovered a page on the website that allowed me to see who the voters were and it really took me by surprise. I discovered a lot of people that had not responded to my contest posts had voted for me, cheering me on in silence. And being in this contest also allowed me to receive a lot of feedback from friends, extended friends, acquaintances and strangers telling me how much they enjoyed my film and loved my story. It was that feedback that inspired me to continue telling stories.

After the disappointment of only 3 acceptances in the festival run I gave my film, this was really a turnaround point for me. I realized that regardless of whether or not I wrote a good story, it still felt really good to have created this. I love every single moment in my film and I enjoyed almost every aspect in creating it (ok, color correction is a bitch and I still can’t get that right but I’ve accepted that.) Plus, after asking Jason Marsden about this stuff, he more or less told me that this was actually completely normal so I decided to forge on.

By the last day of the contest, I hit target number 5. I created my pool of reserves and we all waited until the last 5 minutes to send in our votes. I felt like a cheetah hiding in the bushes, preying on my victim to surface so that I could POUNCE! When it was down to the last 10 minutes of the contest, I noticed a lot of people starting sharing my post and rallying others to vote and at this point, I hadn’t even sent out the green light to my reserves yet! So 4 minutes before the end of the contest, we all sent in our votes so when the last second hit, we won! It was so exciting! I was on pins & needles! The prize was $500 which I have decided I would put towards the next project of my comedy troupe. It was such an incredible feeling! There were internet hi-fives going all around, I’m sure. I was so excited that I made 3 donations to 3 different parties, including one homeless man. Gotta spread the love. I can’t wait to create my next project. Whatever it is, I hope it will be as awesome of an experience as “Accident” was for my heart & soul.

You can watch “Accident” here:

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