Sunday, August 14, 2016

Dogs Eat Dogs

Relaxing weekends are wonderfully well, relaxing, but also a little stagnant. Let me give you an example. This morning I woke up, around 9, 10, 11, and 11:30, finally managing to drag my body out of bed at around noon. After showering, eating a delicious lunch with the fam, and playing approximately 5 minutes of video games with Kaylin, I took a long, leisurely nap from 1-4 on the couch. For about 2 weeks now, I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping at night and my sleep schedule has been all over the place. Summer does amazingly terrible things to my self-control, and my guilty conscious is as powerful as ever. Fortunately, my 1-to-4 mini-sleep was filled with wonderful dreams of me being productive. I kid you not. I literally dreamed of myself doing laundry, cleaning, and sending important emails. If you think about it, it's kind of pathetic.

Anyway, these past few weeks have actually been pretty exciting/fun. I've been catching up with a lot of friends I haven't spoken to in a long time, and it's really been filling me with a lot of nostalgia. It might feel bad that I'm not in some a new foreign place with a wonderful new job and beautiful apartment, but I'm actually quite thankful that I've had the opportunity to reconnect with a lot of people and spend time with the fam. It makes me sad that I've fallen out of touch with so many people (both high school, and college) and I'm definitely going to make an effort to reach out more!

The job hunt is definitely going a lot better too. I've been tackling it in a more positive way, and getting many more responses and scheduling more interviews. I've even been getting better at interviews :') I'm a little scared to get attached to companies after interviewing, incase it doesn't go well, but I can't help it... it's so easy to daydream away *__*

A couple weeks ago I had a couple of disappointing let-downs. The first was a pretty successful interview which ended with "I think you're great and would love to bring you into the studio! We'll get in touch to schedule it." and was followed by a month of silence in which I followed up by email once and even called. In the end I received an email (a week after my call which was met with a "she'll call you back right away") saying that they are sorry but decided to pursue another candidate, encouraging me to apply for other positions with their company in the future. Companies really need to get their shit together. I understand that the hiring process might be a long and complicated one, and that they must be keeping track of a lot of applicants while simultaneously doing their daily work, but please have the decency to at least communicate with me. Similarly, I was doing some freelance work for my former boss's friend, and after putting in a good 30-40 hours on their project (which I was starting to get invested in) I found out that they were not intending to compensate me for my work. My boss said that was ridiculous and assured me that his friend was a very decent fellow and had actually insisted that they pay me...but a 1-on-1 phone call with his friend alluded to the fact that he was "under the pretense that I was doing it as a favor." Hilarious. People do not create a whole brand identity and design packaging for your product as a "favor." They do not waste their time on long winding phone conferences or on designing a hundred different logo iterations as a goddamn "favor." I'm not a money-hungry person, don't get me wrong. But designers getting undervalued for their work is far too common in the field. Design is a skill. It is a professional field. You don't go to a restaurant and demand food for free, nor do you ask an accountant to do your taxes for free. Why should design, illustration, or any of the creative arts be any different? Well anyway, before I get too riled up (yes that topic really gets me going sometimes), the point is I was angry, but we worked through our misunderstanding. After all, I had already invested quite a bit of time in it, and a lot of general thought (literally thinking about packaging layouts while trying to sleep at night) into the project, and was genuinely excited for what it could become. But a few days later, (after waiting 2-3 days for the guy to review my logo proposals), I was essentially let go, being told that I am inexperienced and that he didn't want to ruin my relationship with my old boss. He even said he had already contacted another friend of a friend who agreed to work on the project, and was disappointed in my deliverables that I turned in at the last meeting. At first I was furious for a variety of reasons. Obviously for the time and effort I had already put into the project, but more so at the ridiculous lack of communication I had received from these two. Even though I was excited about the end product, the process of working with them had been nothing short of frustrating. The lack of real feedback and information I received at all times (no real opinions or comments on any damn design I gave them, not giving me details on literally anything unless I asked for it. Bag manufacturer, deadlines, you name it.), the number of times they changed the goddamn name of the product (yes I researched and designed logos for three different names), and just the general disorganized manner of the whole thing. It even took him about 40 minutes to tell me that I was being replaced! During which, I bluntly cut in several times to try and get him to get to the point. My voice was a little wobbly (which was so embarrassing), but I managed to tell him straightforwardly that I respect his decision and did not want the pity money that he was proposing to give me. (100 dollars for 35 hours of work. Do the math. And no, I didn't actually call it pity money to his face) Yes it would've been very easy to accept his money, but my pride is ridiculously large and got in the way of me and several new art books *__* Anyway, I told him evenly that he should take that money and instead use it to properly compensate his new designer. After wishing him well, we finally hung up the goddamn phone. Overall, I felt shitty at being taken advantage of, and about the time I could have spent applying to jobs, but in the end, I had my pride intact and felt that I had done the right thing. Sometimes I'm a little too naive, and a little too trusting - but the past few months have taught me that as my friend put it "it's a dog eat dog world, Sonya" and that to survive, some people may not always do the most moral thing. I'm a little disheartened and disillusioned, but I guess I'm also a little wiser, and a little more weary.

Haha oh man this blog post is turning out to be quite the rant. Am I back in high school again? Anyway, this past week has been pretty exciting! The 2016 Summer Olympics have been going on! Team USA killing it in gymnastics and swimming, and China's synchronized diving literally creating control-c-control-v copies IRL. It's really inspiring and moving to watch these super-humans competing at such a high level (I may or may not shed a tear or two whenever the athlete on screen cries), and it's also pretty fun to sit around the TV with my family (or in my mom's case, excitedly jumping up and down) and shout at the screen. And on that note, I am finally going to stop writing before I think about something else to go off about, and caption the pictures. Waking up at 7am tomorrow gg (in 4.5 hours).

My cute meal at Panera. They started using new porcelain trays so naturally I had to take a picture.
I recently had to make a portfolio of food photography, so here are a few random ones from the album! This one is actually from a visit to China about 3.5 years ago haha but it's still one of my favorites. Probably because I am biased towards eggplant.
Yummy chocolate peanut butter crepe from Max Brenner's during restaurant week earlier this year! Beautiful and delicious... but very hard to eat the whole thing. Too much chocolate *__*
A smoothie I made last week! Look at me being all fancy with those strawberries >:D
Working on mini legos with my sister! My sister built a bad ass temple and I made this adorable little koala that Eric picked up for me from Australia last summer
Sitting in Central Park with Nolan and learning a new card game while waiting for Brian get his phone fixed. Caught a crap-ton of pinsars in the park lol.
TOTTO RAMEN. UGH I think it's their rayu (spicy sesame oil) that really takes it up a tier to GOD LEVEL. I can't explain it, but it just adds this smokey undertone that makes the whole thing really come together. Or maybe it's because I'm really hungry right now. On the left is us in Bryant Park playing the card game I learned earlier that day in Central Park! In this park, I caught many clefairies. lol #pokemongo5ever
Spent a weekend down in Philly! Went to this amazing brunch place and order a fucking gigantic pile of red velvet pancakes. To be completely honest, they were like. okay. But Eric and I had a good laugh trying to eat all of it. Since it was too hot outside, we took refuge in a cute hipster coffee shop and drank pretty (but tasteless) tea while playing cards :) Needless to say, I think I roasted him with this hand.
After spending a fun afternoon kicking Eric's ass at video games at Dave and Buster's (okay I lost several times at stuff too), we walked over to Penn's Landing! Lots of... water pokemon. LOL. Also I'm wearing these giant square earrings I impulsively bought on a brief shopping trip with Ed, and Eric is wearing a cute Jean-Michel Basquiat t-shirt from Uniqlo that didn't come in my size. u__u
At Spruce Street Harbor Park! Basically a really festive stretch of the river lined with pop up restaurants, lights, and a beer garden. Colorful LEDs and delicious food are the perfect combination. (not to mention several pokestops with lures and an abundance of magikarps. omg no I'm not obsessed I promise.)
Another photo of the park! This place is more inland and filled with colorful lounge chairs with lights hanging down from the branches. The photo doesn't really do the whole set up justice :(
A photographer setting up for a photo of a gorgeous cloudscape and my mom and sister marveling at the size of the bear I got from Eric (he won that thing from Dave and Buster's on an intern trip with his company....literally how does one do that) He's super soft and I named him Brown Bear. B-bear for short.
Some excerpts from my sketchbook! Left is 3 min sketches and right is a couple of head-shots of the amazing characters from a drama I'm watching called Doctors. The girl in the bottom corner is a bad ass fighter who becomes a neurosurgeon. *__* #goals.
My most recent illustration! I think I actually see some progress in the way of my digital painting which is super exciting. I've been watching a lot of youtube tutorials and videos by some amazing artists which has been really helpful in addition to being downright enjoyable to watch. My current favorite is Ross Tran! Watched literally all of his videos in a few sittings lol. He's hilarious and also such an inspiration *__*
Eric stopped by for a visit last weekend before heading off to Japan! And he brought me more wonderful gifts - a set of beautiful Pixar postcards. I love Pixar. and I love postcards. I actually recall myself eyeing them a while back at a pixar store and forcefully tearing my gaze away, so this was such an exciting surprise! 

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