Magic, Charcoal

This morning, I woke up at 8am. I have class at 9am. I’m always late to this class, even though I try to be early. Today I decided to park in the faculty lot close to the building so that I wouldn’t be late. I sat through class-it was boring. Class finished, and I had move my car to park it in the right spot. But then, a magical thing happened. Instead of driving to the campus where my lab is located, I headed north. I felt I deserved to be treated to breakfast for 1. waking up before noon, 2. making it to class on time, and 3. just for the hell of it. So I fled the medical center and went to get some breakfast biscuits. I’m pretty sure I listened to this song in the car the entire way. That’s beside the point, though…

After I had acquired food, I headed back to school. But suddenly, I found myself parked in front of my house. And how nice would it be to eat breakfast at home, watch some TV, maybe draw/paint, or even just take a nap? After all, I did wake up so early. I felt so inspired to do anything but work. Is that just called lazy?

I am currently watching youtube videos of my main man, Jimmy Fallon, doing impressions, catching up on DailyShow/ColbertReport episodes, downloading new music and blogging. I think it’s going to be a good day, even if it delays me getting my PhD by a few hours. I just need to recharge and rest.

My cat, admiring my blogging

Maybe I should explain why I’m so tired. I’ve been drawing a lot more, and the urge usually strikes me around 11pm. Once I get going, before I know it it’s 3am and my hands are covered in charcoal and my cat has gone to sleep without me. Here are a few of the ones I’m working on.

My "Spellbound" still under construction...

I’ve always loved this painting, and it lends itself well to charcoal with all the shading. And we don’t have to get into the fact that I love the eyes wrapped curtains, the darkness, the one closed eye that’s receiving the attention of every other orb. I really love it.

Dali's "Spellbound"original

This next one took me a long time to complete. I’d never really done anything like it before, but the idea was just so cool, and seemed easy enough. It ended up taking me quite a few sessions before I just called it. It’s one of those that never really looks finished, I just couldn’t do anymore with it. I think I might use the concept for other drawings, though (maybe a forests with faces series?).

Mother Nature, 12/11

This one I did a few years ago, but it’s still one of my favorites:


I think I’m going to start doing a lot more art. I started an oil painting this past weekend with some people, and even though it was silly, it was still exciting to do it. However, I’ve decided, I really love using charcoal. With it, I can make all my favorite colors of shades of black and grey. It’s subtle, real, dark, smoky, stark, and I just really love it. It seems so permanent, but really it’s the most delicate- any movement or accident will smudge it, yet mistakes are fixed so easily. I find it very fluid and dynamic, whereas with paint, I can’t undo what I’ve done, plus I can’t think in color. I find myself writing again, too. Look at me, getting all arty.







and I miss my sister.

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Why I hate New Years

Womp womp womp. This is an emo post, FYI.

I hate New Years. With a deep and fiery passion that is seeded in the core my being. It’s my least favorite holiday, by a LONG shot. Leagues and leagues more than Valentine’s Day. 1. NYE, 2. FOJ, 3. VD. That’s right, I hate the 4th of July more than Valentine’s Day. We can talk about why I hate FOJ when we get to the summer. This post is about why NYE makes me borderline suicidal.

As far as I can remember, my NYEs have consisted of: not getting invited to anything cool, feeling sorry for myself, sitting at home eating ice cream and watching reruns on Nickelodeon. It’s like a normal night, is what I’m saying. Only it’s not…
At about 1am, when I realize it’s already the new year, I get really depressed and sad. I usually end up writing some crazy emotional, forever alone themed entry in my journal. [Ironically, if you look at all my journal entries (which are all sad and angsty), they happen about the same time of the month…]

There are recurring themes.

I’ve always been single on New Years. Let’s face it, I’ve been single most of my life… Not only that, but for the better portion of my life, every major friend I’ve had has been in a serious relationship with someone else. I feel like NYE is even more of a coupley holiday than Valentine’s. It’s about excitement and romance and bold moves and new ideas and being better and growth and reflection and drinking and sparkles and music and anticipation and being able to look over at  another person when the clock strikes midnight to share that moment with them. Which is why I just stay on my couch and watch The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Nothing exciting has ever happened to me. No one has ever surprised me, declared their love for me, ambush kissed me, even asked about me on NYE. (Mass texts don’t count.) I have big romantic expectations that end up crushing me year after year.

Nothing really changes. It’s like having a birthday. Nothing happens from one day to the next, it’s the summation of multiple years that make a difference. But somehow, you’re supposed to feel different in the blink of an eye. It’s disappointing, and it always makes me sad. It makes me sad to think about how I was in the exact same place one year ago, feeling and thinking the same things. I know it’s a self-perpetuating cycle, but I don’t know how to break it. I always feel doomed to being alone. My life in the context of New Years is depressing, even though I know that objectively on any other day, I have a bombass, blessed, badass, ballin’ life.

Here’s the silver lining:

1. December 31 is the anniversary of the day that I got my cat, Toota. We will be celebrating one blissful year together. Looking back on it, I don’t think it was an accident that I got her on NYE. It was probably an act of lonely desperation aggravated by this loathsome “holiday,” especially after everything I went through last year. But I’m so happy with her that it doesn’t even matter.

Merry Holidays!

2. This year, I’m sort of a part of a Sketch/Improv Comedy New Year’s Eve show at DCH. I’m organizing the backstage aspect, which means that I’ll be busy and even though I have stupid imaginary expectations of dumb things I fantasize about happening, at least I’ll be out of my house around other people who (usually) make me laugh.

Here’s to hoping this NYE won’t kill me.

Mariam gets a reputation…

I’m a mild-mannered person. I don’t like to be showy or draw unnecessary attention to myself. Plus I get self conscious. Hence, I don’t like karaoke.
Don’t get me wrong. I love to sing. I sing in the car, I sing while I cook, I sing in the shower, I sing while I’m getting dressed, I sing all the time. The threshold is that even though there might be people with me, I am not in “public.” But I love singing to myself, and I love having music playing at all possible moments of my life.

Therefore, I like having music playing while I work…who doesn’t? I do tedious pipetting, all in a tissue culture hood (in the “TC room”), and it’s just sterile and boring. So why not jam out to some Nena and her luftbalons, or to some Dr. Dre and Snoop De Oh Double Gee, or to roll some heads with the Yeah yeah yeahs, or to ponder how I’m not sick, but I’m not well? The best kind of music to listen to at work is something that gets your spirits up, loud melody, heavy bass, hard groove, and crazy fun lyrics. Chromeo/MGMT pandora radio station for any interested players has been sustaining me for a long time now. And my 80s, Hood, and Woman Power playlists.

I started out listening on my headphones, like most people would do. But it’s annoying to have the cords in the way, worry about the earpieces falling out, not hearing/noticing when other people were in the room trying to talk to me or get my attention. Since I’m usually alone in that room, I graduated to just using the speakers on my phone to stream music out loud while I worked. When this happened, I got made fun of a lot by my labmates (mostly one person in particular, let’s call him Ollie). All the following quotes are courtesy of Ollie.

“You know how you know when Mariam is here? When there’s bass bumping from the TC room.”
“Whooaa, what is this? Club TC! Boom chik boom chik.” *mocking bass noise and fist pumping dance moves*
“You kids and your hippity hop, gangstER music.”

Anyways, Ollie and I are on good terms. He’s kind of my boss, kind of my coworker. He’s essentially training me  in this lab, showing me the ropes. He’s about to be finished though, and leaving the lab soon. Ollie knows how much I like listening to music while working that he brought some speakers for us to use. He hooked them up in the TC room, so now I can listen to my music at a decent volume and rock out. I make fun of him, though, cuz he listens to terrible “old man” music.

Here’s where the problem [reputation] happens. I’m usually the only person in or around that room, although other people do come in there (usually to see where the noise is coming from). Well it turns out that I sing A LOT, even in public, even without realizing how loud and emphatically I’m doing it. Apparently- most of the people I work with can hear me sing while I’m in the TC. I just lose track of the volume and since I don’t see people, I forget they’re in the next room over. And I lose control. Apparently.

Another coworker, his desk is behind mine, finally broke the news to me. Let’s call him Aiden.

“I heard this music, I had to take out my headphones to make sure what it was. So I came over here [to the TC room], and you were just belting it out, you were going at it.”
“OMG, I’m so embarassed! Why didn’t you tell me to shut the eff up??!”
“It seemed like you were enjoying yourself and I didn’t want to disturb you!”

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I’m never going to work again.


On a lighter note, here’s a picture of my cat, Tadyah aka Toota aka Toes. She has this thing for plastic bags. Like, LOVES them. Likes to lay on them and jump on them and crawl into/through them. So the rare times when I go grocery shopping, she has a field day until I get tired of hearing crinkling swhooshing plastic bags and throw them away.

My cat after my trip to Tom Thumb


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Haunted Hotels, Homeslice, and Heartache

College Station is stupid. Except for my cousin, Sara, who is a major rockstar. I went down on Thursday night to visit her in her gigantic suite of a dorm room. I won’t go into details, but Katy and I got majorly gipped in our dorm situation if this is how college students can live.

There aren’t very many things to do in College Station (surprise, surprise). Sara’s friends were chill, and instead of going to see a movie, they wanted to take me to the Plaza Hotel. This is a local legend-an establishment that closed down the previous year due to “mysterious activity” after a young boy died in the pool. Basically, it’s a haunted hotel. I was skeptical, but excited to see what this place was made of.
After convincing my scaredy-ass cousin to go along, we rolled up to a giant edifice. We had to jump a 10ft iron fence to get onto the grounds.

Sara, breaking the law...

After finding an open door (locked, but the glass broken so we can crawl though) amidst the boarded up entrances, we started our adventure. This place was cray cray. The pool area was enormous, and creepy because there were plants around the perimeter,  and the pool was drained. Everything was dark, and the only light was from the traffic outside and our phone flashlights. The front desk area still bills littered on the floor, along with broken glass from mirrors, windows, and artwork. All the furniture in the whole building was still there- chairs, statues, artwork, a baby piano, bottles, plants, beds, mattresses, clothing, etc…it looked like the owners literally closed the doors with everything in it and never came back. It was perfect 🙂
Full disclosure, I genuinely screamed at one point when I heard something rustling behind the desk. My rational brain knows it was probably just a rat, the wind, or my imagination, but my romantic brain is sure it was a ghost.

We climbed the stairwell, all the way up 18 flights of stairs to the top floor. [Technically it was only 17, since there was no 13th floor. Lots of difference that made…]. The room on the top was completely trashed, the windows were busted out so the wind was blowing into the suite. It looks like a combination of a haunted place and the remnants of a frat party. Hell, I’d go party there. It was fully furnished, and no neighbors to complain about the noise, and you don’t have to clean up the next morning.


Penthouse suite on the 18th floor, with the windows busted out and the furnishings wrecked.

The rationale for going up to the top floor was because from the roof, “you have a great view of college station.” You can imagine how amazing and exciting that view was. A completely flat expanse of nothing, not even enough lights to be classified as a city. The best part about the roof was all the spray painted graffiti.

Plaza Rules

Plaza Rules- sprayed on the roof

My cousin was FREAKING out the entire time, that was really the most entertaining part of the whole adventure. Sara’s so calm and cool, so it was awesome to see her be scared and vulnerable. Haha. ha.

My cousin, freaking out at the shutter noise my camera made while taking this picture.

Needless to say, we made it out alive. We made it to Houston alive. With a great playlist.
The wedding, which was the primary purpose of traveling to Houston, was fun. It’s always good to see people you like.

But really, the highlight, was seeing my cousin’s baby.


The cutest child in the world being a rockstar

He had a miniature backpack, just perfect for his little one year old body, that’s from Northface. Embroidered on the bag is the word “Homeslice.” You can imagine my excitement. Inside the backpack is a daily report of the boy’s activites during daycare. What he ate, how much of it he ate, number of bowel movements, number of diapers used, how much he napped and the exact times of sleep/waking, what his mood was like, what he did, etc. His parents get this detailed report EVERY DAY. How awesome is that?! I want a kid, already.


The end.

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Lie to me

I love it when you lie to me and I know you’re lying because I already figured out the truth on my own and then I can sit there and laugh to myself watching you make up things and I judge you and my opinion of you plummets and I love it because it makes me feel better than you for once.

People are weird

Guitar Update!

I’ve learned so many new songs! I’m a rockstar!
How to Love – Lil Wayne
No Rain – Blind Melon
Lights – Ellie Goulding
Tired of Being Sorry – Enrique Iglesias
Mr. Jones – Counting Crows
Days Go By – Dirty Vegas (in progress)
Come Undone – Duran Duran (in progress)

Songs I thought I could play but failed: Dynamite Hack’s Boyz N Tha Hood, REM’s Losing my Religion, and No Doubt’s Don’t Speak.

I made my own makeshift capo by rubberbanding a pencil to the neck of my guitar. It’s ghetto and probably bad for my guitar, but it works.

So for my improv class this week, we’re doing “characters,” and our assignment is to people watch and make note of how people walk, talk, facial expressions and mannerisms, inflections to their voice, how they carry themselves, etc, and then try to mimick them. It’s amazing once you start paying attention….how weird people are. One girl walks ONLY on her tiptoes and bounces when she walks. Her elbows are always bent and never at her side. Another guy always has his chest puffed out and his shoulders behind him, and talks with a huge booming voice and has an obnoxious laugh. and yesterday in response to a funny/sad story about a labmate’s cat dying 5 years ago, I heard him say, “Oh, well. I’m very sorry to hear that, a Ha ha. That must have been very difficult.” You know his intentions were good, but he just had this goofy grin on his face the entire time. Another guy has perfect marching band gait, heel to toe, peeling his feet off the ground and placing them purposefully when he steps. and he is always playing with his iphone at belt level, but he manages to walk in a straight line even though he never looks up. I hope I’m conveying this well.
More of why I love Judge Judy:

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I want this to be my life

I’ve never seen anything that made me so happy and full of joy. Whenever I have a bad day from now on, I am going to come back and watch these videos in succession, until I am so overwhelmed with excitement that I cry (good crying, not the bad day crying).

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Double Triplets

I forgot to chronicle my interesting weekend.

My friends and I (a group of 5 diverse, attractive, intelligent ladies) went to the World Fest in Addison on Saturday. The world-ness of the festival was not the highlight, but rather our time spent once the booths closed.

As we were sitting on the grass, all enjoying the beautiful weather and our collective laziness, SUDDENLY two children run up and throw a frisbee to us. Another child appears and is speaking, apparently to us. Yet another small child arrives, ball in hand, and is looking at each of us eagerly. Eventually, one girl says, “Helllooo. Hello? Will you play with us?”
We are extremely confused, but our maternal instincts kick in, so we all get up off our asses and start to play with the children. There are eight (plus/minus two) children total. One adult comes over and informs us that there are two sets of triplets, about 3 months apart, that are 6 years old. There were a couple of random older/younger siblings in the mix, plus one random, non-affliated toddler whose mother decided to leave it with us. It was quite a site. They had about 4 frisbees, two red balls, and an umbrella.

The one little girl, with bright red hair, I think her name was Jessica, well she really took a liking to me. She hugged me (meaning my thighs) out of no where, and we had the following conversation:
J: *squeezing hug with eyes closed for 30 seconds*
M: *pats on head, awkwardly*
J: You’re really pretty. Your shoes are really pretty. And your dress is really pretty. *hug tighter*
M: Thanks…
J:  I have a boyfriend.
M: Really? Who is he?
J: His name is Joe. *points into the mass of remaining male children*
M: Which one is Joe?
J: He’s one of the twins. I don’t know which one. We kissed.
M: No way! Did you kiss here?
J: No, we kissed at my house. In the swimming pool. But he’s not really my boyfriend. I have another boyfriend.
M: Another boyrfriend? You’re only supposed to have one of those!
J: Yeah, I know. I already have one, though. He has a football uniform.
M: Yes, that’s a very important feature in a boyfriend…
J: *runs off to take her frisbee from her brother*

Eventually, Jessica pulls out the umbrella she got today from one of the Asian booths. She’s twirling the silly little pink thing around, when up comes (I’m assuming BF#1) Joe, yelling, “hellooooooo….hellloooooo? Hello…? Are you looking for meee?” She completely ignored him and continued her performance with the umbrella for us.

Then there was the ladies’ man. Imagine a male supermodel, suave, debonaire, charming and charismatic, athletic….at six years of age. He threw the frisbee perfectly to each of us, was patient and polite, and had a little faux-hawk and cute clothes.

Finally the father tried gathering the crazy mess of hyperactive six year olds, telling them all to “Hug the ladies! Say tell goodbye!”
random 1/3 of triplets: It was nice noticing you!
Jessica: *cuts circulation to my legs off* BYE!!
Charmer:  “It was great to meet you. Thanks for playing with us. *wink*” Jk…I added in the wink. But he might as well have done it. Charming little bugger.
Joe#1: *hiding under a table with amps and equipment on it, giggling*
As I’m trying to hand Joe#2 his frisbee so they can leave:  Hellooo. Hellooooo. Throw it to me. *runs in opposite direction.*
another random child: *chases a ball into the make-shift stream, splashing water on his siblings*
I can’t wait to have twins. Six is a little much, though.

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I broke up with Netflix

And I’m feeling pretty good about it. I’ve realized that I can stream movies and TV shows from multiple websites. FOR FREE. Just make sure you have a pop-up blocker that works. And if I ever really really need to see a movie that I can’t find online, then I’ll just redbox it or get over it.

There have been other changes in my life recently. Aside from my improv comedy obsession, I’ve been skipping work to go to the mall. I drink less coffee than before. I buy candles and cereal and coats. I’ve developed a loud, barking, impenetrable cough that refuses to go away, even with inhaler use despite not having been sick nor having any changes to my environment. In fact, there’s been a sharp drop-off of my exposure to smoke, so this seems counterintuitive.

For those inquiring minds who want to know, I restrung Austin (my guitar) last night. All by myself, without any help!! Except a youtube video, but still. And I tuned it myself, too! I felt like a rockstar….until: I stayed up until 2am trying to play Britney Spears’s Circus (unsuccessfully). But I did crystallize Edelweiss and Be With You. Thugz Mansion is still unattainable. It is my Everest, and I will climb it one day.

Lastly, for inquiring minds who are wondering where I came up with the name of my blog:!!!!!!!!

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