Category Archives: Reflection

August 2016

The start of the month began with celebrations for two of my most favorite series. The night before the first of August, a new Harry Potter story was released in the form of a bound stageplay. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child left me with very mixed emotions, but in general it was nice to go back to that world that ached so heavily in my young heart. Secondly, the first of the month is known as Odaiba Memorial Day for those who are fans of an anime called Digimon. It’s always a day I lowkey celebrate, usually by just watching some episodes or movies. It’s exciting that for the series’ 15th anniversary, they have been releasing new films that follow the original kids from the show as older kids. Though I’ve already seen the films in Japanese (3 of the planned 4 films are out) I get to see the first film with the new English dub in theaters in September.

Later in the week the boyfriend and I went to see a local production of In the HeightsHamilton creator Lin Manuel-Miranda’s first foray into Broadway, and the first of his two Best Musical Tony awards. The show was terrific–the cast was thankfully largely Latino and the lead even sounded a lot like Miranda himself, who, like with Hamilton, initially played the lead role, in this case, a Dominican-American named Usnavi.

One of my best friends was visiting from Japan, where she works as an English teacher for the JET Program. This will likely be the last time I see her in person until she returns in 2 years (making her total stay in Japan 5 years). I am hoping to travel there with the boyfriend during her last year though. Started saving and everything! I was really happy I was able to see her and some more local friends who I sadly haven’t seen for a while either. It was especially nice that she got to meet the boy in person rather than Skype like in the past.

I’ve been attending a podcasting class at my local library and it’s sadly wrapping up today. It’s given me a lot to think about and a lot to work with. In small ways it’s helping me overcome some anxiety I have, but I suppose the real test will be when the class ends and real life begins. Over-dramatic but basically true. It did mark some firsts for me though, in that it was the first time I did anything podcast related (other than passively listen to one). In class, we were each interviewed by someone else. In my case, a toy designer named Valerie interviewed me, and I interviewed a really cool guy, Ric, who specializes in action and kung-fu films.

An unexpected part of my summer was  a pit stop in Boston on the way to Acadia National Park in Maine. Some friends and I tackled the Freedom Trail for a couple of hours before continuing our long car ride, also pit-stopping in Ogunquit and Bar Harbor on our back and forth. We only really had one day for the park so naturally my friends dragged me one some treacherous trail up…Cadillac Mountain I think? I can’t even remember. All I know is that there were parts of the climb that had metal support beams in it, and ladder rungs, and ACTUAL DEATH IF YOU MESSED UP. We walked along the coast later in the day, which was gorgeous, and admittedly worth putting up with my adventure-loving friends.

At the end of the month I took a trip to the Jersey shore to celebrate my abuela’s 82nd birthday. It was your standard family restaurant outing followed by cake at my uncle’s house, but not knowing where my career may take me I knew I couldn’t pass up even a simple gathering like that. Gotta take advantage of living close to home/the parent’s home while I still can. Speaking of them, they managed to visit the Dominican Republic this year, which is always a wonderful thing. I haven’t been in a while. Damn, I gotta get on that. (That was an In the Heights reference, yo.)

There were a couple of films I saw–Sausage Party which, although is 1000% not my type of humor, I was able to enjoy, and stop motion powerhouse Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings, which, despite some weak areas in the story, I really loved. I also saw the documentary Life, Animated which was also a fantastic and unexpected gem. The doc follows a young man diagnosed with autism who finds a way to express himself through the animated films of Walt Disney. See the trailer:

That’s sort of it for August. Work was a bit slower as we wait for some things to fall into place, and we’ve been learning new tools. There are a couple of cool events coming up in September that I am hoping to attend, even if it means making the dreaded commute into NYC. I’m hoping I can get my new project up and running this month. In general though, I had a really lovely summer. No complaints over here. It is a little surreal not going back to school, even though I’ve been mostly out the education door for like 2 years now.

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When You Like Owning Stuff

Earlier this month, I was planning to move house for the third time in two years. It would have been a good move too–shorter commute, less driving in general, closer to downtown, living with friends, spacious apartment. I was dreading it, of course, as does anyone who owns stuff. I’m very wary of even thinking about moving, but I was actually starting to embrace this one. Until shit hit the fan and we lost the place.

In those couple of days that we thought we had the place, the gears had already begun to turn. I was already making lists of things I could stash at work VS things I wanted to bring VS things I could send back to my parent’s house. I started making lists, piling up things to bring to Good Will, and I even packed two small boxes of smaller items. Now I’ve got to unpack that stuff. When I thought I was moving, my way of thinking about my belongings changed, and changed once again when I knew I wasn’t moving.

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April 2016

 

Another month of 2016 already gone, and another month where…frankly I didn’t do too much. I’m normally a bit of a homebody, but I am also going to LA at the end of May, so I’ve been especially reluctant to go out and spend money. For me, this month was just a bit more chill, with a couple of little highlights.

The library in my town has become a welcomed, common staple for the weekend, which also curbs my need to buy books. I haven’t even bought any animation books recently due to my backlog of library reads needing full attention.

My boyfriend’s good friend’s birthday was this month, and we celebrated by driving into Brooklyn and going to Brooklyn Bowling, as well as a couple of pit stops at breweries. Before heading into Brooklyn, we pit-stopped in Queens for sushi. I’ve always wanted to go to a sushi bar that had the revolving carousel, and I’d heard there was one in Queens. At these revolving sushi joints, the chefs just continuously add new dishes to the revolving belt, which diners pick up. The prices are set depending on the color of the plate, ranging from $1-$5 for various rolls and appetizers.

It turns out it this one was actually smack in the middle of a mall food court! When my boyfriend realized I’d unknowingly dragged him out for “mall sushi” our expectations nose-dived. But I was honestly really impressed with the food. The fish was fresh, the combinations were interesting, and it was just delicious in general.

Finally got to have conveyor belt sushi today! 🍣😍

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I was finally able to get ahold of an iron, and finish some of the perler bead sprites I’d made last month. As I state in my Instagram, I didn’t design these patterns, but wanted to get aquianted with the process. Naturally, I made Digimon spirtes, whose patterns were lifted from the sprites used in the GameBoy games:

I saw a friend who was in a local production of Little Shop of Horrors, which was awesome. Been watching a lot of films rented from the library, and cooking a lot. I’ve been specifically making big batches of food on Sundays to bring to work for lunch, saving me around $45 a week. Stuff like curries and soups. My favorite meal I made this month though was this one:

Cooked kimchi rice, steak, and fried eggs while @animated.koko napped 😘😪💤

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Work has been going really well too. We’ve been fortunate to get to work with some incredible people in April, and I hope the flowers that grow from those little saplings will bloom in 2017. ; )

March 2016

I’ve already skipped posting during the month of February, so I am not going to mess up another consecutive month–even if it means posting a simple recap post at 11:32pm on the last day of March. Ta da!

That being said, March was…better. Much better than February, and the personal and familial pangs that come with simply living. I do wish that The Little Prince opened in theaters in the US as was intended, but now I’ll just have to continue to place my trust in Netflix. Butttt if that’s really the only bad thing I can think of, I think we’re doing much, much better.

March started off pretty strong, admittedly due to my boyfriend’s birthday being earlier in the month. Determined to not drag him down, we celebrated with a fun trip into NYC, despite my dislike of said city. I dragged him to my favorite, Kinokunya, as well as the Museum of Modern Art, the Nintendo World store, some good food and sights. We also celebrated by seeing Zootopia and having BarTaco with some friends. He and I did some additional exploring in our own town–we finally checked out a small local park and read by the stream. We’re also planning a trip to LA/San Diego at the start of the summer!

Starry Night by #vanGogh #museumofmodernart

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When I was home for Easter, I took some time to visit Asbury Park, NJ to brunch with my best friends from high school and wander the strange little shops (mostly antique places) in the area. Easter was wonderful, as usual, starting with a Dominican fish fry on Good Friday (followed by a second helping of Deadpool with my brother in tow). Easter itself was enjoyable–typical family fare.

I GOT A LIBRARY CARD! I cannot explain how exciting this was for me! Honestly, I could, but that’s easily a whole separate blog post itself. I know it’s sad, but I feel like a whole new world has opened up to me again. I’d forgotten how precious they are, and I’m fortunate that my new town has a gorgeous, very up-to-date and well-funded facility. I borrowed a bunch of graphic novels, and geek queen Felicia Day’s autobiography. I’ve been doing a 20 Book Challenge for 2016 on GoodReads, but I think with how speedy some comics are to read, I may have to bump it to 30. I intend to check out more traditional novels my next go-around.

Overcome with #relatable feelings after reading several of these library graphic novels, I plucked up the courage to actually shoot a video for YouTube. It was/is nothing special–a simple book review for Raina Telgmeier’s Smile–but from that one session I feel like I already learned so much. The footage still lives on my computer, where I have not touched Adobe Premiere CC in easily 10 days, BUT THE FOOTAGE EXISTS, and that is good enough for now. Starting really is the toughest part, man.

We also had puppeteer Bill Diamond visit work and bring some amazing characters with him! It reminded me of a documentary about Yoda that I watched not too long ago. It was very refreshing to hear about such a tangible artform, and hear him parallel it so well to CG/animation.

Selfie with one of the real Red Fraggle puppets from #FraggleRock!

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In general, this month was pretty good. I’m trying to do more art/craft things, I’m definitely reading more….cooking more, trying new things, feeling more confident at work… Still a long way to go, c’est la vie. But there’s so much to be happy about.

 

The Planning Trap

I have been caught in the planning trap for most of my adult life. Also known as the research trap, this sad, sad phenomenon gives me the false impression that I am doing things–that I’m moving forward, and taking small steps towards the things I want (or think I want, at this point). And in some small, teeny tiny ways, it’s not untrue. But it’s definitely more untrue than true.

When there is something I want to learn more about, or learn how to do, I, like any person, go on a Google-spree. But then I turn into one of those people who starts to read an article and a bit into it, when I realize, “Oh this is good stuff,” will move to something else and decide to come back to it later in order to “give it the proper attention it deserves.” What does that even mean!? Typically, these articles contain good information I’d like to refer back to in the future, but I have no good bookmarking/way of saving things in place. So they stay there, unused, with the end result of initial Googling remaining unrealized. Some times the amount of information is overwhelming and daunting, and halts me right in my tracks.

An example of this comes from a sincere desire to self-improve (as do most of them): I want to become a more financially literate young adult. And honestly, there is no logical point to having over 20 different articles from The Financial Diet open in Chrome. Call it FOMO, call it “covering all of your bases”, but I’ll call it a problem. This is definitely a site where I’m prone to leaving articles open and unread for weeks, knowing there there is so much information I want to retain and implement into my life. I have begun the slow process of cleaning up a younger me’s bookmarks (honestly, I know what folders and subfolders are, so WTF past-me?) as well as other sites like Pinterest and Pocket.

I read this HuffPost article the other day, “9 Excuses Artists Need to Stop Making in 2016” and damn, did some of those sting. Particularly the first and last ones: “I Don’t Have Time” and “I am a Perfectionist.” The first can be be-bunked when taking an honest look at one’s priorities, and the second might require me to get the phrase “Done is better than perfect” tattooed in reverse across my head so that I see it every time I glance at a mirror, because seriously, DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT. The article links to then another fantastic article about being content and embracing imperfection (that stays open in a tab, unread or partially read for several weeks) that would be super helpful if I didn’t trap it–and myself–in this very pointless cycle.

This definitely won’t be the last time I write about dealing with this issue. I think in a world of perfectly filtered, curated, and selectively shared lives via Facebook, Instagram, et all, the problem has come to affect everyone, either subconsciously, or blatantly. I think it causes us to react in different ways, where you have some who hustle and bustle to keep up with the Joneses, others who become resentful, and some of us (lol hi) who sort of stagnate somewhere in the middle. I’m not blaming social media here by any means, as I know this has affected me personally since my childhood days pre-Windows 97. It has definitely augmented the problem, but let’s face it, the main obstacle is yourself…your own opinion about yourself. I think our collective sense of humor (at least over here in NYC area) has become very self-depreciating, but if you keep telling yourself something enough, even as joke, it starts to take hold one way or another.

On the flip side, a little envy can be a good thing too. Being in a field where there is not a whole lot of upward mobility, I can’t help but feel jealous and have those fleeting moments of doubt/insecurity when others succeed. It has and still takes me a lot to digest that other people’s success does not equal your own failure. We live in such a competitive society that I think it’s important to un-learn many of these gut-reactions and behaviors. Seeing people around you succeed should motivate rather than discourage.

Even now, writing this, I’ve felt compelled to stop on multiple occasions because I don’t feel it is good enough. I have over 80 articles for this blog saved in the drafts, and I chip away at them from time to time, but I am always letting myself be deterred. I gave myself challenges this year to both write and read more to help me improve my writing and formulating and articulating my thoughts better. So I just need to fucking do it. And a million other things. I want to get back into tangible art (watercolors, sculpting, papercraft, calligraphy), and explore more digital art (motion graphics, 3D modeling, YouTube videos). I want to cook more and work on collaborative projects with people and make video games. There are so many things I want to jump into, which I know will require me to pick and chose where I invest my time, but for the time being I’m investing none of it, and it’s a goddamn shame.

A plan, therefore, was what made the most sense. It’s the last day of January, and I am still trying to figure out what goals I want to set for myself for the year, and how to best go about accomplishing them. It’s been on my pointless to-do list all month. I don’t want to be one of those people whose blogs/work become super meta in the sense that most of their work is explaining or talking about their work (or lack thereof). I don’t want to become one of those people who is all talk and no action, so here is my talk, which will ideally be followed by action. So I think it helps. I hope this helps.

 

One Year at Blue Sky

Earlier this week, I celebrated my one year anniversary working at Blue Sky Studios. Although I worked for a few months at a small company in NYC before this, this job truly feels like the first one on the path that I want for myself, and thus carries more weight. I remember as far as my 5th month in to working here, wondering if I would ever “get it” and I can confidently, accepting-ly say “no.”

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