All is well

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Hey there, it’s your captain speaking.

I’m aware that I haven’t updated this blog lately, and I apologize, my life has pretty much taken over. (Ha! A very cliched reason!) Since then I’ve found my muse (which takes away a lot of my free time, ironically), I’ve been traveling quite a bit, been working quite a lot, and I’ll be moving back to Melbourne very soon, which leaves little time for blogging.

But worry not, I’m not going anywhere.

For significant/recent art and work updates I’ve set up another wordpress site: Amel’s Work and Play

For random and not-so-important drawings/projects/photo updates, you can still find and follow me on instagram.

Stay safe and don’t get too drunk!

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TL;DR time: Yay, I’ve done all my turning 30 resolutions!

A few years back I wrote a note on FB (not here on this blog) about “things I wanna do when I turn 30” and now I am pleased say that I’ve done them all! Crossed all the checklists!

Here’s what I originally wrote, and my additional notes from 2013 are in red.

1. Get up earlier everyday (and consequently go to bed earlier every night)
Because they said the older we get, the less sleep we will need. Anyways, they also said that it’s healthy to get up early, and it doesn’t hurt to have some extra time in the morning to do stuff.

Note: Done. My resolution backfired. Now I’m an insomniac and I generally sleep from 12-4, do stuff, then sleep again 7-9.

2. Have better and more fulfilling work
Friends and employees, this does not necessarily mean jumping ship. It’s not that my recent one suck, last year was really slow and I just feel that I need more challenges and I need to be waaay more busy than I already am right now at work. Colleagues, can’t you see I’m knitting to pass the time? I am a born workaholic and I intend to keep it that way! All that said, I hope this year will be a busy and prosperous and soul-fulfilling one.

Note: Soul-fulfilling? Please! I am completely happy with what I’m doing now. Freelancing is one of the best things I’ve done in my career. Jessie was right. It’s not all about the money. As I get older, I realized that time is just as important.

3. Exercise more
You have to grow old healthy and gracefully. So, before my metabolism rate goes way slower with age, and I turn into an obese blob on a motorized scooter, right now I’m considering these 3 (Gym location) options. Friends, help me choose!

Note: I now exercise 3-4 days a week for minimal half an hour! F yes! And I don’t even need a gym!

4. Smoke less
I don’t wanna say I’m gonna quit just yet. I’m reducing my intake. I’m on my way there. 

Note: September last year I went cold turkey and did not smoke at all for 4 months. Now I smoke a cig or two every 2 weeks, which I (gracefully) steal from my smoker friends, so think about it, I’m actually doing them a favor. Seriously though I need to quit for real! 

5. Do acoustic cover songs on YouTube AKA running out of important resolutions.
OK, this one is totally irrelevant, but there is a part of me who wants to be famous anonymously on the internet and rise to Marie Digby level of popularity. What the heck.

Note: Yes, I did covers on Youtube. I recorded some, then I realized that I can’t sing 😦 Well, then I did a few more songs with me not singing, which turned out 100x better, but unfortunately my youtube partner is currently away in America. So I think I need to find other ways to be famous on YouTube.

It’s almost 6AM, I’m gonna try to get back to bed…

September 1

Welp, another fresh month! Is it only me or there’s something magical about September?

I think I’m going to do a 365 project starting today because I’m feeling magical. The problem is I don’t know which 365 project to pursue?

I have until tonight to decide~…

1. 365 sketch journals?
Hear, hear, I don’t draw enough as I’m supposed to. About this project, It’s gonna be simple sketches like my 30 days of snakes, but can be about anything. I might also attempt “tegami” style if I can find a suitable brush pen!

2. 365 Watch & Bracelet combos?
I have 8+ watches and about 100 bracelets in rotation. My good friend once noticed that in 1 year of working together with me, she noticed that I never wear the same bracelet & wrist watch combo more than once. Let’s prove her right.

Ah, a wrist fashion project? Can I pull this off? I don’t have the budget to buy a lot more watches (and I shouldn’t) so I gotta get creative… What a tall order…

3. 365 Self taken photos with DBLCAM
I love DBLCAM. you can take photos from both sides of your phone cam (front and back) simultaneously and save as collage. But.. forget it. I’m not even that good looking 😀

One year of freelancing

Time does fly!

It’s been one year since I packed up and left my office and advertising life for (my own) good! One year later, and look, I’m still alive, physically and mentally well, my bank balance did not suffer from not having a steady source of income, I have loads of free time, and best of all I’ve learned a lot.

Making the decision to freelance has been one of the best things I’ve ever done.  It is not without any problems, though, but I could always use a challenge or two. They keep life interesting.

Anyway, without further ado, I would like to share a few random things I have learned during my year of freelancing.

1. You need dedicated workspace and equipment
I live with my Oma in a fabulous, conveniently located house with double bed, air conditioning, wifi, cable TV, free food and drinks all day, but without space for a desk! I cannot stress this enough, if you’re gonna work at home you gotta have your own space to work, and your own desk, and working in your bed doesn’t count! Ask my bad back!

At first I was okay with working in the coffee table on a floor seat in the living room, or on the dining table, but soon I found myself distracted by everyone else’s activities and noise, not to mention the heat (the living room is non air-conditioned), that I would rather go out, and sit in a cafe to work! Now this creates a new problem, because working 5 days a week in cafes might sound great, but it means I’m spending extra money just to work on a proper desk! Ha!

I don’t have a solution for this yet, other than sucking it up (I try my best), moving out (I don’t really want to), or replace my queen bed with a single bed in order to make space for a desk (I don’t want to either, single bed = forever alone).

Equipment wise, I also can’t stress enough the importance of good internet connection, whether at home or mobile. Also, since you’re on your own resources, try to have reliable work computer that’s not about to explode or one that’s extremely old (I’d rephrase it as “well preserved”) like mine.

IMAG1279Sometimes when I don’t wanna spend a lot, I work in the mall food court, buy a drink and bring my own food. I’m really that pathetic…

2. You need to manage your moneys!
See quote: A penny saved is a penny earned. When you’re freelancing and you get paid, don’t spend it all, save it. That’s obvi. Also, always have some reserve fund. I’m no financial planner but when I quit my job I have about 10x of my monthly salary saved in my bank account for safety measures. This way I can be sure that just in case I’m running into a dry spell, I won’t have debt collectors chasing my ass for not paying bills etc. Being sensible is the key to not falling into poverty!

3. Choose your clients well
Hey, creatives! For the first time in your life, you have the power to choose who your clients are, so choose well! Ideally those are the ones who can communicate and collaborate well with you, appreciates your work, and pays promptly. (Ideally). No matter how desperate your situation are, don’t go into the “beggars can’t be choosers” mentality. If you agreed yourself to a deal you’re not happy with, it will show up in your work.

4. Set time to rest and play
When I was an employee, I always look forward to weekends. Weekends are for rest and play.  Now that I’m freelancing, I often think, hey, I don’t have a 9-5 schedule anymore, I can work ANYTIME I want. So I did, including working on weekends, working late nights after 12AM, working on public holidays. And look where it got me, I got myself sick. At first I thought that freelancers don’t really have holidays, because since I don’t go work in a office, everyday is already like a holiday, and more work delivered means moar money! Well, I have learnt that it’s not the case! No matter what your work arrangements are, your mind and body always need rest, so remember to turn off that computer occasionally and do something fun to recharge.

5. My word is my bond.
You work in an office. You get paid monthly. I get paid when I deliver. Therefore I gotta try my best to deliver, deliver the best stuff, and deliver them ON TIME. It’s that simple! Keep your clients happy by keeping your promises. Happy clients are paying clients. Happy clients means repeat clients, and repeat clients means more money, obvi. 

6. Keep yourself constantly inspired
Easier said than done! Relates directly to advice #5 and best achieved through #4. Artist’s block sucks, so try not to get into one!

That’s it for now. I’ll write some more when I have more ideas. Feel free to include your thoughts in your comments. Now I gotta get back to work… on my 5-year old computer… on my bed. Ha!

Complicated bitch with a heart of gold

It was just half past six in the afternoon, it was dark, and it was raining hard. I was standing on the side of the road, in front of the Citibank building near Plaza Pondok Indah, with just a narrow canopy between me and the violent wind and the pouring rain. I was trying my best to catch any taxi cab, and sadly, there were none of them for the last few minutes… and I was cold without a jacket in a cotton shirt and knee length skirt.

At long last! I saw one heading my way from a distance. I hastily ran out of the shelter and hailed the cab. It was an older cab, possibly a Kotas or a Kosti. Definitely not a Blue Bird, Putra or Express, the only 3 taxicab companies that I can trust. On the other hand, Kotas and Kosti cabs, they’re known to be less safe and trustworthy. On a normal, non-rainy day, I wouldn’t think twice to catch such cabs, for a reason!

“Good evening Pak, turn around at the next u-turn and go towards Pondok Indah Mall.” I ordered as I got in. He didn’t say anything, but he proceeded towards the u-turn 50 metres away. For those of you who don’t know, I live on a street next to the mall, and just about 5-10 minutes drive from the spot I boarded the cab. My destination was conveniently close for me, but apparently not for him.

As we approached the u-turn, he asked me, “How about I charge you a flat fee of Rp. 20.000,-? It’s too close for a metered trip.” I was like, wtf man! As far as I know, all taxicabs in Jakarta must charge by the meter. That’s the rule. So I argued, “Sorry I don’t think so. If you don’t want to turn on the meter, I’d rather get off here, now. I’d like to pay by the meter, please, sir.”

Note: The flag-fall for the trip was Rp. 5000,- and it will cost approximately Rp. 10.000,- on the meter to get to my house, which was HALF the cost he asked for. I knew he was making use of the opportunity,  which was the bad weather. Also, he’s a driver for a dodgy cab company. I’m pretty sure and I do hope that Any Blue Bird driver won’t do this!

It was clear that I was bluffing, and I was bluffing hard, cos the rain was pouring even more heavier than ever, and should I get off the cab in protest, there was no shelter anywhere in sight! I’d be drenched to my under-whatevers in no time.

He didn’t say anything again – but after awhile., I observed that he DID turn the meter on for this short short trip. Ha. I won!

Not even 5 minutes later, we arrived at my house. I told him to stop, and I read the meter. Rp. 9.750. Ha, I was right! I opened the door, gave him the Rp. 20.000,- note, and walked out. He was like, “Mbak, wait, your change!” Then I went. “Nah, you keep the change”. With that, I closed the cab door and ran into the house.

I ended up paying Rp. 20.000,- for the trip after all – which was the ridiculous amount he requested, but I didn’t mind. Maybe Rp. 10.000 would mean a lot to him, and I was happy that I could help. But not before I teach him not to take advantage of girls in the rain. Ha!

And so that ends my totally nonsense story for today.