Glowing red LED shoes

DIY: LED Sneakers

On a mission to not make tutus or wear furry boots at my first Electric Daisy Carnival.

I haven’t worked on a project since last August. My best friend decided to throw a DIY wedding, and all the bridesmaids painted/glued/calligraphied the sh*t out of our minds. I love crafting with my hands, but I probably got through it knowing there was going to be an open bar at the end. Since then I haven’t had the time to tackle a new project with work piling up and new students enrolling into classes and leading weekly arts & crafts for my students.

But the time has come.

I attended my first Electric Daisy Carnival. I thought a lot about what to make and what to wear. I researched photos of girls decked out in kandi, sparkling with glitter from head to toe, flaunting toned bodies while wearing a tinier bikini than the itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny-yellow-polkadot-bikini. I’ve watched how to make tutus, kandi masks, and on pulling off the perfect rave leg wrap. None of this appealed to me, as I happen to be a simple creature. None of this appealed to me as much as these:

Shoes glowing with LED lights

Pretty lights!

I found an amazing tutorial on YouTube (check it out), and followed step by step. Here’s my journey on making two pairs of LED sneakers.

First, the materials.

You're supposed to see a collage of materials here. Too bad you can't.

Pictured above are: (1) copper nuggets cut from (2) copper wires, (3) electrical tape to hold the (4) LED strip, (5) 9V batteries, and (6) battery snap connectors.

Not shown are: sneakers, ballpoint pen cap, glue.

Second, the doing.

Attaching LED strip to shoes

Epoxy everywhere.

I thought attaching the LED strip to the shoes was going to be the easiest part. I mean, the strips came with strong adhesives in the back. But the bottom of the shoes are curved, and I should have known it wouldn’t stick. I had to pull out my epoxy glue to make sure the LED strip stuck well. I couldn’t think of a better way to clamp the strip, so I taped all the shoes like mummies for an entire day. At least it worked.

Pen cap

These little suckers were hard to find. I don’t use BIC pens.

This part is a little hard to explain. I stuck RBG and the ground wire into the pen cap and poured copper nuggets in. Once closed, it served as a switch. When I moved, the copper nuggets moved around to create different color combinations. I actually only know half of what I’m talking about. If you watch the video posted above, you’ll understand.

Glowing LED shoes

Finished a day before the carnival.

I was afraid we wouldn’t get in wearing the shoes, since they stated “no LED gloves or microLEDs for lightshows.” It was vague, and I’m a worrywort. But we got in through security, and I had my first EDC experience! Now I know what people are talking about, why it’s so hyped, why people go over the top in creating costumes and deck out in lights. I’m a little sad my boyfriend’s shoe stopped working the minute we plugged in our batteries. But the entire experience is for another blog post.

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Riding into the night

I Just Ride

Disclaimer: My dreams tend to be embedded with graphic imagery (mostly sexual). Read at your own risk. Or pleasure. Whatever.

The Infinity Track was where every racer and night-owl wanted to ride. Open only after sundown, it was known for being the only track suspended in the air above the Pacific like a bridge. This figure-eight was enormous in size for a racetrack, one might even call it a highway. Lights studded on both sides of the road and hanging from the cables hypnotized riders both dangerously and beautifully.

I had been on the wait-list since the beginning of summer. The track could not be open to the public, since its popularity would exceed maximum capacity.

Blackout.

I am on the road, riding. I could see nothing but the track and darkness beyond. I breathe the salty air, listen to the rolling waves, bathe in speed and light. I could finally let myself go, forget about who I am and what I’ve done and where I’ve been. I drive with the ocean, speed into the night. I ride into infinity. I just ride.

I hear the birds on the summer breeze
I drive fast, I am alone in midnight
Been tryin’ hard not to get into trouble
But I, I’ve got a war in my mind
I just ride, just ride
I just ride, just ride.

Hiking at Cold Spring Harbor

Then losing my car keys.

I’ve been hiking since I could remember walking. My family was big on it, back in Korea. We trailed the mountains near Seoul every weekend. My dad would bring a bottle of makguli (막걸리) with him and pour two celebratory drinks at the top – one for him and one for me. I was 8-years old, but this was acceptable for some reason.

Last weekend, Long Island was supposed to be in the high 70s for the first time this year. My sister and I decided to go back to our old spot – Cold Spring Harbor State Park. The trail is only two miles round trip, but even this short moment of fresh air and peace of nature is worth the 30-minute drive.

A sign that reads: FOOT TRAIL ONLY

Horses sound fun though.

I only started taking pictures once I got to the end. Oops.

Oooh, pretty trees.

My mom calls it the Forbidden Forest.

This is basically what the trail looks like at the top of each hill. It’s quiet and calming, and hikers sit on logs and eat their cute snacks here.

Hiking steps

Steps of doom.

So to get to the peaceful area from before, you have to walk up a crazy amount of steps. They look tiny and harmless, but a couple of these hills gets my heart bursting out of my sports bra. I actually dragged my sister along with me to the hike. She was on the fence about it, having walked circles around Six Flags the day before. It’s amazing she could still hike.

Trees against the sky

I was looking for a woodpecker.

I was having my moment, listening to the birds. Yes, I like going out to the city to breathe pollution, listen to loud music, and rub shoulders with sweaty people. But I love being alone with Mother Nature. These are the moments I feel whole again.

Cold Spring Harbor sign

No dogs allowed? Oh, only if the parks department knew.

We came back to where we started the trail! Wow, that was a good hike. I’m so sweaty but excited to have finished it! Well, time to drive home. Let me just reach into my pocket and -. Oh, sh*t. I made a small scene and made other hikers feel bad for me (I heard them say so). My sister and I had no choice but to retrace our steps and hope I had dropped the keys somewhere visible on the road. Every hiker who passed by, I asked to keep a look out for car keys. Did you know when you’re focusing on something other than the fact you’re hiking up and down multiple steps, you don’t feel fatigue?

Midpoint of the trail, we ran into a couple who asked, “Did anyone lose car keys?” To which I answered, “You are my savior.” I was eternally thankful for those kind hikers. Is everyone this nice? I really need to go hiking more.

The lesson is: don’t put your car keys in a shallow pocket of a sports jacket. Oh, and enjoy nature. Go outside, listen to the birds, and breathe the air.

The Kitchen Faucet is Chrome

Disclaimer: My dreams tend to be embedded with graphic imagery (mostly sexual). Read at your own risk. Or pleasure. Whatever.

I walked around my new apartment in the city, stoked for my first Electric Daisy Carnival New York experience. I was even more excited to share it with the one I loved, a boyfriend of roughly a year (I say roughly, because we don’t know when our relationship became what it is now). We had our rave gear ready, our kandis collected, our drugs bought, our vitamins stocked.

Blackout.

I was at a parking lot. A girl came up to me and asked if I wanted to buy an EDC ticket for $40. I got mine for $160, the normal way. I don’t know why I thought it would be a good idea, but I bought her ticket on top of the one I already had.

What was I supposed to do with two tickets? I didn’t even buy tickets for different days. I had two Saturday tickets.

I called D.

“So now we have three tickets for EDC on Saturday. Do you want to try selling one of them to make some money?”

“I gotta go.” He sounded bored.

“Oh, okay. See you soon?”

Click.

He didn’t even reply to me. Something was off.

Blackout.

I looked through D’s notebook. Or maybe it was a yearbook. He’d left it at my place. There were a lot of photos. There was one girl who kept popping up, page after page. She was a mix of Asian and Caucasian. She was bigger than me. Shoulder length brown hair, liked to wear cardigans and cowboy boots. She drew hearts all over his notebook, leaving behind love notes I did not bother to read.

I turned the chrome knob to turn on the shower. I stepped under the running water and let the heat steam up the glass wall. I saw D and friends walk in through the front. The girl was with him. I smiled. The bathroom had no walls. Everyone could see me in the shower, naked and wet and vengeful. D and I locked eyes through the glass. He looked away first.

I stepped out of the shower, still naked and dripping wet. I didn’t even bother to grab a towel. My apartment was temperature controlled. It was perfect for bare skin.

I grabbed a tall glass cup and filled it with water from my chrome kitchen faucet. I handed it to the girl, “Drink.”

“Hey, I’m really sorry- ”

“Drink.”

Blackout.

D told me I was too crazy and psychotic to keep up with. I moved too fast. I thought too much. My mind went to places he didn’t know existed. I was dark and evil. It scared him. I scared him. That was his justification for cheating on me for weeks on end.

I didn’t feel anything. No remorse. I stared out my window, into the evening cityscape. No sadness. I ran my fingers against the smooth chrome faucet. No regret. I couldn’t feel anything.

Orange skies

Sydney Skies are Orange

Disclaimer: My dreams tend to be embedded with graphic imagery (mostly sexual). Read at your own risk. Or pleasure. Whatever.

My family and I were driving our Jeep Laredo on an interplanetary vacation. We may have been going to Mars. I wasn’t driving, so I didn’t care. We drove through the clouds with our windows rolled down. I reached out, as if to touch the cluster of water molecules. We were driving over Sydney, Australia. I looked down and marveled at the sight of the reflective ocean. It perfectly mirrored the bright orange skies and the blazing setting sun. I begged my father to drive down so we can take shelter there for the night.

The Jeep began drifting slowly to the ground. The pace picked up and the car descended a lot faster than was comfortable. I felt my stomach shrivel into the size of a raisin. We then began falling through the skies, falling fast into the brilliant shimmering body of water. Just a moment before we crashed, the car began hovering. We were hovering over a marbled floor. No more ocean, no more orange skies.

Blackout.

We met a family of blond-haired blue-eyed people. The girl, a little older than me, helped park our car in their driveway. The boy, my age, stayed around the corner of every wall, careful not to interact with us. The parents dwelled somewhere in the house, but they never made an entrance.

My parents began boiling tea in the kitchen without permission. My younger sisters and I started a conversation with the blond-haired home owners to distract them. I really wanted tea, and I didn’t want to get caught stealing. The girl played with her spectacular blond hair throughout the entire conversation. What a ditz. The kettle whistled. Our spot was blown. My parents dumped the boiling water into a thermos. It was time to get the hell out of here.

We left through the back. We got into the Jeep and stepped on the gas pedal like there was no tomorrow. I scaled the side of the house and slowly flew over the roof. I saw the girl tanning on the rooftop, writing in her diary. She said she expected all of this to happen. She claimed she dreamt about it. I looked into a house window and noticed the blond boy staring at me. We locked eyes. I didn’t know his name. I looked away and hurriedly flew after my family. What an exhilarating feeling to fly by oneself again.

Blackout. I woke up. I felt him calling for me, so I fell back into the dream.

I left my family and flew back to the house. His window was open. I stepped into his room. He was a lot taller than I remembered. He was much more built than I expected. His hair was sleeked back with a small strand of hair falling to the front of his face. I was frozen and I did not know why.

His hand wrapped around my waist and pulled me in closer. Closer. Ever closer. Skin touching skin. Sweat rolling down my back, his breath rolling off my neck. Heart beat racing and racing faster. He strapped me into his bed. It was for stealing his tea, he said. He left his room, leaving me strapped to his bed in the middle of the night in Sydney, Australia.

Coffee is Honey Latte

Happy Mother’s Day y’all.

moss jar

Somebody shook it up. I don’t know who and I don’t know why.

I made my mom an amateur moss garden in a mason jar with a long letter inside. There’s no Mother’s Day in Korea; only Parents’ Day (어버의날). I suspect today to be a money-making holiday (I’m looking at you Hallmark), but it’s a thoughtful holiday nonetheless.

My boyfriend also left for Boston today. After church, we embarked on a mission to soak in as much sun as possible. The winter slowly rolled away and has made way for summer. Apparently, there is no spring in New York. After driving around in Queens with our music blasting and windows down, we found our safe-haven at a coffee shop. No, not at Starbucks. This was BEAN & BEAN.

There's ice cream and coffee here

The caffeine rush was insane yo.

I’ve complained about coffee being expensive in the past, and I won’t stop now. But I also haven’t drank coffee in over 3 months, and the Honey Latte was definitely a treat. And the Earl Grey gelato. And Black Sesame gelato. And Mango sherbet. Mmm.

Sunset at the suburbs

The view as we run / workout.

My sister and I go on nightly workouts. I usually run while she practices volleyball, but I have to run in circles around the school because she doesn’t like it when I leave her by herself.

Every weekend, I struggle with balancing my time between my family and my visiting boyfriend. The weekdays are not considered “quality family time” in my family, so I end up spending my days with the fambam and my nights with the boyfriend.

At least I know what I’ll be spending my time on during the week. It involves shoes and lights. Can you guess what it’ll be?

Bye-Bye Blogger

Hello WordPress

I’ve been reading up on the differences between Blogger and WordPress, and I’ve finally decided to give this a try. Many times I start something new and become obsessive about it. A week or two later, it’s disappeared from my mind. Hopefully this won’t be one of those. I intend to use it as an outlet of my thoughts, a diary of my dreams, a record of my ideas.

Before I leave, a reminder by Hermann Hesse of the push and pull, yin and yang, Tui and La.

We are sun and moon, dear friend; we are sea and land. It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is: each the other’s opposite and complement.