[one drawing #21] Buzz

I drew my beloved Woody from Toy Story last week and I couldn’t help but to draw Buzz today. I still remember watching <Toy Story 2> and seeing Buzz Lightyear shouting, “To infinity and beyond!” The line is one of my favorite movie quotes since then. (Oh, Iย  must watch it again!)

So while watching Wimbledon Men’s Championship (Djokovic vs Anderson!) I quickly drew Buzz Lightyear with colored pencils. Feel like grabbing a beer with him!ย ๐Ÿป๐Ÿบ

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Buzz Lightyear

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Making Buzz Lightyear

“To infinity and beyond!”

[one drawing #20] woody

I drew Woody today from Disney character drawing book. <Toy Story> is definitely one of my favorite movies. I cry every time I watch the last scene of <Toy Story 3>.

Perhaps I loved Woody too much that I wanted to make him look very lively: colored his cheeks orange, orange, and orange. Now he looks like he drank 100 ounces of beer or something. Sorry, Woody! Next time I will be nicer. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

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‘Woody’ with orange cheeks

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[Amtrak US #6] making train reservations

After purchasing a USA rail pass and making a travel plan, it was time to make reservations for each train ride. The pass is just a proof that I can do 12 segments of ride within one month. To get a seat for the specific train ride, I needed to make a reservation in advance.

There are two ways to do it.

  1. To make reservation for each train ride as a trip goes on… one or two ride(s) at a time on the road. –> Better if you left your trip schedule to be very flexible.
  2. To make all the reservations at once, before your first trip. –> Better if you made detailed plan for the whole trip in advance. It’s mostly okay to change the reservations afterward, so there’s not too much risk. And it is a MUST if you are going for sleeping cars because they tend to get sold out fast (especially in summer.)

I pretty much finished to make the travelย planย of the entire trip and decided to go for #2, to make reservations for the whole trip at once.

I somehow imagined I could do this online, perhaps maybe on Amtrak website. But I was wrong! Amtrak’s instruction on the website was to make reservations by calling them (1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245)), yes, over the phone. (Or you should send an e-mail if you are outside the US.)

This got me a bit scared because as a non-native English speaker, I wasn’t sure if I could complete the task. I had to make reservations for eight train trips and two thruway bus rides (transfer bus that you can ride with USA rail pass) and that seemed a bit too complicated task to finish over a telephone call. I am now living in the US, so I did not qualify for an e-mail reservation thing. Visiting an Amtrak station seemed like the easiest way, since I would be able to hand over to a staff the printed out timetable I made for my trip. One problem was that visiting the station was NOT stated as an option on Amtrak website.

I googled in desperation and found conflicting results. Somebody said that I should stick with telephone reservations, but another one insisted that I didn’t need to and I should just visit the Amtrak station to make reservations.

So, I decided whatever!… to visit the Amtrak station and give it a try. If they say ‘no,’ I will just make a reservation at the station with my cell phone, right? Moreover, I need to visit the station once anyway to pick up my pass, so why not at least ask?

The nearest Amtrak station from my home is (the beautiful) Boston South Station. I couldย  easily find the Amtrak office on the first floor.

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Amtrak office at Boston South Station

Luckily for me, there was not many customers at the office on the Thursday afternoon.ย  And more luckily for me, the Amtrak staff I walked up to was a really nice lady who was so very willing to help. I asked her if I could pick up my USA rail pass and make reservations for the train rides too. “Sure,” she said without a hesitation. Very relieved, I gave her my reservation number, passport, and the train schedule table that I made before.

She seemed a bit surprised to see so many lines of rides, but quickly returned calm and made each reservation one by one for me. The process took quite a long time, about thirty minutes in total. The lady had to struggle with some kind of Amtrak system problem and somebody came to help etc… but at the end the task was successfully completed. I came out the station with my new USA Rail pass, and tickets for the every train rides from Boston all the way to the west.

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The kind Amtrak staff printed out the whole schedule for me after finishing the reservation

But unfortunately, the story doesn’t end here. I needed to add one more train ride and make time change for another. So I visited the same station again. I thought it would be no problem at all but this time the staff was not too kind to handle the matter. There were more customers in line (like three or four, then later none) and the staff (a young man this time) seemed very annoyed that he had to do something for the USA Rail pass, making sounds of dissatisfaction with whatever he could. He wasn’t shy to let me know that he was unhappy to meet USA Amtrak traveler and told me “this is why we tell you to do it by phone.” I didn’t understand what ‘this’ was, but guessed it might be very hard to carry out the task related to USA rail pass by Amtrak software because he was saying ‘this’ while looking at the monitor and hitting the keyboard hard. I felt like a kiddo in a principal’s office and almost said I was sorry. But anyway, after like ten minutes I successfully got the new tickets!

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Ready to go! All the tickets for the one month Amtrak train trip

So for the train ride reservation, I suggest from my experience that:

  1. make reservation by phone or e-mail in advance if you are comfortable with phone calls. However, it doesn’t mean you have to do it by phone. You technically can make reservations at the station. Amtrak staffs can do this, but sometimes they don’t want to… so art of negotiation might be needed.
  2. if you are to visit the Amtrak office, choose the time that are not too busy… weekday afternoon for example.

And one suggestion for Amtrak: why don’t you make an easy online reservation system for USA rail pass so you can safe both staff members’ย  and travelers’ time?

[one drawing #19] whales

I went to whale watch for the first time in my life with New England Aquarium Whale Watch tour in Boston. Actually, I kind of tried whale watching about two years ago in Norway but the season was not quite right so only thing I saw were dolphins (no offense, dolphins!)

This time was different! We met about five huge whales and two of them even had so much interest in our boat that they circled around and teased us for about 20~30 mins. Whales were right in front of us, breathing out joyfully and diving back down to show their awesome (and huge) tails! People were screaming in joy and now it feels like a dream. I even could feel the water splash from the whales’ breadth in my face (didn’t smell nice, haha. ๐Ÿณ )

So on a way back home, I drew two whales with a pencil. I drew them out of a pamphlet they distributed on a boat. What an interesting world that such fantastic creatures are sharing Earth with us!

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Whales

This is an original drawing I copied from, the painting by Tom Freeman

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‘A Sanctuary Protects Stellwagen Bank’, Tom Freeman

And of course, here are some photos from the tour!

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[one drawing #18] Mom & Emo

I tried to draw from an old photo of my Mom and auntie (‘Emo’ <์ด๋ชจ> in Korean) holding ‘baby-me.’ I picked the photo because it is one of my favorite old black and white picture. And also, if I draw well enough it felt like a good idea to give my drawing to Emo as a present.

Only shortly after starting to draw it I realized ‘oh, I’ve never learned how to draw a portrait.’ I had no clue how to draw a person’s face! Only faces I drew were those of Mickey Mouse+Donald Duck‘s!

At one moment I thought about quitting because Mom and Emo didn’t look like Mom and Emo at all (at one point they didn’t look like a human!) but it felt kind of bad to leave a drawing of family members unfinished… so I kept drawing.

My teacher (Ms. Anne McGhee) told me several times “Don’t try to be a perfectionist.” What an encouraging phrase! So after hours of struggling with the two women’s facesย  (at this point they are totally new characters by my creation) and just blurring my (the baby’s) face,ย  I decided to call it a day. It didn’t feel too bad to almost skip MY face because it is MINE.

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Mom, Emo, and Baby-me

It is good that you always learn from any drawing. So I learned that…

  1. I should learn how to draw a portrait.
  2. drawing a familiar face is very challenging.
  3. if you erase the drawing too many times, you can make a hole in the paper.
  4. just one small dot or line can make a huge difference in a person’s face.

Little bonus for me is that I learned how to make GIF for the first time with a help of a free Mac program, GIPHY Capture.

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