May 23, 2007

Eastward, Ho

My week-long sabbatical from the Internet was bizarre, disorienting, akin to losing one of my senses.

I turned twenty-four. I "celebrated" with an aggressively lackluster night out with M. and Zoe, then spent all of the next day working on boring things.

I went to this restaurant for the first time and liked it. A drunken M. told me I should be taking Wellbutrin.

I got myself into a nasty bike accident on the way to the train; good thing for that clunky helmet. Crossed an intersection at a trillion mph trying to make it past a yellow light; a cab cut me off; still hoping to make the light, I pulled a rather risky move and caught my wheel in a rail track, hit the ground in a serious way. My helmet whacked against the pavement and one of my palms was subjected to a deep scrape. I still have shoulder and neck pain from that incident, plus a broken backpack and a cut-up palm. Awesome. I should probably learn not to barrel down busy streets as fast as I can, but I hate slowness so much--

Since M. isn't taking classes until September, he's become a manic party-planner and promoter. Now he wants to make money from it. He's been doing little else. An unfortunate side-effect of this social-mania has been his newfound obsession with social networking sites, Myspace especially. He treats the incredibly silly business of "getting more friends on Myspace" as a job. For instance: "I can't go to bed until I have ten more friends." Or, "I can't help with dinner because I need to make a party flyer." For a while, he spent all his time looking for hot girls on Myspace to be his friends because, he explained, convincing people that hot girls will be at a party is the best way of advertising it. Like the sleazy clubs in Tijuana, I said (ladies free!). Either I'm substantially less patient than I was a year ago, or M. has become substantially more infuriating. I vote for the latter. As well as the former.

There will be a giant party-to-end-all-parties in early June, a birthday celebration of sorts for Rockstar Friend. Rockstar Friend's band will be playing. And M. will be DJing. Sam will be DJing. One of M. and Rockstar Friend's ex-bandmates will be DJing. Three big local DJs will also be there, as well as some supposedly big blogger from the East coast. And all of this will happen, God help me, on a Sunday, which will also be, since the world hates me, the night after I fly back from ten days' "vacation"* on the East coast. (As soon as we land on that Saturday, we will go see Rockstar Friend's band play at a venue, followed by a party at an after-hours club where M. and Sam will be spinning.)

My flight leaves at six tomorrow morning, it is ten thirty already, and I haven't even thought about packing yet. M. is meanwhile busily Myspacing and party-planning. Christ.

I'll be back once all this insanity is over. Unless, of course, I first burst into flames, which seems increasingly likely.

* I put that in quotation marks because it will be the least relaxing vacation I can imagine. It involves early mornings and late nights, as well as ostensible telecommuting and not-particularly-laid-back cities (DC and NY). Moreover, in NY, we will be staying with one of M.'s friends with whom I have an ugly history and who does not particularly like me. She is close friends with M.'s ex-girlfriend, whom I will probably meet and spend some time with. And so on. Pant; die.

May 15, 2007

Whiskey You're the Devil

I'm not pleased with the seemingly exponential acceleration of time. There is so much to do, and the last few years have gone where, exactly?

I've been entertaining the notion of taking a one-week hiatus from l'Internet. Beginning tomorrow, tentatively. Clearly I can't abandon email if I am to remain a vaguely productive member of society, but even excepting email, this would be much, much tougher than Sober Month. If I'm feeling particularly radical, maybe I'll take a break from news entirely and abstain from The Economist, too. Perhaps it will be good for me.

Similarly, M. is trying to give up whiskey after waking up on Saturday morning, hung over and having little recollection of what went on the previous night. "The last thing I remember, we were standing at the bar with the DJ and his girlfriend, and then he handed me another Maker's Mark. What happened after that? How did we get home?"

Blacking out is scary. I did it exactly once my senior year of college, roughly a week before I broke up with my then-boyfriend. According to observers I was uncharacteristically loose-lipped, spilling my own secrets as well as somebody else's. Ever since, I've worked hard to avoid such alcohol-induced amnesia, and succeeded. Whiskey causes M. to black out quite frequently, which is, frankly, grounds for concern. So I welcome his decision to avoid the stuff, even if I'm skeptical that he'll succeed.

Here are some unrelated photos.

These are carnitas sopes:

I recently signed up for a car share service and first used it on Sunday, when we drove to one of the peninsular suburbs partly in order to buy pet supplies but mostly as an excuse to eat these exquisite plates of fatty awesomeness. We'd been in withdrawal for more than a year, sadly. The secret to these particular specimens is their crusts, which are made of a thick corn meal that is doubtless held together with plenty of tasty, tasty lard. M. and I order it with spoonfuls of hot salsa, but even that's not masochistic enough for us, so we brought a raw habanero pepper to dice and add on top of them, too.

Here is a plaster goat that Sam's girlfriend gave to us for safekeeping while she searches for an apartment. The (dumber) cat was terribly frightened of it at first and hid downstairs, cringing, for hours.

M.'s shitty phone finally died over the weekend, leaving this artistic-looking pattern permanently on its screen:

A few weekends ago, when the weather was perfect, M. and I went with his dad and stepmom to see this exhibit at one of the city's big museums. The coffee in the cafe was crap, but I rather liked the design of the cafe itself:

May 14, 2007

The Facebookization of Lameness

Like 99% of people my age, I have a profile on Facebook. I think it's pretty stupid and use it for absolutely nothing besides stalking people I haven't seen in ages (I mean, "keeping track of old friends"), but for that reason alone it's quite useful.

I discovered another use for it yesterday, when it informed me that my ex-boyfriend A., whom I dated for five and a half years, had "de-friended" me. I was aware that my brother plays stupid de-friending games with his zillion underage Myspace ex-girlfriends, but I had assumed that adults who don't still live with their parents don't do that sort of thing. The only person I know who has been de-friended was Zoe, who slept with a crazy acquaintance's boyfriend without knowing they were still together. A crazy acquaintance. Removing someone from a friend list in a social networking site seems a petty, ineffective, and especially silly way of registering one's displeasure.

Thus my ex-boyfriend joins the ranks of my brother's Myspace harem and Zoe's cuckoo acquaintance. The best part is that I don't even know what I did to deserve the dreaded/farcical de-friending treatment. No idea. I have exchanged a few brief emails with him recently, perfectly cordial ones, and that is all. Synopsis: devoid of context, childish, and lame.


The weekend was brutal. I almost vomited in the train this morning, but barely managed to suppress it. Maybe I'll write about le weekend later, but now I need to do unimaginably boring things on the computer.

May 11, 2007

More Fun With Linguistics

Continuing with the "I'm too tired to write anything vaguely coherent" theme, here's a gee-whiz map showing what parts of the country use what generic term for soft drinks:

It's funny how there are a few islands of "soda" in the Midwestern sea of "pop." I always wondered why M. said "soda" when every other Midwesterner I've known said "pop," but now I can see that eastern Wisconsin, for whatever reason, differs from the rest of the region (save parts of Missouri and Illinois).

I wonder if there's a map showing whether people call a dollar bill a "single." Or whether someone is likely to refer to Interstate 5 as "the 5." (Is that unique to Southern California?) These are all extremely important matters, I know.

May 9, 2007


If you were lucky enough to catch last night's inebriated anti-fun rant, you might guess that I've spent the day drowsy, resentful, and brain-dead. And you'd be right. I am not nearly sharp enough to function passably on three hours of sleep, even if I define "functioning" as "being able to write in a personal blog that hardly anyone reads." Not a particularly high bar, to be sure.

So instead, a few factoids from the exciting world of ethnic/linguistic geography.

- Papua New Guinea alone has at least 830 distinct languages.

- The Lemba tribe of southern Zimbabwe is descended from the Cohen tribe of Israel.

- Maltese is kind of a fusion between Arabic and Italian.

- Hindi and Urdu are close to being the same language, though written in Sanskrit and Arabic characters respectively. The language spoken in most Bollywood films is supposedly closer to Urdu than it is to official Hindi.

- Indonesia chose a version of Malay as its official language because it was easy to learn, not because any significant percentage of Indonesians actually spoke it--they didn't. Javanese was actually the largest language group in Indonesia, but the government considered it unworkable because it was a difficult language to learn.

- Don't be surprised if any of these factoids are somewhat incorrect. I am in no condition for fact-checking.

May 8, 2007


The weather in the city has been perfect, maybe a little above perfect. Last night, instead of eating out, blogging, learning calculus, cooking, reading, harassing cats, or stalking my brother on Myspace, I sat on the porch with M., eating bread with cheese, olives, and duck pate as slowly as possible like a goddamn French person. The difference being that the French probably don't do so while watching South Park on their laptops, but perhaps I underestimate them.

It was all very relaxing. What was very much not relaxing was being awoken at 4am from a deep sleep by the sound of jackhammers--at 4am!--pounding at the sidewalk outside the building. Actually, since I was still delirious from deep sleep, my first thought was something more like "artillery! I'm going to die!" or "North Korea!" or "wailing and gnashing of teeth!", but regardless, it was certainly enough to jolt me awake. It turned out to be the gas and electric company. They jackhammered away for at least half an hour. Isn't there a law against pseudo-governmental monopolies wielding jackhammers in residential neighborhoods at 4am?

Also not relaxing was M.'s bending his bicycle wheel this morning. Now we are condemned to take the rail to work, which is far and away inferior to cycling.

May 6, 2007


Several years ago, when I had my wisdom teeth removed, the orthodontist looked through the x-ray machine--or whatever it was; I could be wrong from all that valium--and told me that I had a bad left jaw. "You may not notice it now," he said, "but one day your jaw will start hurting, and you'll live with that chronic pain for the rest of your life."

"The rest of my life? Won't there be something you can do about it?"

"Well, there's radical surgery--but that's risky, and probably not worth it."

Two weeks ago, I woke up with pain in my left jaw. I'm worried because it hasn't gotten much better. Chewing hurts. I can't touch the top molars to the bottom ones without pain. I wonder, is this where the lifelong chronic pain begins?

May 4, 2007


This post will be as brainless as possible. And that's a promise.

In other words, it will be one of those lame "list of things about me" posts that conveniently requires little thought, effort, or structure, while still sucking up a big chunk of time that could otherwise be used for, say, work or study.

Let the laziness begin.

1. I have no piercings or tattoos.
2. I am 1/8 Chinese and 3/8 "latina," whatever that means.
3. My mother's maiden name would be Li if her grandmother had not been bullied by her racist parents into rejecting her husband's conspicuous foreign surname. (Her family disowned her anyway.)
4. I loathe the feeling of heaters and of clothes fresh out of the dryer.
5. I still have dozens of chicken pox scars.
6. My dad grew up Mormon.
7. I really have no idea what he thinks of religion, but he seems to tolerate my mom's evangelism. He won't go to church, though.
8. My paternal grandmother sued my dad's younger brother for all he was worth. He was so
infuriated that he cut off all contact from the family, to the point that I don't know the name of my only female cousin on my dad's side, and we haven't seen her brothers since they (and I) were little kids.
9. I have never broken or sprained a bone or joint.
10. I have never really "dated" like normal people and I don't think I would be very good at it.
11. My latent OCD emerges when it comes to food.
12. I use my hands to dismember dishes containing questionable ingredients; I admit I am completely disgusting. In particular, I painstakingly remove fat and gristle from meat. (And onions from everything.)
13. I was an Ayn Rand nut in high school.
14. I'm not at all anymore.
15. I'm squishily a libertarian, though. More or less. I think some of the hardcore ones are loony, though.
16. I think my addiction to political news is an illness.
17. I think price theory is fun.
18. I worry that I'll never do anything about my social anxiety disorder because doing so would probably mean going to a psychiatrist and otherwise talking to people.
19. I think grammar, syntax, spelling--all those boring things about language--are fun.
20. I dated my first boyfriend for five and a half years.
21. Two weeks after I broke up with him, I started dating my current boyfriend.
22. I hate people who block the escalator when I'm trying to walk up.
23. I always walk up the escalator, quickly.
24. I have an excellent sense of direction.
25. I always plan walking, driving, or biking routes on the maps that are always in my head.
26. I once considered myself a patient person, but I don't anymore.
27. I think that the question of whether or not I get along with another person is nearly independent of taste or common interest; I almost see it as a "chemical" thing analogous to sexual attraction.
28. Sometimes I wear sunglasses only to avoid having to figure out whether or not to make eye contact with people I pass on the street. Believe it or not, this causes a lot of stress for me.
29. Talking on the phone is enormously stressful, too. I avoid phone calls to the point of handicap.
30. I rarely wear high heels, but I can walk in them when I need to.
31. I was hostile towards the color pink as a child. Reactionary, even.
32. I was also one of those kids who violently abused Barbie dolls and petulantly refused to accept them as gifts.
33. I was a complete loudmouth until puberty.
34. My shoes (today) are all white and fasten with velcro.
35. I'm enormously happy that my boyfriend is not a romantic.
36. In the first grade I nearly gave my teacher a heart attack when I caught a gopher snake during recess and brought it back to my desk. I became righteously angry when she dared to suggest that I had no way of telling whether it was poisonous or not: of course I did.
37. Relatively speaking, I think I peaked in elementary school.
38. I got sick from bad mayonnaise in the 4th grade and haven't been able to touch the stuff since.
39. My dad built the house I grew up in, with help from my grandfather and one of my mom's brothers.
40. I am not a fan of the marijuana.
41. I think the drug war is a disgrace and that most (if not all) drugs should be legal.
42. Flying scares the shit out of me.
43. I recognize this is irrational, however, and don't let it govern my traveling decisions.
44. I can't sleep without earplugs.
45. I also wear one of those dorky sleep masks.
46. I was creepily obsessed with Pink Floyd in early high school.
47. I think I desperately needed obsessions back then because I had no social life.
48. As a freshman I used to keep a journal in which I wrote "letters" addressed to Roger Waters of Pink Floyd.
49. I used to hide my CDs and tastes in music in the same way that my peers would hide their drugs and birth control.
50. My parents met on a blind date.
51. My mom didn't speak much English at the time.
52. I have eight uncles and one aunt by blood.
53. My mom's youngest brother is gay and my grandmother copes with the fact by pretending it isn't true.
54. My mom didn't tell me my uncle was gay until I was, oh, twenty? Not that I hadn't figured it out a long, long time ago.
55. I stopped believing in Santa Claus in first grade, but I kept pretending I believed in him (and the Easter Bunny) until the sixth grade so as not to spoil my mom's illusions.
56. I would be surprised if any of my elementary school teachers did not remember me, even today.
57. I hate shopping for shoes.
58. I get most of my clothes from a thrift store a block from my apartment.
59. The movie The Santa Clause used to give me nightmares.
60. So did Mrs. Doubtfire.
61. I almost cried when Gene Siskel died of brain cancer. I was in eighth grade at the time.
62. I hate to cry in front of other people and very, very rarely do.
63. The one person I had a "fling" with at the beginning of college ended up leaving school for a while in order to spend time in jail for drunk driving.
64. I like to forget about those embarrassing two months.
65. Everyone in my freshman dorm thought I was a snobby bitch. Apparently it didn't occur to anyone that I was just plain shy.
66. Freshman year was probably my worst.
67. I missed one final exam that year because I had to go to the ER as a result of a problem that I had a roughly 0.001 % chance of developing. Maybe less.
68. Once, I missed a final exam because I was under the impression that it was actually being held the following day, so I slept in that morning on purpose.
69. I grew up bilingual.

Here I am with my brother, back when we were cute, bilingual, and living in a trailer on the homestead.

70. I don't think I'm particularly bilingual anymore.
71. Sometimes I wonder whether I would never have been accepted to my alma mater if not for affirmative action.
72. I don't own a televison or want one.
73. I would like to have a projector in order to watch movies, though.
74. Paper mail stresses me out and I tend to ignore it. Late fees for medical bills, etc. often result.
75. I always carry a water bottle.
76. I enjoy punishing myself with spicy peppers.
77. I hate bell peppers, however.
78. I frequently make enemies by accident.
79. Lately I've begun to seriously doubt the idea of "free will."
80. This doubt is kind of upsetting to me.
81. If I could do it over, I would have studied something far more technical in college.
82. I am a chronic procrastinator.
83. I am chronically a few minutes late to just about everything.
84. Hardly a day goes by that I don't need to run somewhere. Usually in order to catch public transportation.
85. I am tired of most of the music in my itunes library, since I listen to it all day at work.
86. Some of the songs currently on my playlist are:
- "Mutiny in Heaven" (The Birthday Party)
- "Baby's on Fire" (Brian Eno)
- "Is This Thing On?" (!!!)
- "Pepper-Tree" (Cocteau Twins)
- "Diplo Rhythm" (Diplo)
- "I Love a Man in Uniform" (Gang of Four)
- "And I Was a Boy from School" (Hot Chip)
- "Gimme Danger" (Iggy and the Stooges)
- "Computer Love" (Kraftwerk)
- "Someone Great" (LCD Soundsystem)
- "Chelsea Hotel" (Leonard Cohen)
- "The Mystery of Love" (Marianne Faithfull)
- "Lose My Breath" (My Bloody Valentine)
- "The Ballad of Robert Moore and Betty Coltrane" (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds)
- "In Every Dream Home a Heartache" (Roxy Music)
- "I'll Be by Your Side" (Sally Shapiro)
- "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" (Talking Heads)
87. I love sushi, especially the weird stuff that most people steer clear of.
88. I spend an absurd portion of my income on food. Maybe as much as half.
89. I own a credit card, but I have never used it because I don't trust myself to pay the bills on time.
90. The last time I cut my hair above my shoulders, I was in third grade. I kind of want shorter hair now, but I don't like the idea of visiting a hair salon.
91. I clip my keys to my belt so I don't lose them.
92. I spend more than two hours every day commuting to work and back.
93. The first time my boyfriend heard of me, his friend was describing me to him as "a girl who dresses like a kid in a JC-Penney ad." In the context of making fun of me, presumably. This was five or six years ago, and I don't dress like that anymore.
94. I have a bad hay allergy. Being around hay makes me miserable.
95. I have been writing about myself on the Internet, on and off, since 2000.
96. I was far more public about it in 2000 than I am now. (For example, I attached my full name to my website.)
97. My best friend from elementary school and my best friend from high school are both cancer survivors.
98. I don't talk to my elementary school best friend anymore.
99. The high school best friend is very close with my ex-boyfriend these days, which can make talking to her rather awkward. We exchange emails on occasion, but I haven't seen her for years.
100. Once, when she was angry at me, she convinced my ex-boyfriend that I was bulimic, even though that was not remotely true. An "intervention" ensued. This, in retrospect, is kind of hilarious.
101. I don't think I want kids.
102. I spend far too much time reading kooks' websites. It's really hard to stop. My "favorites" are the unapologetic misogynists and the Biblical hyper-literalists who believe, for example, that no woman should ever work outside the home or attend college. There's actually quite a bit of overlap there, but probably not in ways that either side would readily admit.
103. I'm a big fan of David Lynch.
104. Once during finals I watched the entire second season of Twin Peaks at the library instead
of studying.
105. In ninth grade, when I read A Tale of Two Cities, I developed a bizarre lit-crush on the pathetic character Sydney Carton.
106. The only vacations I ever took as a child were road/camping trips, with the exception of trips to Mexico to see family.
107. I have a vague memory of riding in a plane to Mexico when I was nine months old. I am not sure whether the memory is false. (The second time I rode in a plane, I was sixteen: not easily mistaken.)
108. Many of my memories from childhood and adolescence are still very, very vivid.
109. The most vivid memories are visual/spatial ones, e.g., where in a class I was sitting and who was sitting around me.
110. In high school I always performed well on multiple choice history exams because I could remember the location of the information within the text and then picture what the answer was.
110a. Relatedly, I have difficulty processing auditory information unless I write it down. A corollary: I am notoriously bad at understanding song lyrics, and when I sing along to them, I do so in gibberish.
111. My long-term memory seems to be far better than my short-term memory.
112. I did acid a few days before graduating from college. My experience was 100% positive.
113. Being disoriented is upsetting to me. I tend to avoid elevators because they make me disoriented.
114. In elementary school I was the district-wide long jump champion for two years in a row.
115. I was also widely recognized as the most athletic girl in school.
116. I hate watching sports.
117. My ex-boyfriend is unhealthily obsessed with pro basketball. I don't think he ever realized what a turn-off that was.
118. I wake up less than half an hour before leaving the apartment every morning.
119. I have never blow dried my hair. I don't think I would even know how.
120. I cannot begin to describe how much I despise all things cutesy.
121. Couples baby-talking each other make me want to vomit.
122. Frankly, it bothers me when people baby-talk babies, too.
123. I lost all contact with most people from my past when I stopped signing on to aim.
124. I routinely stalk people on the Internet, however.
125. I think I'm pretty good at it.
126. Perhaps I'd make a decent private detective?
127. I bike dangerously fast through the city sometimes, passing cars left and right. I probably shouldn't, but moving slowly would drive me crazy. At least I wear a helmet.
128. I'm almost always tired.
129. I like drinking Clamato, preferably with lime and habanero salsa.
130. I never needed braces. My teeth grew in remarkably straight all by themselves.
131. I suspect I am genetically programmed to reject religion.
132. I've sunbathed topless in Europe. (I'm not terribly shy about nudity, so long as I'm not alone.)
133. As a passenger, I get carsick if I don't watch the road, and I compulsively check over my shoulder every time the driver changes lanes.
134. I keep my nails short and don't paint them. I don't really wear makeup, either.
135. I think feet are disgusting. I kind of wish no one wore sandals. This is one of many aversions that I share with my boyfriend.
136. Never again do I want to live in my hometown.
137. No one I know in real life knows I have this blog, and I'd like to keep it that way.
138. I liked my old blog better.
139. I think I'm done with this list. Arbitrarily it ends at item #139.

May 3, 2007

Sober Month Is Dead; Long Live Sober Month

My married flatmates are breaking the lease and moving away soon; apparently our after-midnight carryings-on are too crazy for them. I rather enjoy their company (childish tantrum aside), but so it goes. When we do find another flatmate, he or she will be my tenth in less than two years. I wonder, is this normal for city folk?


Sober Month died on May Day. I celebrated, appropriately enough, by drinking vodka.

On Tuesday, M. and I got home at 11pm. Fifteen minutes later, we flagged a cab to a DJ set/dance party in the rather creepy warehouse district where these things usually take place. Our cabbie complained about boorish, fratty baseball fans, and then, without any transition at all, regaled us with a story about being threatened at gunpoint by a couple of thugs downtown. Note to self: even if desperate, never work as a cab driver.

I have never been to a show at this particular venue without M. drinking too much whiskey and doing something completely ridiculous.

First, there was the time that he took off his shoe and handed it to the DJ, over the DJ table, for an autograph. After the show, he wrote his email address on a ten-dollar bill and gave it to the DJ, asking him to spin a party at our apartment. (By the way, the DJ in question is widely recognized as a joke.)

Then, there was the time that the stage was roped off but M. decided to dance on it anyway. When the DJ flipped out and an army of security guards swooped down on us, M. was so infuriated that he quit the dance floor and stood outside, chain-smoking and talking shit about the DJ. Later, M. spotted the DJ fleeing the venue and promptly rushed over to block his path. My first thought was: my God, a fist fight? I watched as the DJ--a small, effete man whom M. positively dwarfed--cringed with fright and summoned security. As it turned out, M. merely griped over the roped-off stage, but his body language looked mighty aggressive at the time.

This time, M. decided it was a good idea to lean into the ticket booth and swipe the venue's stamp pad on our way out the door. Apparently the whiskey told him to do it. We were in bed by 3am. Waking up was brutal.


I finished the project, but the project finished off my brain. Writing, even in a blog post, suddenly seems close to impossible.

Screw transitions. Here are some pictures of an America-themed barbecue that my soon-to-be-ex-flatmates arranged for the benefit of their French visitors.

A giant platter of freedom fries:

Burgers and beer-cooked sausages:

A very special hat:

Bad beer and good beer, none of which I touched as it was still Sober Month at the time:

This is not from the barbecue; it is a gratuitous picture of cats:

May 1, 2007


I have been on the "home stretch" of this cursed project for about a week now. When I'm truly done with it, I will print out every one of its cutesy, punny pages, light them on fire, and then dance upon their ashes.

It is therapeutic to express anger toward inanimate objects.

There's yet another show tonight, set to last far into the AM. Sober Month is over; God help me.