Wednesday, March 17, 2004 · posted at 4:00 AM
I’ll stop the world and melt for you.
I went home to Cerritos this weekend. It always surprises me when I go home and there’s a new tree median in the street, or Sunny Donuts has been replaced with KC Donut House, or Sea Food Palace is no longer the only Chinese grocery store in town. I get so caught up in the “Me Show” that I forget that life exists outside my tiny sphere of influence. In my mind, everything just stops when I’m not around to witness it (think tree falling in the forest). The world didn’t stop turning just because you weren’t there. My response: It didn’t?

Now that we’ve prefaced my self-centered mindset (which may be redundant if you’ve ever talked to me in person), let’s do a Simpsons-esque plot swamp where I now talk about the biggest change I noticed when I was back home (and incredibly it’s not the new cow field on the 405 near Westminster).

Borders Bookstore and things I don’t care for:
  • Borders has become increasingly disheveled (read: an OCD, AR nightmare). All the books are out of place, unalphabetized (is this a word? My spellchecker is making the little red squiggly line), upside down, or in place but in a very counterintuitive place. Swerve by Aisha Tyler? Art/Photography & Architecture/Art/Fashion. Food and Loathing? Psychology/Sex & Recovery/Recovery. I finally found Swerve on an unlabeled top shelf that doubled as a terrarium for dust bunnies. In my search of one book with an intact book jacket (even though I take that off before the title page is even revealed), I managed to stir up a very unhappy dust colony. I thought I was going to have an asthma attack – and I don’t even have asthma. I was unable to find Food and Loathing despite its hot pink cover. Maybe if I had more time, I would have located it. But time was of the essence… I was on a mission due to...


  • Live performances. I will give Borders the benefit of the doubt and assume it was Open Mic Night because there is NO way these performers were screened/auditioned and then invited based on talent. Well it might be a possibility, but that would turn me off from Cerritos Borders forever, and I’d prefer not to go down that route. There were musicians (and I use that term very loosely because I don’t feel like they were creating art) singing about the Easter Bunny not coming ‘round anymore… to the musical accompaniment of an electric keyboard. It evoked images of M&M’s and “The Princess Diaries”… shudder. There was also a poet whose spoken word idol must have been the “Be silent, be still” group from “She’s All That.” And a bad Dylan cover singer. I feel like you should not be allowed to cover a song unless you improve upon it. I don’t care to hear a mediocre version of a good song, and I would be pissed if I was the original artist and heard someone ruining my song (though this could also be an issue of my possessiveness). And the worst part? The performances were in the "Cafe" area. No walls. No containment of any kind. The sounds just permeated the entire store! There was no escaping!
I can usually spend hours at Borders, or any bookstore, but I honestly could not wait to hightail it out of there... and that is just a sad sign of the times. Oh the humanity...

Friday, March 12, 2004 · posted at 4:49 AM
Workers Against Milking Mothers (WAMM)
I’m all for mothers in the workforce. I just don’t want to know you’re a mother. That may sound extremely cold, and it’s not that I don’t want to know personal things about you (this is a whole other issue)… it’s just that:
  • I never want to hear the mechanic whirring of a breast pump over a conference call.

  • I never want to hear a baby’s suckling sounds coming from the other side of the room.

  • I don’t want to know you need a sweater to cover up stains of any kind (spit up, drool, milk leakage).

  • I don’t want to take messages that involve diarrhea, breast milk shortage, bodily fluids or functions.

  • I don’t want to ever smell a “poopy diaper” while I am eating my lunch, trying to concentrate, talking on the phone, hell, even if I’m working on my rubber band ball (which someone broke, thanks).

  • I don’t ever want to see a “poopy diaper” especially of the green variety, in the same aforementioned situations.
This may sound like I’m baby-hating. But I assure you that I don’t want to know if you’re a mother of a 6 month-old, a 6 year-old, or a 26 year-old (unless he happens to be hot, single, hetero and into short, plump Asian ranters). It’s just that older, more experienced mothers are 1.) more open to the idea that not everyone wants to hear about Little Johnny and 2.) better at picking up cues of disinterest.

For some, fixing up a car is a hobby, for others, parenting. Either way, I respect your hobby, your passion, your life… I just don’t want to hear about it.
_______________
To curb spam, Microsoft and others are suggesting stamps for e-mail. The sheer volume of e-mail I send per day suggest this wouldn't fly well with me. An alternative "payment" in the form of a 10-second puzzle to solve has been suggested. In theory it sounds great, but if you have an addictive/competitive personality a simple game like Rush Hour and TextTwist can turn mere seconds into hours.

· posted at 4:23 AM
Clash of the titans. Batman versus Spiderman… who do you admire more?

For those of you who have been living in a cave (but not that Bat Cave, har har), both are comic superheroes and I feel your preference speaks highly of who you are because it’s trendy to make big blanket statements.

On one hand, you have Batman. Sleek black bodysuit with pointy mask and an unparalleled ride -- the Batmobile. Batman’s alter ego is Bruce Wayne, a rich charismatic playboy out to save the world, with the help of his butler Alfred and apprentice Robin (alter ego: Dick Grayson).

On the other hand, you have Spiderman. Tight red and blue leotard look with a modified ski mask. Transports self by 1.) webslinging and 2.) his legs. Spiderman’s alter ego is Peter Parker, intelligent college Every Boy out to save the world, usually as a solitary sport.

I am a Spidey fan.

Yes, it’s true that Bruce Wayne is a mere mortal whereas Peter Parker has an extraordinary radioactive gift, BUT Bruce Wayne chose his fate, he chose that life. His wealth allows him an arsenal of weapons and technology to become a superhero (compare to “Using his technical ingenuity, young Parker developed devices to “spin” his own sticky webbing!” - contrary to what Columbia TriStar and Sam Raimi tell you). And really, with Bruce Wayne's millions of dollars, is his contribution as a superhero greater than the contribution of a signed check or charity gala? Sure he saves a woman from being mugged in an alley, but are the streets really any safer now than if he had installed more lighting, created a neighborhood watch, or pushed for different zoning laws?

Peter Parker, as a young adult struggling with his role in the world and balancing conflicting thoughts with school, work and romantic interests, is much easier to relate to and feel empathy for. Peter Parker is the reluctant hero. He has the burden of an extraordinary ability. If you could save the world, but at the expense of your relationships, your education, your dreams, your freedom… would you do it? Peter Parker is the greater superhero because he knows what he can give to the world (albeit a fictional comic one) and he does it.

Or maybe I just like the idea of Spideroos…

Monday, March 08, 2004 · posted at 11:29 AM
The wave stops here. On Thursday I got to see the UCSD’s spoken word collective, freedom writers* along with the Long Hairz Collective. It’s trendy to be a collective. Perhaps I should rename this blog The Couch Banshee Collective, but alas collectives cannot be when you are a party of one

I haven’t had much experience with spoken word. The last “spoken word” performance I had seen was at a certain Asian American Film Foundation’s show and I wasn’t terribly impressed by the reading to the tune of Kenny G. He is the epitome of why I think I wouldn’t enjoy spoken word. Everything you see about spoken word artists in movies, books, tv shows, etc. is so stereotyped…but then again stereotypes always have some basis. Example: My roommate told me today that a customer called demanding a full refund for his curtain rod that he had been using for 5 months. Guess the ethnicity. Anyone? Anyone?

I feel like I should really like spoken word because you need such a command of words. Every word must be strategic and melodic (which might be my fatal flaw as a poet because I have the rhythm of a white drunken frat boy**). Because so much skill and mastery is involved, spoken word has enormous potential for hit or miss.

But I digress. I actually have no intention of writing about Thursday’s performance. I have neither the skill nor the experience to judge on such matters. Instead I bring to hand another issue generalized to all shows and performances… What does it mean to be the audience?

I am a voyeur (but not like Video Voyeur which I watched this afternoon– that was just creepy). I love reality tv. I love gossip when it’s not about me. I love drama when I’m not the one crying/yelling. I love to watch people do stupid stuff while I sit back and laugh. I judge from the safety of my high horse. Oft I am a spectator, just watching not really participating.

And that’s the definition of a spectator right? “An observer of an event.” Well an audience is “an assembly of spectators at a performance.” Sure, these are words we learned in third grade or so, but the meaning seems to get lost from time to time. When I go to a show, I am not lifting a finger. I may open my mouth to laugh, cheer, or jeer, but this is all voluntarily. I avoid sitting on the front and sitting by the aisle (and thus give away my chance to easily escape – it’s a trade-off). I avoid the edge – any place where the audience may come in contact with the performers.

So I hate when performers call for audience participation; it’s not in my job description.

I will not rhythmically clap. I will not rock you. I will not say hurray when you say hip. I will not stomp clap, stomp stomp clap. I will not sing along (with the exception of Dave’s Son and possibly Dashboard Confessional). I will not turn and hug my neighbor. I am not a “swaying to the music” type of gal. I do not hold hands and chant. I do not join the circle. My arms will not wave. If you point the microphone towards me, I will amplify silence. It’s nothing personal.

Don’t put me in that position where everyone else is singing along/clapping/stomping/hugging and I stick out for not participating (see: Nick Nolte during the presentation of Elia Kazan’s Lifetime Achievement Award). Don’t be offended by my reluctance to jump to my feet and holler. Don’t take my refrainment as a sign that I’m not enjoying myself, that’s just what I do, it’s who I am. Don’t penalize me for upholding the true meaning of the audience.

Two words: fourth wall. Respect it. Touch it, nudge it, push it, rub it, stroke it, but do not, do not break it.
_______________
* See this the problem with using proper punctuation, I never know if I should be capitalizing certain proper nouns or not… and what if it’s actually Freedom Writers and I’ve now inadvertently insulted the group with something so simple that could have been fixed with a shift button…
_______________
** For those of you who are reading this and don’t know me, this is a reference back to the stereotype thing and not intended as racist remark. Oh who am I kidding, who else but the 3 people I know would be reading this?
_______________
Like cheerleaders, can't people just cheer on their own, like, to themselves.
      - Angela, My So-Called Life #01, Pilot
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Words and phrases to banish (due to triteness, grown-upness, or just ick factor): hear my cry, heed my warning

Thursday, March 04, 2004 · posted at 10:33 AM
Ramblings inspired by Rolling Stone magazine #944.

MTV will no longer be filming a reality show about Laguna Beach high school students. Apparently they just found out that show already exists, "The O.C."

I want an iPod mini. Damn the marketing genuises at Mac with their 5 different iFruity colors.

"Maybe [the world] would be better if people didn't hate so much and kill animal. At the same time, it's like, whatever. It's just a planet."
        -- Craig Nichols, the Vines


· posted at 5:15 AM
Welcome to five years ago.

Categorization is great. I love to pigeonhole people and things. Stereotypes? Hey, they are there for a reason. Labeling and lumping make it easier for my 500 MHz processor to run in this GHz world. Big proponent of the categorization… except when it’s wrong!

In the spirit of late night craziness (nowadays this is post-10 spot), we resorted to the "let’s take online quizzes like back in the dorm days!" nostalgia. Test site in question: OkCupid!.

After 77 questions like “Who would you rather have catch you masturbating, your mother or your father?” and “Suppose you've been dating someone for a year, and they're slowly getting fat. Does this romance have long-term potential?” it spit out the results that I was “The Sonnet: Deliberate Gentle Love Dreamer.”

To give you the highlights, “Sonnets [are] conscientious people, caring & careful. You're already selfless and compassionate…”

Does anyone else find this fundamentally wrong?

A potential love match would be the male version of The Sonnet… The Loverboy aka The Tool. The Loverboy is the answer you get when filling out the quiz being moral and generic. The Loverboy basically encompasses all that I dislike about guys, the rushing to open the door, the overly concerned “You got a papercut? Poor thing let me kiss it and make it better”, the stock pageant answers such as “My hobbies are thinking deeply,” "If I had all the money, and all the time, I would end starvation" and “Guns, violence, and hate scare me.” I’m shuddering as I type.

Dissatisfied with my DGLD, I ran home and retook the test (without watchful eyes and with completely honest answers) and got “The Priss: Deliberate Brutal Love Dreamer.” Better, but still not accurate.

The “Love Dreamer” is the part that disturbs me. I am a person who answers “no” to the idea of a “one true love” and believing in “love at first sight.” Aren’t those red flag, Danger Will Robinson, markers of the romantic? Of the “Love Dreamer?” I believe in flirting, and that long distance is a no-go at this age. I’m open to someone better coming along when in a relationship. Am I idealistic for thinking sex is for people in love, and relationships should be only be pursued if going somewhere? Is it wrong to think that convention is key and reliability (not to mention geekiness) is a turn-on?

Crap. I blame all the Drew Barrymore romantic comedies that I have watched umpteenth times and swooned for a Michael Vartan.

Props to OkCupid! though for redirecting affirmatives for STD/STI to Match.com and coming up with the clever labels The Poolboy, Genghis Khunt, Maid of Honor, The False Messiah, The Hornivore and The Last Man on Earth.
_______________
Random fact of the day: poignant and pungent are one and the same… strike 137 for the public school system

Wednesday, March 03, 2004 · posted at 11:43 PM
Public spaces as a dumping ground.

I vehemently oppose it. I’m not talking about a Hong “I’m a rock collector” dumping… I mean the vacating of one’s gastrointestinal processes in a public place. In layman’s terms: taking a crap in public. This is probably not the forum to be discussing such a subject... there exists not any time, place or situation where this kind of speak is appropriate… In fact starting to write about just grosses me out. But it must be said because obviously some people don’t get it.

One might argue that sometimes Nature calls… and you must answer that call. F*** that. You also have built in call-waiting. You know the number. Call them back later… much later… when you’re in a private phone booth later.

Many times have I entered where it is evident that someone’s post-lunch ritual just took place. Courtesy flush people! And please remember that air freshener can only do so much…

There’s not much worse than a cubicle in life (although I have heard horror stories of IT personnel who sit at long buffet tables with the laptops and that is all). The only thing I can possibly think of as being more annoying than a cubicle, or a cubicle in a field room full of loud, annoying, possibly banshee-like voices, is having a cubicle near the office restroom. The humanity. Every flush, every waft as the door opens, every ill-sounding noise echoed by tiled wall. No need to walk to the cafeteria to find out what’s for lunch… you will be the first one to know that it’s Mexican food. You have an Excel spreadsheet documenting who is lactose intolerant. You know who has a urinary tract infection before sexual partners do. Eating disorders? Not a mystery for you. You can probably act as liaison to all these people’s doctors. You know who goes, when they go and how often the go. You poor shmuck.

Yes I know sometimes it really can’t be helped… But you know what? The rival office upstairs also has a restroom. That gas station down the street isn’t the far. Haul butt over there. I hear walking helps move things through anyway.


Tuesday, March 02, 2004 · posted at 4:06 AM
In typical banshee fashion, I spaced on my original point, which is Things I Learned in Traffic School:
  1. The fun graduation tassel, lucky Chinese ornament, rosary beads and cross hanging from the rearview? All violations of California vehicular code which states that nothing should obstruct your view, including decorative accents on the rearview mirror. Call me a rebel, but I’ve got a My Little Pony charm sitting in its hemp b-a-n-s-h-e-e swing hanging from the rearview (courtesy of Hotel Pan and Karen, respectively). Who says the old and the new can’t mix?
End list. Just as I am an army of one, and party of one, this is a list of one.

For any of you who do need Traffic School, I highly recommend Traffic School Online. Eye-appealing interface, professional (no crying eagles in sight!), and slightly funny!

Okay so it’s a little bit of a gimmick because after Lesson 3 (read: after you pay them $24.95) the laughs stop and it’s just read, click, read, click, read, click… or if you’re really smart copy & paste, click, copy & paste click… But every once in a while they’ll slip in a line like “Don’t be a Hoover” (pertaining to driving slow in the fast lane) and "Watching the pretty girl or handsome guy is another quick way to join the Stupid Club" (I’m not only the president… I’m also a member).

They also list (yes, a real list, not this one number nonsense) Top Excuses for Not Wearing a Seatbelt Refuted:
  1. "I'm a good driver, and I'm careful."
    Yep, that and fifty cents will get you a cup of coffee. Buckle up, Racecar Driver.

  2. "I'm a strong dude. I can brace myself."
    Dream on. What would happen if a person had to catch a 300-pound barbell dropped on him from 20 feet in the air? Think you could do it? No, of course, you couldn't; no one could. Buckle up, Superman.

  3. If there is a fire, I don't want to be trapped."
    If people really want to get out quickly, have them leave their seat belt off. In an impact, they will have a good chance of being ejected from the vehicle. That will get them out quickly. Consider this: There is only a 1% chance of fire on impact and a 99% chance of not having a fire. Also, without a seat belt, people are much more likely to hit their heads. How fast can someone leave a burning vehicle when he or she is unconscious? Buckle up, Smokey the Bear.

  4. "What if the car goes into the water?"
    Give me a break. People should endanger their lives 9,999 times for that one chance in 10,000 that they will go in the drink? Besides, the same arguments for fire apply for water. Buckle up, Jacques Cousteau.
Okay so I’m easily amused… it’s a traffic school, I have nil expectations.

And if there’s one lesson I walk away with, it’s this misandrous one. Beware… your jilted ex-girlfriend may one day be using you as case study...

When a male's emotional growth is stunted, he will sometimes try to compensate by using his vehicle to prove his masculinity. Filled with doubts about his adequacy, he drives in a manner he assumes a virile, sexy, dangerous male would drive - fast, reckless, and flouting the rules at every turn. That is what many little boys think a real man is like, and that is why male drivers under the age of 25 have the most crashes.
   -- Traffic School Online

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Today's new word to use and abuse: lollygag (courtesy of May)

Monday, March 01, 2004 · posted at 11:06 PM
I just finished my online traffic school (www.trafficschoolonline.com – you get $5 if I refer you FYI to all you law-breaking speedracers out there). Praise the inventors of self-directed learning for allowing me to avoid the 8-hour long bane on my Saturday and instead spend a few hours sitting in front of my computer, which I probably would be sitting in front of anyway.

I feel like a little kid in a candy store who just made off with extra nickel candy, a nerd who just figured out a complex integral while asleep, or a young adult who successfully sandwiched “The Babysitter’s Club Movie” between copies of “The Deer Hunter” (no, that is not a new release) and “Clockwork Orange” at Blockbuster.

Upon second thought, I’m realizing that yes, I got off easy with online traffic school, but I should never been in the position of getting a ticket and having to take traffic school. My ticket was for a “California Stop” (i.e. rolling through a stop sign at a blazing 8 mph). At a dead intersection. I’m not sure if “dead intersection” is the correct terminology for it (Strike 1 proponents of SDL), but for those of you from my humble Bobatown, it was the cross streets of 195th and Shoemaker. It’s not even a cross street. There is no crossing of any kind! It’s one road turning into another, and just poor urban planning and an excuse for Cerritos cops who have nothing better to do than sit in the shade under the tree and wait.

So yes, this strip is perpetually patrolled by cops. Yes, the cop was just sitting under the tree, not hiding behind a billboard. Yes, I probably should have seen him and would have seen him had I not been too busy belting dave's son’s “subliminal” at the top of my lungs. So yes, I brought it upon myself…

but it’s never stopped me from whining.

Hello. Welcome to Music Town… may I service you?

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