Wednesday, August 17, 2005 · posted at 2:27 PM
shhhhh... i've got a secret.

I knew when I saw two missed calls from Karen that something was very, very wrong.

The calls came at 9:43 and 9:54pm on Tuesday during the nomination ceremony episode of Big Brother. The first call was no doubt an ominous "I think something bad is going to happen" hysteria-induced commercial break call. The second, a confirmation that what we most dreaded had been actualized: Kaysar had been backdoor-ed onto the nomination block.

Boo Kaysar for giving away Head of Household. Boo Jenn for putting up the one guy who cares about integrity. Boo Maggie for being a freaking hypocrite of the worst degree; lying is punishable by eviction except when it's her own. Boo the wretched "coven" that's incapable of independent thought. Boo... hoo.

I was hoping when I went to Dingo's Hamster Watch, a blog based on BB live feed, I would find out that right after the credits started rolling at the end of Tuesday's episode, the omniscient Big Brother voice would announce that Kaysar was immune from eviction since it was his first week back in the house... but alas, this was not the case.

Instead, Hamster Watch recapped Howie going off on Jenn and April, Janelle prancing around, and drunken Beau puking over... well, everything. they read the rule book to see if Howie's out of bounds - they stumble on the word "disparagingly."

I don't want Janelle or Kaysar to go on Thursday. Right now I'm hoping that one of the other houseguests (anyone but Howie and James) will DQ themselves by doing something stupid. Is there anything in the rulebook about eviction due to disturbing behavior such as picking another's backne (back acne) or weird stroking motions?

In England's Big Brother, it's against the rules to overtly tell another who you will be voting for. If that was the case here, none of the Maggie-Yvette-Beau-Jenn-April bunch would know what to do with themselves.

The only houseguest I like this summer is Kaysar. Howie amuses me, James is smarmy, and Janelle makes me laugh. And... what are the rest of the houseguests' names? They have zero personality. I don't know anything about them except they like to pop pimples off each others' backs. I think part of this is that they don't have personality and what little they have is edited out by CBS. Why? I don't know... because it might ruin the "apple pie"-ness of the coven?

All I know is every week I tune in to watch the amusing footage recapped by Hamster Watch (Janelle running through the house talking about being a Buxom Blonde, Beau showing his "chocolate pee-pee," Janelle and Kaysar having deep, dark talks) and find none of it. Some dry Diary Room footage, Jenn acting bubbly, and Yvette being annoying. This week I was particularly disappointed that James' three attempts to kiss butt (completely scripted and all interrupted) weren't shown at all. I was looking forward to a laugh.

If CBS glazes over Howie's diatribes, including the nicknaming of Jenn as "Busto" for Busted Blonde...

Remember the story about the two men sharing a hospital room? The man by the window tells stories of what he sees on the outside: gree trees, kids running around the park, glorious sunsets. And then the man dies and when the second guy moves into the bed by the window, all he finds is a brick wall?

I wonder if that's this season of Big Brother. There's actually nothing going on, but that Dingo finds a way to spin it into something interesting. I'm so much more amused by the screenshots and captions on Hamster Watch than anything Julie Chen recaps on primetime.

I think what makes me most sad is how it all fell apart. Kaysar was primed to take over the throne. The kingdom had the numbers and then a misunderstanding between Kaysar and James blew it to kingdom come... What if Kaysar knew that the single vote for him to stay in his 7-1 eviction was James? What if they were able to have a heart-to-heart before the HoH competition? What if the two had aligned forces instead of turned enemies? Maybe if this wasn't the "summer of secrets," they would be the final two, a powerful duo... What if...

Monday, August 15, 2005 · posted at 2:39 PM
The Book of Joe, Jonathan Tropper.
After college, Carly came to New York to study journalism, at which point we embarked on one of those long, messy postgraduate friendships where you have just enough sex to thoroughly confuse the hell out of each other and ultimately, through a sequence of poor timing and third-party complications, fuck the life out of what was once the purest thing you'd ever known.


Keeping one eye on the road, I reach absently into the messy heap of CDs scattered on the seat beside me, an eclectic assortment symptomatic of a vague and misguided effort to transcend my actual age. It's not necessarily that I'm afraid of aging; I just refuse to do it alone. And so, at thirty-four, I'm listening to Everclear, Blink 182, Dashboard Confessional, Foo Fighters, and a host of other contemporary stuff. My audio Rogaine.


Everyone always wants to know how you can tell when it's true love, and the answer is this: when the pain doesn't fade and the scars don't heal, and it's too damned late.


I haven't always been this dispassionate; I'm fairly certain of tht. Is it a function of time and distance, or have I simple shed over the years what general sensitivity I once possessed? I try to recall a time in recent memory that I expressed any heartfelt emotion to another person, and I can't come up with a single instance of sentiment or passion. Turning right onto Churchill, I'm troubled by the notion that while I wasn't looking, I seem to have become an asshole. This leads to a brief, syllogic argument. The fact that I suspect I'm an asshole means I probably am not, because a real asshole doesn't think he's an asshole, does he? Therefore, by realizing that I'm an asshole, I am in fact negating that very realization, am I not? Descartes' Asshole Axiom: I think I am; therefore, I'm not one.


On the door to my room, held up by thumbtacks, its white border ragged and otrn in countless places from random human contact, is a Star Wars poster, just like in the song by Everclear. I hum the words softly to myself. "I want the things that I had before / like a Star Wars poster on my bedroom door." You have to question the originality of your life when it can be captured perfectly in the lyrics of a rock song.


He stands up and sighs. "How did you get so fucked up?" he asks me, not unkindly.
"It takes a high level of discipline," I tell him as he heads for the door. "And absolute commitment. It's like my own special super power."


Thursday, August 11, 2005 · posted at 5:12 PM
Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle
"Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way."
       ~ The Books of Bokonon


And I remembered The Fourteenth Book of Bokonon which I read in its entirety the night before. The Fourteenth Book is entitled "What Can a Thoughtful Man Hope for Mankind on Earth, Given the Experience of the Past Million Years?"

It doesn't take long to read The Fourteenth Book. It consists of one word and a period.

This is it:


Wednesday, August 10, 2005 · posted at 10:01 AM
Leaving on a jet plane.
Celine: Its just... its depressing, no? That the... the only thing we're gonna think of is when we're gonna have to say goodbye tomorrow.
Jesse: Well, we could say goodbye now. Then we wouldn't have to worry about it in the morning.
Celine: Now?
Jesse: Yeah. Say goodbye.
Celine: Bye.
Jesse: Goodbye.
Celine: Au revoir.
Jesse: Later.
Celine: Later, yeah.
         ~ Before Sunrise
For those of you who read my blog to keep up with my daily going-ons (hi Gene!), it's official, I've got e-ticket in hand and will be leaving San Diego next weekend and California the week after.

I spent the first 18 years of my life in the same Boba Town, but I think it's in San Diego that I did my official "growing up." So I'll miss the place that I feel I've lived forever... and, of course, the people that really made it home.

I'm not good at goodbyes. I like to live in a perpetual state of denial about things that make me sad. So I'll tell myself in this technological age of cellular phones, e-mail, $99 JetBlue fares, that nothing will change... even though I know it's a lie.

I know I'm being melodramatic... I'm leaving a time zone, not leaving this earth. But I'll miss the little details: Thursday night dinners, coffee runs, the curry nazi, the salt air, the damn crows outside my window, passing out on the couch watching tv... oh who am I kidding, that last thing will happen any time, any place.

The thing with planned goodbyes is that you know that really sad last 5 minutes is coming and you spend the entire night dreading it. I'd just much rather (1) avoid it or (2) get it over first, quickly, Bandaid-style.

So, So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehn, goodbye,
I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye.

until we meet again.

· posted at 1:36 AM
Now I know my A-B-C's... Too bad it's your 1-2-3's that will help you in the Big Brother 6 House...

I love watching Big Brother. It's quickly become a summer pasttime, even though I still can't quite get the schedule down right (Tues 9, Thurs 8, Sat 8 -- why don't they always make it at 8 o'clock?!). Sure there are more interesting reality shows out there, shows that really test a person's character, grit, and intelligence... but what entertains me is tuning in each week to find out how the contestants have messed things up for themselves.


At the start of the game, you have 14 people living in a house together. Each week one "houseguest" will be voted out by the rest of the houseguests until there is one $500k winner left. Survivor meets Real World. The difference? Unlike Real World, houseguests are trapped within the grounds of the house without any contact to the outside world with the exception of the occasional Charlie-like voice booming through the intercom telling feuding houseguests to separate to different sides of the house and Julie Chen's glittered weekly appearance via the tv. And unlike Survivor, houseguests compete in unchallenging (mentally, physically, and intellectually) competitions such as whose painted garden gnome can withstand a vertical drop and how much liquid one can squeeze out of sponge pants. Also unlike Survivor, they are given all the elements for survival - shelter, water, and food (albeit PB&J at times).

So really, the only thing players of Big Brother have to do is strategize about how to win the money... Which begs the question, what the hell have the BB6 houseguests been doing for the past two weeks? Because it sure as hell hasn't been hatching out any kind of successful game plan.

Each week there is a competition for the coveted Head of Household (HoH) position. The HoH is responsible for putting 2 houseguests "on the block" (nominating two houseguests for eviction from the house). The HoH and 2 nominated houseguests each pick 1 person to compete for the Power of Veto (PoV). The person who wins PoV can choose to take 1 person off the block, thus "saving" them from eviction that week. If that happens, the HoH then picks another houseguest to be up for eviction. At week's end, houseguests (with the exception of the HoH nor nominated houseguests) vote to evict 1 of the 2 nominees.

Pretty simple, no?

So basically you're playing a numbers game. You figure out who will vote for whom and plan your strategies around that. Usually complications arise from being unsure of loyalties and alliances. However, in this "season of secrets" (each houseguest has a partner they know from outside the house), with people being completely conspicuous about their teammates and people revealing all their cards (Kaysar, no!)... that's not the problem.

The problem is that of simple arithmetic.

Let's start with Maggie, Week 5 HoH, who nominated Kaysar, the person she felt responsible for Eric's eviction the previous week. Maggie solely blamed Kaysar for her beloved Captain's 5-4 dismissal. However, Kaysar was HoH and thus unable to vote. That means there were 5 people who wanted Eric out of the house... 5 people gunning for her and Eric... 5 people... yet she blames the one (the hot one, at that) and thinks that since Kaysar is gone, it's smooth sailing from here on out.

Actually she might not be wrong about that last part because once Kaysar left, his entire team fell apart without him:

Week 6
"The Friendship" consists of 5 people: Maggie, Yvette, Beau, April, Jenn
"Kaysar's Kingdom" consists of 5 people: Howie, Rachel, James, Sarah, Janelle

It is revealed that in Week 7, either Michael, Eric, or Kaysar will return to the BB6 house based on viewer choice (a ploy I think CBS needed to launch once the only smart player was evicted). Howie wins HoH and proceeds to, in the time period of 2 hours, screw himself and his teammates over by striking a deal with Maggie to get the dating couple James/Sarah out of the house, thus making him and Rachel safe in the event that Eric returns.

Mathematical error #1: There are 3 players up for re-entry: Michael, Eric, Kaysar. If Michael or Kaysar come back, that's 1 more member of the Kaysar alliance. Michael OR Kaysar. That means 2:1 odds that your team will be even more powerful next week. So maybe Howie is thinking that Michael wasn't the most likeable fellow, maybe America won't vote him back. Now there's even odds that someone will be coming back to help your side.

So what's the most logical thing to do? Prepare for either possibility by getting rid of 1 member from the other side. If Eric comes back, now you're even (5-5). If Kaysar comes back, now you're up 2 (4-6).

Mathematical error #2: Howie puts James/Sarah on the nomination block, not as pawns to get Maggie out (see Nakomis' six-finger plan) but because he wants to get James/Sarah out, effectively dividing Kaysar's alliance into 2 groups: James/Sarah and Howie/Rachel/Janelle.

Let's recap.

The Friendship: 5
The Lovers: 2
The Tweedledumbers: 3

Now numerically it doesn't even matter who comes back into the house on Thursday... If either sect of Kaysar's alliance wants control of the house, they need to win HoH and PoV in Week 7.

Mathematical error #3: The Power of Veto competition is a "Price is Right" type contest where the winner is the one who gets the "closest without going over" number of candies in his/her piñata. The magic number is 20. There are 6 competitors. Each competitor gets 10 candies. 4 of those competitors don't care who gets PoV as long as it's not James. That's potentially 40 candies in James' bank. Instead, they divvy up their candies "2 here," "4 here," "I'll just give everyone the same amount." Strategies that result in 18 candies in James' piñata, making him the PoV winner. Incredible.

I wonder if it's a new rule of CBS' to not cast anyone who has watched past seasons of Big Brother where they've done similar competitions and been unsuccessful in "ousting" players because they always win Power of Veto... Actually... you don't even need to have seen past seasons... you just need an ounce of common sense and logic. Not two, not three, seriously... just one.

Sigh. Revive the King. Save the Kingdom... PLEASE.

Monday, August 08, 2005 · posted at 6:16 PM
But now, not so much

Pauly Shore has a new show on TBS this summer called "Minding the Store." Pauly Shore, you scoff. And a week ago I would have agreed with you. Though I did just watch the end of "Son-In-Law" in the hotel room in Hawaii (I had to make sure that was Kelly Kapowski... really) and I think I actually saw "Jury Duty" in the movie theaters when it came out when I was in eighth grade, I never thought of Pauly Shore as a hilarious high-end comedian, or even class clown funny and always wondered, "What do people see in him? How does he have any sort of comedy career?"

After watching an episode of "Minding the Store" that TiVo picked up for me, all my questions were laid to rest. In fact, I'm shocked that he doesn't have a larger-than-life career.

Not because I find his narrative voiceovers hilarious ("This is comedian Mike Black. He's funny but quiet. Sometimes his tshirt says more than him*") or clips of his stand-up routine to be original ("What's the difference between me and Adam Sandler? about $18 million per picture")... but because in the opening credits Pauly Shores talks about his parentage, father is a comic and mother owns the world famous "Comedy Store."

Nepotism... often the answer to life's mysteries.

Many people may have already known this. I, however, never bothered to do research on "The Weasel" or read his 30-second bio, so this was news to me... and explained so much.

Luckily since the show is about The Comedy Store, there's often stand-up footage from people with actual talent ("I watch a lot of porn. Look at me. In fact I watch so much porn, I've run out of porn... so I watch the porn bloopers" - Mike Black) and random quips from Pauly's Posse ("I'm not Tim Allen" - Bobby Lee on fixing up the La Jolla condo).

The situations and people are often more contrived and forced than I like my reality tv (e.g. Pauly promoting a "hot girl" without waitressing experience to the front bar instead of firing her, an oafish slob who doesn't do anything without a sandwich dripping fixings in his hand). Nevertheless, I encourage everyone to watch the show at least once. Because that's all it takes to get your $1 from Shore's moneyback guarantee.



* all quotes are paraphrased due to the premature erasure on the TiVo.

Saturday, August 06, 2005 · posted at 12:02 AM
emmanuel lewis
Salesgirl (at a clothing store at the mall): Oh so are you back-to-school shopping?
Me: You could say that.
Salesgirl: What grade are you going to be in?
Me: ...

Cashier: Oh my god, you look so young for your age.
Me: Yeah, I know.
Cashier: I mean, like, I am so much younger than you, but like... I totally look older than you.
Me: ...
Two thoughts crossed my mind at this point:

(1) I know I was just calling my sister in a hysterical fit after getting called "Ma'am" three times at Best Buy, but is this really any better?

(2) Had I become one of those old women I make fun of for shopping at Forever 21 in a thinly veiled attempt to remain "forever 21"? Holding chandelier earrings up to my crows' feet adled face? Squeezing way too big thighs into way too small booty pants? Ostentatiously displaying orange fake and baked breasts (probably fully functional ones, at that) in a daring décolleté?

Okay so that last fear of showing too much cleavage will never happen (you can't flaunt what you've not got), but had I slipped into that shameful class of females who should clearly be shopping in the "Misses" section rather than the "Juniors"? Do my youthful Asian genes give me a free pass to indulge in WB dramas, young adult fiction, delias*com, moody angst and other quintessential teenage acts?

Probably not, but hey, when pockmarked high schoolers stop subjecting me to the nuissance of busting out my ID at R-rated movies is when I'll stop competing with them for that last tube of bubble gum lip gloss.

Thursday, August 04, 2005 · posted at 10:49 PM
Ida Know. When I was in high school, there was this guy who said (I heard this story secondhand so I'm paraphrasing):
Every day I go home and find ways to put off my homework. I watch tv, I eat, I basically do everything but my homework. It's this big looming cloud of dread, the idea of doing homework... And then it gets to be 10 or 11 o'clock at night and I have to do it. So I finally start and it only takes me about an hour and I think to myself, "That wasn't so bad, why didn't I just do it before?" And then I repeat the whole process again the next day.
At first I laughed. Then I realized it was true. Then I thought, "Why are we so stupid?"

Years later and I'm still operating on the same principles. I moan and groan and complain and procrastinate. And upon completion always kick myself for not getting it over with quicker. Sometimes I think the anticipation, that cloud of dread is worse than the actual task itself. Other times I am sure of it.

Question: How many days does it take to change a lightbulb?

Day 1: Notice the light in the bathroom is flickering. Huh.

Day 2: Notice the light in the bathroom is no longer working. Take shower in the dark.

Day 3: Think about replacing the light.

Day 4: Tell myself I like showering in the dark.

Days 5-13: Leave the house. Hope that the light will work when I come back.

Day 14: Shower in the dark. Nick my leg shaving. Decide to change the lightbulb. Almost fall off the side of the tub trying to take the cover off the light. Think about bringing my chair in. Feel overwhelmed by the prospect. Go watch tv.

Day 15: Get shampoo in my eye. Decide to change the lightbulb. Look for spare lightbulb in closet. Pry cover off. Find special circular fluorescent bulb inside. Decide to change lightbulb tomorrow.

Day 16: Go to Target to buy lightbulb. Go home when Target doesn't have lightbulb because "So you think you can dance" is starting soon.

Day 17: Drive to Home Depot to get circular bulb. Get distracted by the Barnes and Noble across the street. Buy lightbulb. Go home. Find it's the wrong circular bulb. Hit the lightbulb out of frustration. The lightbulb turns on.

So after 17 days, I can now see and distinguish my shampoo, conditioner, body wash and face cleanser. It's amazing that one can go so long without more mishaps, more specifically, that I, a person who just rubbed zit cream on an abrasion thinking it was Neosporin, went that long without mishaps. And to think this could have been resolved in the span of ONE day.

So what have I learned from the whole experience?

Avoidance is a perfectly acceptable solution so long as it's infallible and permanent.

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