Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Literally, this is the gift that keeps on giving. Buy a cow that goes to a poor family, they can drink some of the milk, sell the rest, and promises to give one of the offspring to another family in need. The cycle keeps on repeating itself, indefinitely. What a revolutionary way to combat world poverty, wouldn't you say? You could also go for a pig, a llama, chicks, a water bull ..

Heifer International

It looks like I can give up a photo frame (I have zero pictures anywhere in my room) to purchase a flock of geese that will probably get sent to China (represent!). That should make me good inside. But then after that, and all throughout life, there is a constant struggle between obeying my selfish desires and not, by sharing with the less fortunate. Where's the balance? Are we bad people because we buy ourselves a new pair of technical running shoes when the money could've been put to much better/ more ethical use for hurricane relief or a world hunger non-profit organization? Perhaps if we thought more and paid more attention to things outside of us we could have a more accurate perspective. If everyone was charitable, especially those who could afford it, just imagine what the world would be like.

..But let's quit these lofty thoughts, I want to do a Froogle search for a new Capilene pullover.


At least man gets an idea of how small he really is when wondering "how can one person make a difference," but unfortunately it is these humbling thoughts that most often keep good deeds from occurring.

It has come to my attention that some lessons can only be learned through experience. In fact, the more something is proclaimed, the longer it takes to realize, probably. "One person can make a difference!" That phrased is so hackneyed it could make a seven year-old wince. But everyone who has witnessed it in action is compelled to spread the phrase, which brings very strong evidence of its timeless truth.

Another thing I have been asking myself: am I really happier and more better off than I have ever been with all the new things I keep on acquiring? The answer is no, but it's infinitely much easier to live for a comfortable lie than for a hard truth. C.S. Lewis has something to say about part of this:

"We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive."

Friday, December 16, 2005


Now I have time during the Christmas break!
And following the steps of David Sedaris (whose book “Naked” I have started reading), but not really funny ...

An exercise in memoir writing:

Diary keeping
Four fat spiral journals gather dust atop my bookshelf, a quantitative testament to my instinct for writing. I remember feeling so many things as a teenager, but that didn’t matter so much because I am no better off for it. The main thing I did to color my world was feel. And it all sounds so stupid now, with my occasional third person commentary, sentences peppered with SAT vocabulary, and experimental uses of mature-sounding phrases. Truly, as I leaf through an old Five Star diary crudely taped up with grainy band photos and stickers, what’s written in it seems to imply that the only times I really thought were when I picked up a pen. What makes these half-size notebooks so heavy are not the pages stained with barrels of Pilot ink, but the various paraphenelia glued and weighing down many a page, so gaudily displayed, as though each detail really meant something worth recalling even a few years later. It was a glorification of presentable trash.
Music was my god and I often used lyrics in the margins to explain myself, but that never really did the trick. It just perpetuated the lie of knowing. [“I need to change my life (“I think I’m gonna change my life…” – Coldplay) but I don’t know how.”] In my high school era journal I explored my attraction to Asian culture, my terrible eating habits, my prolonged spiritual immaturity, my dynamic relationships with my family members, the glances of distant boys, dealing with a morbidly introspective friend, future band names, what I labeled as depression but was probably more like discontent and loneliness, and the prospects of having fanciful idiosyncracies. And shame on me, I always knew what I needed to do all these years, I just never got around to doing it. Insight, instead of leading to change, lead to further tunneling into the undeveloped corners of the mind- definitely not the wellsprings of much-needed wisdom, especially in those days of sturm and drang.

High School
Looking back, high school was simply a phase. In order to keep from being socially eaten alive, as soon as I entered those heavy green doors, I let myself fall into a category, seamlessly blending in with the rest of the herd. I was an “orch dork” and compliantly let the nerdy stereotypes apply, since being smart was somewhat admirable. Orchestra was not my life, but it was the only serious extracurricular activity in which I participated that was going somewhere. I remember our quartet practicing for an upcoming wedding gig in the foyer of our auditorium, since there were no practice rooms open. Our playing perked up each time we detected any movement near the door, human or not, and we took pride in ourselves that we were teaching the modern world how to appreciate the beauty of classical music, albeit being played mostly by kids who never took their instruments home and “crammed” for chair tests. It offers a bit of assurance that at least we weren’t a cult like the monstrosity everyone else called “band.” I suppose I really was a nerd in my Type A ways, but interacting with the real nerds (who eventually went off to star at Harvard and Rice) kept my self-confidence afloat. Of course, having been in orchestra since the 7th grade prepped me for this title, but really, high schoolers should at least be given some say in who they are to be during these last years at home. If we are to wreak havoc around town, let us do it with people we actually like and perhaps even care about.
So there I was, residing in the least uncomfortable social group and doing the things they did. I knew kind of who I was, but didn’t have the gusto to come out and try to be myself- I hated the stage-every young starts off under a spotlight and I fled it. Each time I happened to bump into a licensed member of another crowd (none of those wannabes, please), the most I could do was chuckle at their cleverness, grin stupidly and later wonder at my total social ineptitude. The stuff of worldly greatness was not in me. Cheerleaders pitied my attempts at jovial conversation and jocks seemed amused at how much I didn’t fit into any of their definitions of a girl. Of course, behind their backs I slandered them with labels anyhow, like a bitter social reject in a lousy teenage comedy. The group I detested the most, however, was the Asians. Though we had ethnicity in common, I wanted so badly to keep it at that. Why I was so hard on them I don’t know, but nothing induced the rolling of the eyes like the analysis of their clothing, demeanor and patterns, all of which I dissected in my mind with contemptuous glee. Like most other cliques, they were predictable and exhibited clone-like behavior, the boys with their porcupine-spiked hair and the girls all hoed out. Although now that I look back, I was very severe towards them; I think it just irked me that there were no “normal” Asian Americans who could acceptably escape nerd-dom and Azn-ness at that time. But I still pride myself on the fact that I have never toted an IM screen name or e-mail address with “azn” all stuck up in it, even when it was the cool thing to do. Until then, I'll be repairing my attitude towards my own race in America.
The high school script was all there and I always had to make the conscious effort to follow it. No, I never felt like participating in a food fight, being gung-ho about a service organization, or talking back to a teacher. If there was any student so unintentional and inside the box, it was I. The SAT, grades, chair placement and news of hookups and breakups were all things we were supposed to stress over and I did, not that I really cared about any of those things in the end. It’s quite possible that my circle of friends grew sick of me using big vocabulary words the summer before we took the PSAT, if not for the only reason that it reminded them that were behind in preparing for it, even though I myself was not sure when else they would come in handy.
One semester I became a library aide, not quite voluntarily, for the officials were afraid that I and a handful of other juniors would run wild and terrorize the neighborhood if we were let out after 5th period, so they made a rule, and never mind that I had no other credits I needed to fulfill. I don’t ever remember shelving books, the ultimate boredom-inducing task, but every once in a while I was handed the neat electronic labeler, and I would furtively print out a memorable sounding catchphrase or two to adorn my tattered school planner, my heart rate quickening if the librarians wandered one step closer to the dark corner in which I was situated. That semester I mainly helped organize the magazine room, alphabetizing stacks of Rolling Stone, Surf Magazine, Spanish People, and a dozen other titles by call number. It was pretty mindless work, but at least I remember what a pre-motherhood Britney looks like. Another boy in the grade below me was also an aide during that period, but he was far more delinquent and often raised suggestions that issued semi-frowns from me, a look that betrayed interest rather than disapproval. Very little reading occurred in the library, and even less school-related research, but it was there that I vowed to start reading classics after picking up and weighing a dusty copy of Gone With the Wind in my hands. There was a small college and career lounge situated near one of the entrances, and I spent a few days leafing through the catalogs and looking at job descriptions, as if I really knew what I wanted to do. The librarians were two older ladies who pretended to be much busier than their job required, looking up booklists, contacting other schools and getting their ten thousand steps going from counter to counter. They were actually very nice and the white-haired one gave me a porcelain message board with a painted racket and ball in the corner when she discovered that I had tennis 7th period. Even though we dropped it shortly after and cracked the corner, my mother still uses it when a blank Post-it note is nowhere to be found. The last day they filled a paper plate with Chex Mix and package cookies and set it in one of the small reading rooms for the other aide and me to enjoy, giving us the day off. It was so cute, really, but after the boy stuffed his face, as he wiped the crumbs off his mouth he cursed them for every time they were “mean” to him, aka didn’t let him go home or enter the sacred school radio station recording studio.
All the typical books we read in English made little impression on me. They never took me anywhere nor made me feel anything remotely close to what the author was aiming for. Holden Caufield was simply disturbed and confused, what did that have to do with me? Although, he was admirably “creative,” the term I graciously bestowed upon his erratic and psychotic behavior. It was if my frontal lobe was dormant all those years, which means I can only make foggy, C-student references to literature from here on out, since college English Lit hasn’t been much better.
As I was cleaning out my closet to make room for this past semester’s junk and papers, I found my green graduation gown wedged in between the back wall and a box. It was more wrinkled than my 6th grade class shirt, along with the NHS stole they made us buy. Hm, didn’t think much of high school.

Alternative Rock
Last year, I made fun of my current roommate Kristi when I found some old Dixie Chicks and Pat Green albums hidden in the back of her CD case, but I have to remember that I once championed distasteful music in my pre-indie music or whatever it is I listen to now days. It was the 10th grade and 102.1 The Edge was the soundtrack of my life. I could always be seen moving about the house and doing homework with headphones in my ears and with an early 90’s Walkman empty tape player clipped to the side of my jeans (it had a radio). There was A Perfect Circle song (“Judith”) that I had become enamored to after hearing it for the first time on the “10 at 10” show, something that I tuned into religiously every evening before I brushed my teeth. And to think that I actually let it enter my mind and mix with my emotions to this day makes me shiver. Fortunately, one night at my cousin’s house, I listened my cousin’s Beatles CD’s and they turned my toes away from the beginning pathway to dark/goth side. And that’s as far as I’ll go talking about the development of my musical tastes during those formative years, although sometimes I do wish that I had been introduced to more good bands actually deserving of my relentless adoration (it had to go somewhere), when most of the time I was bestowing god-like status upon the new wave of British trad rockers who made lush, oversentimental, and grandiose ballads devoid of any real meaning. Seriously, you could reduce me to tears with climactic, cinematic strings layered over pleasantly sung lyrics as inane as “my weakness is none of your business.” Overproduction never sounded so good.

Ack, this proves that writing about high school puts me back in that territory - I have not stayed up past 2 AM for a long time. And if that effort sucked, don't worry I've thought about taking classes. Goodbye and goodnight!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

World AIDS Day

And I wouldn't even have known it except that I went inside the SSB today and saw the signs posted up. If you are looking for a modern day display of hopelessness, then this is definitely one of the big ones. Still, even though the whole continent of Africa is dying out because of this virus, that's NO excuse not to help. How about there are three types of people in the world: those who don't care about anything outside their own little world, those who do care, and those who care and who do something about it. May we all be in or moving towards the last category.

Wilco, oh Wilco. They've got a great gargle of very quotable quotes in their superstar album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. And as for the music, the most beautiful parts occur right before they move from dizzying, orchestrated composition to jarring, repetitive noise. This one's on the fridge right now:

I would like to salute
the ashes of american flags

Rev. David Cassidy, in his message last night, pulled out a sticky quote by George Bernard Shaw, his "favorite atheist."

"Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people."

In the spirit of youthfulness: if nothing else at all, let me one of the unreasonable.

And lastly, but certainly not leastly, here is a link to the famous video I watched in my sociology class today about the power and destructiveness of discrimination. What kind of world do we live in? This lady is extremely unreasonable. She made grown ups cry in a two-hour simulation showing how black kids are treated every day of their life. It truly left an impression on me.

"Elliott's method for exploring racism in the context of an all-white classroom consisted of dividing her students into two groups on the basis of eye color, blue or brown (those with other eye colors were excluded from direct participation in the exercise.)

On the first day, Elliott told her students that possessing blue eyes indicated superiority in intelligence and conferred extra classroom privileges while having brown eyes indicated inferiority. Quickly, the students of the "superior" color began to oppress those of the "inferior" color, while those of the "inferior" color exhibited negative feelings of self-loathing and fear."

In another class, we also watched another Frontline video on fad diets- bottom line, they don't work and if we do not adopt a change of lifestyle, the future generations will roll, not walk. Not good!

And how many times have you heard this one? "There are kids starving in Africa and you won't eat the rest of your ____." Well guess what, cleaning your plate won't help all those starving kids, it'll just make you fat!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Design Finds, Issue #2

Yesterday I didn't eat that much turkey because it was a bit dry without that apple half stuff in it, so I wasn't sleepy and instead of taking a nap, I browsed what's new in the design world. But if one of you tells me that this isn't very interesting at all Fran, I'll be sure to stop at this post.

Hand painted customized Chuck Taylors inspired by the bands at ACL 05. I like the laceless look. If I could draw or get one of my artist friends to customize a pair for me - wouldn't that so fun?

Is this shoe too hip to be worn? It is quite possible. The graphic reminds me of the Unicorns album art and was designed by a student intern at Converse who is only three years older than I.

Forget buying a skateboard! I should get myself a pair of Freeline Skates instead! It's like a baby skateboard underneath each foot and it lets you carve out sweet turns.

I first encountered these Bodum double-walled glass cups in the 2 oz. size at the Tea Embassy, where they had a full set and matching clear teapots. The double wall is supposed to be superiorly insulating for both hot and cold beverages, but either way, it such great functional modern art. I plan to pick up a pair when I am able to treat everyday cups more gingerly.

Hazel family, truly, if I had £45 to spare, I'd buy this fruit bowl for your kitchen table this second.

What do you think of this bookcover? Illustrator "Christopher Neal was recently commissioned to repackage J.D. Salinger's classic novel, Catcher in the Rye, for Danish publisher Roman Heulenhoff. The cover was later killed when upon further examination, Heulenhoff staff noticed a clause in Salinger's contract stating he does not want illustrations on his covers."

I have not seen any (billed) winter hats cuter than these. And they do not look skater-ish. Sadly, these pups are only available in Canada and are probably very pricey. I like the one on the top left, "Velo."

I'm not really a fan of tats, but to me, this one is truly a work of art that fully captures both beauty and horror. The artist's description: "This is a promo pick from the Dario Argenta movie Opera. It's a girl with pins taped under her eyes, so she can't close them. She is bound and forced to watch a maniac rape and murder her friend.." Eesh!
(Click image for larger view)

[This layout looks fine on my 12" laptop screen, I don't know how to fix it if it looks wacko on yours..]

And then I spent giddy hours downloading many newly leaked previously unreleased Elliott Smith b-sides and demos. They are fragile, Beatlesque and melancholy the way I like it. New listener, I charge you to take a good stab at these!
Trouble (Cat Stevens cover)
Let's Get Lost
Baby Britain (Remix)
Going Nowhere

Monday, November 21, 2005

Dead Soldier Pose

So I've been going to yoga at Casa de Luz, a small macrobiotic "campus" which includes a restaurant, rooms, a playground, etc. The first time I ate there I was a bit creeped out by the aliens who like to eat there. As much as I poke fun at it for being new-agey and freakishly healthy.. well, I shouldn't.. too much. It's pretty great. Today was only my 2nd time at yoga (which I had never done before last Friday) and I can see why it's so appealing. Who isn't up for unharnessing his/her inner energy and learning how to breathe properly? And the bamboo-floored room in which it is held exudes such peacefulness and warmth that I would pay rent to live there next year. I know that if I bought into the spiritual part of the exercises, then I would be experiencing yoga in its full effect. However, I don't quite believe in tromping elephants and such and am relegated to channeling imaginary energy and half-smiling at the Warrior Pose, which shouts, "Glory to God!" (A terrible mood had been hanging over me all day, causing me to snap at my kindergarteners, spend too much money at Mr. Natural's, and feel tired about the upcoming holiday.) So understandably, I felt only half better afterwards. What? I'm anxious about life, and nobody can fix that.

And now, after trying on funky sweaters I hadn't worn all year and modeling them for my roommate, I am going to finish packing.

He will take you, if you run, he will chase you, because he is the

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Slanted and Enchanted .. Rock

Hello, well whaddya know, I finally went Outside! Photos are up from this day trip, but I see that my camera does not do justice to nature at all. More updates after I tackle what is known as schoolworkkkk

So, my relatives don't do Christmas list shopping, which is fine, and I don't need anything right now, mainly because I have been buying things that I don't really need throughout the year, but if I was 1 oz. greedier I would ask for stuff. Here's one thing I would truly appreciate: a good cooking magazine to spice up my life in the kitchen and prepare me for future wifedom. Let's hear a cheer for that one!
My Fake Christmas List:
Vintage stoneware dishes
Bodum double wall glasses
Personal tea pot
Tea brick
Ecolight soy candle
New laptop battery
Breathable windshirt (a or b)
Print hoodie
Swatch Fritto Misto watch
Subscription to Vegetarian Times and/or Everyday Food

But what I am getting my parents are a nice pair of warm Patagonia jackets (like an El Cap for Mom and a Micro Synchilla for Dad) mainly because they do not own much new clothing, are very frugal with their own possessions and spend all their money on their kiddos. A common story indeed. I love the Web Specials section anyway, it gets me excited about cold weather and makes me feel better about not being able to normally afford technical gear. So what about off-ish colors? I named my R2 fleece "Aslan's Mane." And speaking of Aslan and Turkish Delights, what did everybody think of the new HP movie? Alas, I have become a so-so fan of the books and an even smaller fan of the movies- I think I have only seen one, maybe. Oh, crazed college kids hate me for it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Despair of Reality

Hm, I have some life to figure out. And a lot of free time in which to do it, surprisingly. Until then, I have no appetite for the details. Will maybe be back then.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


p.s., I wasn't trying to slander my peoples with the "googlism" post - I looked up ya'll's first names on googlism and that's what they gave me. Cheez, I was tired of your drug questions so..

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I feel like the mother of the world

Take a hint, give a hint. Cards to hand to people who constantly yap into small metal bleeping devices, loudly. Let's cut down on the noise pollution already. And if you print them out on nice cardstock, it'll be even better. SHHH!

It seems like everyone in this college is learning about black folk and racism in their classes. Theme? A good thing to know, although I still feel just as removed from their terrible experiences. Mine is in the context of education of course, specifically addressing the why's of low-achievement among black students. Factors and complicatedness, but it is not their fault like we think! It makes me ask nonstop, in America, how the hell do these people survive? It is said that what doesn't kill you will only make you stronger. Then they are very strong people.

Mojo's Daily Grind on Guadalupe is a pretty neat place. And it used to be a house, silly. Rach, Nora and I studied there tonight, amidst the swirlies of hot smoke on the porch, and then to the tune of a loud and angsty boy who was promoting himself on an open mic. I had just finished my school book, Young, Gifted And Black, and it took me 3 times as long with that background noise beckoning in my ears. I always felt a little self-conscious carrying that book around with it's title in fat bold butternut squash-orange letters on its black cover. Reform, reform. I am getting the idea that we humans started off on bad footing on just about anything and everything and for the rest of time we are trying to fix it, layers and layers of fixing. What can we say that is great for the collective human race? Hum. We are messed up and therefore, we mess up.

Been experiencing some anxiety lately from the machine component. Why don't we use the most effective ways to do things? Especially things that are important, like learning, teaching, studying, exercising, scheduling, ee e e? But if we save time and energies, what do we use that extra on? More efficiency? Is this how business and capitalism work? Life is but a vapor, and then it's gone. How much have I wasted?
Ok, and then there are relationships. Messy, wonderous things. I was thinking, I would not trade society for amazing aesthetic ability; that's why great artists need to kill themselves, dying alone. They couldn't help being selfish. In some ways, the sadness becomes even more real when you can share it with someone. Otherwise, whose reality are you trusting? Ah, I must soon retire, now that I've started spilling words concerning things I know nothing about.

Biking to Mr. Natural's (Chicon and Ceasar Chavez) with Mary tomorrow for lunch. Extra special, I say!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


frances lee is able to be back with us
frances lee is now seeking to have the full length of the old route
frances is still a disorganized tropical depression
frances is a star in her own right
frances is tired of my drug questions so
frances is part demon part succubi
frances is married to jesus c
frances is eating that is good for her
frances is released through an outlet pipe in the east dam into the canal downstream

kristi is featured in the june/july issue of "go figure" online magazine
kristi is game
kristi is whipped and licked
kristi is thrilled to announce that her august silhouette desire
kristi is at it again
kristi is not in school she likes to read
kristi is a lovely petite indonesian girl from the island of java
kristi is greeted with her first parking ticket from a handsome motor officer
kristi is clinging onto kayjay as she sobs
kristi is drooling from anticipation
kristi is determined to find out who douglas merson really is
kristi is buried

erin is a gyroscope
erin is backed up
erin is a dork
erin is another one where there are quite a few
erin is sporting mall hair
erin is calling this sheet music is for a song called "erin is calling"
erin is almost 18 years old and nick is almost 17 years old
erin is an inspirational reminder of the human spirit
erin is natalie's babysitter and is the one who got her to giggle on the movie clip
erin is a sweet and happy baby who smiles all day long
erin is just so ballsy and indomitable that the final outcome is never in much doubt

mary is the mother of god
mary is a devil
mary is beheaded
mary is a bonny lassie
mary is the girl i love
mary is not tin lizzie
mary is mayor for killybegs
mary is arrested for giving brownies to suffering
mary is still there after all these years?
mary is in a movie called miss lettie and me which airs on tnt dec
mary is that she looks like my girlfriend casie

michael is one hot papi chulo
michael is gonna kick jpm's fat butt on sunday
michael is £30
michael is out and morgan is in
michael is playing i am lying on my bedroom floor
michael is not latoya
michael is possibly the best ever of this wine
michael is currently vice
michael is still rejoicing in flinging in the sheaves
michael has been eating almost nothing except peanut butter and fried banana sandwiches

sarah is a beast
sarah is one the country's top five
sarah is the real thing
sarah is my favorite big brother babe
sarah is good for soup
sarah is anywhere where a pile of leaves calls to you to dive in it
sarah is mentioned in adam sandler's new chanukah song 3
sarah is fiercely independent and adamant about staying that way
sarah is so cute when she's drunk
sarah is dolphinsezzy
sarah is seeking to seeking to fill in the jerusalem area

joyce is related to me but how?
joyce is one of the many people who graduated from indiana university and decided to make monroe county her home
joyce is really jumpin'
joyce is great date
joyce is young at heart and she's gone through her life being pulled
joyce is predominantly humorous
joyce is known as the psychic's psychic
joyce is seen in a wet bathing suit and at a party with her blouse open exposing most of her breast but no nipple
joyce is portrayed as a bodacious dullard

johnny is cause for rejoicing
johnny is a junky
johnny is punk rawk
johnny is like a god over there
johnny is just plain bad
johnny is shot down while fighting nazi planes over libya
johnny is up to his usual tricks again this week
johnny is a successful photographer who has started an affair with a client of his
johnny is a less than well adjusted human being
johnny is our main photocopying person and has spent scores of hours turning pages
johnny is not insane because of his need for killing

valerie is vegetarian?
valerie is about to come full circle on her decade
valerie is 8 years old and ready for the 3rd grade
valerie is in search of kids who are using their heads and wearing helmets while on wheels
valerie is a girl who is stucked in singapore
valerie is not a large mare
valerie is about to be late for her first day at her new job
valerie is the perfect companion for your busy day
valerie is sent away to catholic school

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Minimal Pairs

Oh sick so I hate smelling like smoke. It makes me feel so.. bad.

Song of the day:
A Happy Medium Malcolm Middleton

Who knew that a middle-aged Scottish man would still share the same issues with a teenager. Can you relate?

Woke up again today,
Realized I hate myself
My face is a disease

You wouldn't expect the despairing words to be paired with the happy clinks and uptempo beat though.

Happy All Saints Day! On Halloween, I watched two movies: The Birds and Shaun of the Dead. My nerves were SO overworked from too much stress about hiding out from vicious, killer creatures, like common seagulls and zombies. I made my first caramel apple though, ate chocolate covered Fiber One critters and ran the Mary (and a half!), which was about 4 miles. Whew! My legs hurt afterwards, which is probably due to my stinkin' overpronation.

I skinned my elbow trying to master a skateboard. I nearly took out the side of a passing car as the board shot out from under my trusting feet. Not hardcore, but at least I have deck shoes. It looks like the boys have a lot of fun doing it, and it might be good to have a few tricks under my belt for when I need them. It's just that complete skateboards are $100+ .. am I ready for another hobby? Heck, I still need drum lessons. Oh, and I had to turn down an awesome sounding weekend camping trip 8 hours away because I will be in Dallas! Seeing the folks after weeks of separation, should be good, especially the Asian home cooking. Yum.

OK now, I should be off to bed and early to wake for registration tomorrow. Yay.

Oh gosh, here's the rest of the song:

i'm gonna need to find

a happy medium

to make my future look good

my body is a temple

and my hands and mouth are science

smoke till my mouth gets furry

then smoke some ugly more

let the juices flow

being alive right now is sore

everything's ok

i'm obviously unhappy

you can tell I'm losing it again

paper on the piano

credit in the red

i cant find my friends

walk the market aisles

looking for a girl

i asked out when i was 10

and i just don't fit in

too unfit for the gym

my youth is dead

woke up again today

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Red Hands

Hella! I just got back from a 7:30 AM 10-ish mile bike ride down the Waller Creek trail to Town Lake. Austin is so good to have made trails that straddle their creeks - what a great way to see the town. I love it! As you can imagine, it was quite the chill outside at that dark hour but now it's changing to a sweet sunny disposition. My chain falls off the crankset (?) pretty frequently, like once every ride, and I wonder if it's because I'm shifting incorrectly. We passed by our fair share of bundled-up urban campers and whiffs of stinky sewage. That's what happens when you go under bridges a lot. On the tiring way back, I almost fell off my bike when I inhaled a big breathe of air polluted with UT bus exhaust. Sick. Wouldn't it be neat if there was a Bike City? That kind of thing would be more feasible in Europe, I suppose. Now I must shower soon.

I went rockclimbing with Rachel last night at Gregory - this week is "bring a buddy" week, so it's free. It was bouldering I think, climbing from side to side, as opposed to straight up. I fell a few times on the springy floor, not bad. Rockclimbing is a lot harder that I imagined, mostly because it takes more than effort. My arms have never been more tired or tense. (Good) Climbers are just so cute though. Haha. I may or may not go back again this week, depends on my confidence level. It's so worrisome to work with unsteady grips and having to deal with the possibility of a fall at any time. I am no Spiderwoman.

Hey, next Friday, I may be going to see Nickel Creek play at a private luncheon hosted by KGSR. Mary has the hookup with her boss at the Cactus.. oh, connections! They aren't my favorite band, but are probably the band I most want to see live. I may have to take notes watching Chris Thile, that mando master. Maybe he'll give me a few pointers. We'll see. Anyway, I'm pumped about that, and hopefully it'll happen for me.

Erin is coming back! You have no idea of how much that brightens my outlook- next semester is going to be AWESOME. Although it's been a learning experience without her here, I'm more than ready ready to have my good friend back, far away from the clutches of Spanish influence, at least for the time being. Party party party!

Here's a Wednesday song for you. I've had this mp3 for a while and just recently realized how Awesome it is, it belongs on the "G.O.O.D. songs" playlist for sure. It's a chugger:
The Wrens - "Everyone Chooses Sides"

Monday, October 24, 2005

Wasabi Peas (are hot)

A new photo album chronicling the 2nd Annual Jack-o-lantern Wooha we celebrated this afternoon is up. #23, enjoy.

"Life is a daring adventure, or nothing." said Helen Keller.

What's your daring adventure?

Mary says, "post 5 weird and random facts about yourself." Whoever reads may do likewise on their blog.

1. I held off shaving my legs as long as humanly possible until maybe the end of junior high. (Don't worry, I didn't really wear shorts/skirts.) I thought, why give in to the machine?
2. I never brush my hair. Is that terrible?
3. I get bloody noses when I eat too much chips, other fried foods, mangoes, lychees, stuff like that. And by "stuff," I mean foods we Chinese label as "hot." The body must then be balanced by the eating of "cold/cool" foods.
4. A good pen makes all the difference to me. The quality of my homework and notetaking significantly lessens if I am using an inferior writing instrument, like a regular pencil or a cheap UHS pen. Currently I use and recommend the Uni-ball Signo 0.3, 0.5 and the Pilot Hi-Tec-C pen. (Available in Asia.)
5. My brother and I share the same birthday, July 2nd, but we're 5 years apart. What is it like to celebrate your sibling's birthday? I don't know.

OK, was that geeky enough for you?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

My professor was in last week's Austin Chronicle

Saturday! The best of days for a Type A.

Hear the soundtrack to my week of sitting out on the front porch in the lazy Texas afternoons:
Go here and click on #2, "Jezebel"

This morning I was set on going to the local gun shop and purchasing a bb gun. I've heard so much of cockroaches, squirrels and other rodents these past few days, thought I'd take advantage of all the moving targets. Do you think I could shoot my/someone's eye out? I'm not much of a risk-taker - my brain is adequately stimulated. I'm reading this book for a class about risks- it's rather fascinating and offers a look into the often overlooked healthy aspects of risk-taking. Bottom-line: we need them to grow! Anyway, I didn't get the gun.

What I'm going to do the rest of the semester is plan outings for the weekends to satisfy my adventure drive. The correct maps have been printed out in color and circled on. I feel very limited by my body and lack of technical knowlegde, but every expert used to be a beginner, right? So if I cannot bike the Greenbelt right now (more experienced bikers advised Rachel and me against it), I am determined on hiking it. Anyone care to join? I look forward to the great feeling of knowing a place, which entails being familiar with it, and in a sense to have "conquered it." And the more rugged the better. Perhaps I have some of that American spirit flowing through my veins, thicker than blood. A day trip to Enchanted Rock is on my to do list too. Gregory Gym happens to have an outdoor center with lots of resources- I'd better take advantage of that since UT makes me throw money at it every year in the form of mandatory student fees. I've thought about going climbing (more), but it's a lot of work affording all your equipment, driving to climbing sites, finding people to go with, and then there's the whole safety issue. Or I'm just lazy and risk-avoidant.

Things I will miss out on this weekend: a large portion of roommate Mary's birthday celebrations, which include table-side smores at Halcyon, the Vegetarian Chili Cookoff, Brown Bar.. what else? I am, however, attending a The Go! Team show at Emo's tomorrow night. Sad thing is, Emo's is the only music venue I have only been to in Austin; a change of scene would be nice. Ok! Time to get out of my cave of a room.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Sour Details

Here's a little summary of how my diet has been going so far.
Today: Day 6 (at least 4 more to go)
Cheated?: Yes, on the third day, which was probably the hardest, with a granola bar. Funny thing was, it wasn't even tasty, even though it was Kashi (those are normally pretty good). My taste buds were dulled, except to the drink.
Pounds lost: +/- a total of 6, variation due to faulty electronic scales and inaccurate measurements. However, I don't feel significantly lighter and the book says that one will gain back some weight after getting off the diet. Fair enough.
Drink recipe: Note- HEB lemons suck with their thick skins, a whole one will go into a cup. Central Market's are much better, and I bought 20 of them at half a lemon per cup. I add about 1.5 tablespoons of syrup and approximately 30 specks of cayenne pepper. For the first cup I made, I pretty much dumped in the recommended amount of 1/10 a tablespoon and almost quit the diet right then and there- it burned bad!

The most difficult thing has been resisting food cravings, despite the fact that I am never hungry. The nutrients in the lemons and maple syrup take care of that, but my mind and will gravitates towards food, especially in social situations. That just goes to show what a diehard glutton I have become. Eating is also so habitual.
There was one point in time, Day Four, when the thought of a previously-craved Mother's Garden Burger, Hilbert's fries, or even the Healthy Choice mint chocolate chip ice cream in the freezer failed to stimulate my appetite. I wanted to throw it out and eat Mr. Natural's (voted "Most Healthy Mexican Food" in Austin) and unprocessed raw foods for the rest of my life. That was a pretty amazing and empowering feeling to have, to have cast off the desires for unhealthy and even regular, carnivorous-fare food for at least the time being. I tend to alternate daily between wanting to quit at the sight of food and wanting to stay on it longer at the thought of health. What worries me most is that after I get off the diet, one bad choice and I'll plummet back into the world of greasy foods, sweets, and overeating once again. As we all know, it's exceedingly difficult to climb out of that once it gets going. So along with the fact that I cheated three days into it, since I will be going on the RUF Fall Conference next weekend, which means camp food (BAD!!!!), I may elongate this diet to fifteen days to avoid that pitfall.
Supposedly, on this diet, you will have enough energy to go about your daily activities. I haven't been exercising as of late, especially running, and I nearly collapsed a few times from exhaustion during a late night game of Ultimate on Wednesday night. That probably had to do mostly with me being out of shape and a bit dehydrated as well. Rachel and I had also planned to go on our first mountain bike ride tomorrow- we'll see how that turns out.
As far as going to the bathroom, I have been taking the recommended cup of laxative tea each morning right before school (hm, not such a great idea), instead of the salt water bath, which I cannot bring myself to consume. I have been experiencing more stomachaches than usual, which more than likely has to do with the cheating, but they almost always lead to a trip to the bathroom. Sometimes, the pain can get pretty intense. There was one time when our toilet broke and I was in the middle of such an ache- not good! But in the words of other people, I haven't had any "master poops."
What doesn't kill you will only make you stronger: that was certainly true last night, where I spent a good three hours celebrating a friend's birthday at Shady Grove. True, it made for some pretty dark moments watching everyone else munch down on the fresh chips and salsa and then attacking their delectable sandwiches, but I'm alive and over it. Food is such a fleeting pleasure, yet without its enjoyment, life lacks luster. One thing I now consciously admit is that I use it to address my issues of discomfort and boredom so often. It is my hope that I can find a healthier way to deal after I get off the diet and commit to eating more responsibly.

And one last thing, lemons (and limes) are truly good for you! If you crave unhealthy foods or your health needs a big boost, do this diet!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Reducing Beyond

Neat alternatives:

Get your news through pictures. It's a pretty neat concept, although I prefer the more efficient organization of Yahoo! News or CNN. (I found out about that earthquake just minutes after it occurred last night. Silence. What should be our response to more than 20,000 people killed by such a natural disaster?

I went to the Daily Juice on Barton Springs twice yesterday, and the first time was the First time. The juice is great, store so Austin-y and I tried this health bar recommended to me by my friend. I got cherry. What amazed me about it was that it only had four ingredients, all healthy, all uncooked. It tastes pretty good too, it's just a bit expensive, selling for $2 a bar even on the Internet. But I will have to wait it out, because today I started the..

Master Cleanser
I realize that the site looks hokey due to the webmaster's lack of flashy html skills, but bear with me. Roommate Mary has been on this lemonade diet for nearly 10 days, the minimum time recommendation. She's doing fine. It's supposed to clean your system of disease-causing buildings, wean you off coffee or tobacco and even help you lose some weight in the meantime. (Not that I drink coffee or use tobacco.) If it succeeds, perhaps it is worth taking a look into other food ideas available at my local ultra-health foodstores.

Harold and Maude (1971)
This film is not so much alternative as it is .. one I watched last night. It's not your average old film though, it involves an unlikely romance between a 20-year old boy/man and a 79-year old woman. Whether or not you are turned off by that combination, the underlying message is univeresal. I recommend it. Oh, and it has a soundtrack by Cat Stevens.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Feeling New

Hi, today is a good day. I feel so fresh! Thanks to the deliciously cool weather, I don't feel like I'm in Texas at all, but on vacation or something. This feeling may not last very long, but I look forward to this weekend's events (buying out TCBY, going to a friend's play, giving blood, seeing my family) and rest with anticipation.

Today I had to purchase gelato at Texas Expresso after realizing, sample spoon in my mouth, the 'free gelato' coupon I was clutching so triumphantly in my hand had expired just last week. So I got Texican Vanilla and Chocolate Oreo- what a great team. Like any logical person of today, I ate and did my homework outside on the patio. Next to my table was a group of three students/graduates, a girl and two guys, who were carrying on such lively conversations about politics, religion, family, etc. Needless to say, it took me much longer to complete my tedious translation homework, and my pace almost hit a standstill when they started taking hits at Christianity and religion. Some of what they had to say was true, but what kept my attention were their cynical and witty remarks about everything, insulting or not. What can I say, I gravitate towards intelligent people with quick tongues, regardless if I can keep up with them or not. At least they care and know about current events, which is more than I can say for the general young adult population. Perhaps I find them more entertaining than, say, beautiful people who know only how to keep themselves beautiful or (insert your own example). Anyway, when I left, I turned to get a good look at them, and the first word that came to mind: nerdy! But that impression came far too late for any real misdoing.
This reminds me of Benjie's talks at RUF about dating, and one point he keeps on making is for us to date more. This may sound funny coming from a preacher's mouth, but before that exhoratation came an analysis of how selfish and one-sided dating is these days. All we do is use each other, great. Human relationships are at the core of living- nobody wants to die alone. So the point was to date more to get to know the people around you. The real point of bringing this up was not to alienate my readers of the non-faith, but to state that at first glance, I would have probably dismissed those fellows at lunch as not my type of people. "To find out if you love someone, you have to love them first." Is that cheesy? It's so true though.

Sometimes, in lucid moments, I realize how little I know about living well. If I'm honest, I would admit total ignorance all the time. Thank God for His Guidebook! I'm really feeling it right now.

Today in class I learned about capitalism: make money to make more money.
To me, it seems so obvious that people spend too much time doing certain things, like working. I hope I never become a workholic and miss out on life and even the little things we are meant to enjoy.

I don't really know what my life is now in terms of major, career or studying abroad, but it's slowly coming together. And as far as studying abroad goes, I feel like I have beaten the poor dead horse to a pulp in my mind, and I realize that what I want cannot be satisfied in one trip, unless maybe I suddenly come into a large sum of undeserved money. So I think I might just wait it out until I have time to go on such a luxurious trip. There's a better chance that I will be able to in the near future, if I am to be a teacher. Go summer vacation! They took away recess, but that can't take summer away from me.

Ok I really have to go to class, but today after I walked out of the house, I realized I was wearing ALL blue, even my purse, but not including my backpack. How embarrassing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Pictures speak for me

K, I haven't updated PHOTOGS in a while, and it's not because nothing has happened in the past month, thankfully. So while finishing off the last half of a Green and Black's Maya Gold chocolate bar, I finally did it today. Stuff's bound to happen in between the times you study, right? [Albums 17 - 22] Today I officially babysat for the first time and also changed a diaper for the first time. It was poopy. [22] Also, today was also the first time I got sick of Texas heat and then vowed to live elsewhere after I grew up. All I did was walk my laundry to and fro the coin-op and the clothes off my back were wet like I had been plowing a plot of land. Can't take it no more. In the words of roommate Mary, "I'm tired of sweating!"

ACL wasn't all that neat to me. They say that if you work for something, you will value it more. Well I worked for it: buying the ticket, sweating profusely, wondering whether or not to pass out, sunburned shoulders, dirty lungs filled with dust and smoke, lugging a gallon of water, smashing myself in between hot bodies, waiting.. Roommate KK suffered more than I, as she was not familiar with most of the songs of the bands we decided to see (I think Tortoise's discordant noise finally did it for her. We left then, 15 min before Coldplay came on. Come on, light show.). Perhaps I have outgrown abusing my body in the name of live music, and looking back, I would have enjoyed a nice day hike more. [21]

Have also been Rasterbating a few images, and a poster made of 8 sheets of computer paper of the Sufjan "NY Shitty" photo is currently hanging up in our living room. Now I can put stuff on my walls!

Devendra Banhart makes good music for studying. I like how he sings in Spanish sometimes. You can stream his album here, it's the one I've been listening to (click on Luisterpaal and scroll down). And I mean, is he really living in 2005? Just look at the man.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Help Animals!

Hey, I'm not really known for animal advocacy, but this is just too easy and free to pass up. Click on the button and it will help a shelter feed its starving animals.

Good deed for the day
(you can do it every day!)

Now this is my kind of shirt.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Illusions of Opportunity

Went recreational biking today, this time East of 35 and then North of where I live. Neat little neighborhoods all around! I am going to start mentoring at an elementary school on East Cesar Chavez and it makes me want to get the know the "Eastside" better; I tended to avoid it for the most part (especially for living) these past two years- directionism? I found the elusive 2nd Quack's Bakery, rode on the dangerously car-ridden Airport Blvd., and cycled around the entire IM fields at least twice looking for my friend's ultimate frisbee game. Then I chomped on some of the awesome cranberry/almond/walnut granola I made last night, and some of Mary's equally excellent vegan chocolate chip cookies, looked up scholarships, volunteered for an hour selling Cielo water bottles for hurricane relief to people going to the game (surprising enough, the "scalpers" donated significantly, probably because they were so hot standing out there in the heat and yelling tickets at cars and passerbys. They were pretty amiable as well.), watched three straight episodes of "Freaks and Geeks." Then the ears drank in some Feist ("Inside and Out"!!), the Lucksmiths, and now the Iron and Wine/ Calexico collaboration album (it's ok). They are coming at the end of October to Austin, perhaps I will go. And I think I want to get the latest Gorillaz album to rock future parties/empty house evenings. (I know, I'm way behind.) It's totally conducive to another set of late night workout roommate dance session videos, costumes and all. So this was my Saturday; fun to do, nothing much to type a story about.

One thing though, my computer keeps freezing like once a day, and I'm not sure what to blame: iTunes 5, Tiger, or updates on Real Player, Adobe Acrobat, and Norton Antivirus. Is it possible to un-update an application? Getting bit all over in this house. The feverish feeling in your affected areas are like no other- you feel like hot poison. At least it makes me remember that I have a body to take care of, I guess.

Shoe alert!
Merrell Ewetopia Cinch
Man, tell me this isn't sweet looking. The main thing preventing me from owning these someday is that the complete inner shoe is lined with fleece. Eech, that sort of thing is only good for sweaty feet.

The shoes in European line all have neat artsy soles as well.

OK, the motivational phrase "you can do anything you set your mind to" is simply not true. That bothers me that it is still being preached, even in '99! ("F&G" episode #6) The poor people who hang everything on it.

I'm pretty bad how I don't question what is being presented to me. I don't think critically or even bother to doubt new information, rather I drink it all in. This was once again reinstated in my class, "Sociocultural Influences on Learning," where I thought the book we had just finished about social class affecting family life and success in varying ways was great; everyone else attacked its weaknesses through very narrowed eyes. Gee. It's probably not a very good skill for a learner to be lacking in. Just don't let me write any books, and I think it'll be OK.

Spoon song of the month, I have to say. "Everything Hits At Once (For Discos)."

Roommate Mary's sister is here this weekend, this evening she started watching "Saved,"and when that finished, she immediately popped in the 3-hour long "Pride & Prejudice." Wow.

Got new shoes, material/sneaker girl that I am. Because the deal was too hard to resist.

The fact that there is only Urban Outfitters to be found nationwide as the decidedly hip/alternative/bohemian/streety/non-Gap-style/whatever chain clothing store kills most of its cred, in my opinion. I guess NY has H&M and whatnot, but isn't the real point of fashion elitism, and elitism to be exclusionary? Not to be a terrible prick, but can the store maintain its appeal even after legions of sorority girls and self-proclaimed high school preppies are replacing large parts of their wardrobes with Urban apparel? I'd like to hear more about it, the trickling down of "higher" fashion to the masses and what it does to the industry. And, another question we all have asked, what humans actually buy and wear the fantastical and non-functional clothes donned by models parading around in high fashion shows?

Time to hit the books once again, later, since this time I didn't really mean to write an entry. My roommate probably thinks I'm crazy that I've been on the computer for so long, and on a Saturday night for crying out loud.

Currently Listening:
Demon Days
"Feel Good Inc."

Friday, September 09, 2005

Blackberry Pancakes

I've been mulling over the hurricane and its effects over the past few days and all that is too much for my mind to handle. We can bicker and argue about the details, but in reality those displaced people still need lots of aid and help. They're going to be rebuilding their lives from scratch, for crying out loud. My ALD professor last night spend half the class talking about his experiences volunteering 12 hours straight for the past week at the convention center. Near the beginning, when he was talking about the setup, like cots everywhere, shower centers, piles of sorted foods, database entry and "Bourbon Street" (the part of the building where there's always live music playing), I was getting pretty pumped up about getting involved in this process. But then after hearing about all the unecessary top-level bureaucracy, racial tensions, lack of organization, wondering about their future, and simply just thinking about all those people having to start anew a life and the trauma of losing loved ones just like that- I, a selfish being, didn't want to have to deal with all that heaviness. Wtf? I want to just have to focus on finishing today's readings, decide whether or not I'm going to buy deck shoes, plan a dinner with a friend and go bike riding this weekend. But if everyone turned a blind eye, how heartless would that be. I've already donated a bit, but I'm definitely going to continue to keep the whole situation in my thoughts and keep my eyes open for more opportunities to help.

Like this! This is pretty good, ya'll, buy a shirt printed on American Apparel (that means it's good, folks) for $10 and the company will donate $10 to Red Cross. It's like getting a free shirt for donating to a great cause. Check it out. P.S. Sizes run small.

Even though iPod came out with the Nano recently and it really is slick, I don't particularly want one anymore. I actually have been listening to very little music since our house still doesn't have (wireless) internet and I normally play iTunes while dawdling online; and it's been really good. Less distraction. My life doesn't need a soundtrack. I could do without music, really, there's just so much else to focus on, stuff that matters. And what is the worth is knowing a lot about music? It's relatively worthless, compared to other subject matters, unless that's how you connect with others or maybe it's your career. But I think it'd be fun to go to a Mars Volta concert (for its intensity level) and the Iron & Wine/Calexico show in October, for kicks only.

Events: On Monday night, roommate Mary is having a veggie burger cookout in our trashed up backyard, so anyone who reads this is invited. And I'm planning on going on a leisurely Commuting/Grocery stop bike ride Sunday morning with the recreational cycling club, ACA. That should be good. OK, I also hope to learn how to use Photoshop sometime.. sounds hard. And I am looking for a charity bike ride to go on for my KIN class. Seems like you can't do too much long distance/scenic riding without a road bike. :( Happy Friday!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Half The Weekend

.. is almost over. Way to ease us into school with a 3-day, a 4-day and then a 5-day week, UT. I like that. Ooh, I'm tired! Today at 8:45 I went on a exploration bike ride with Rachel Self (my neighbor across the street) and her friend Emily. Being the novices that we are, we rode a bit aimlessly around Hyde Park for a while and then decided to go to Barton Springs. A bit offroad, a bit sidewalk and a lot of street. It was a gorg day outside and many many people were taking advantage of the Hike and Bike trail around Town Lake, which I have yet to explore. I really want to go on the Greenbelt sometime with someone more experienced. (Actually a guy who works at the next mentioned bike shop said he'd be willing to take me around town and get acquainted with all the routes, cause I had expressed a desire to do so. Hm, still trying to figure out if the offer comes with strings attached.. Oh yeah, and I'd like to do some sort of a ride this semester and it will count for credit for a health project in my KIN class.) After asking a runner for directions, riding around Zilker, gazing jealously at the swimmers at Barton, and going to the nearby Bike Shop for a quick adjustment, we started to head back and stopped at the Tea Embassy on Rio Grande on the way back. It's in a cute house with cases of fine tea and really classy rooms suitable for real tea parties. I purchased 2 oz. of Almond Cookie Green Tea and chatted with the lady behind the counter about how to prepare certain types. She probably thought I looked pretty ridic all sweaty with helmet hair and heat radiating from my body talking about tea distinctions. Other places to visit: the really delish snocone place on 51st and Duval, cute little juice bar on Barton Springs Road, and the 100 year old grocery/sandwich shop on Avenue B.

At the house I showered my sticky boddess and then took on the challenge of moving our roommate's heavy-duty foosball table upstairs with Kristi. It was pretty killer, with only two people doing it, and we ended up having to take off all the legs and dragging the top upstairs. We'll see what Mary thinks about that. Last night the girls and I viewed The Big Lebowski, funny stuff. Walter: "Shut the f*ck up, Donny!!" and "I'm calmer than you, I'm calmer than you.."

Come visit my house if you are in the area. It looks great and things are now starting to get fixed, i.e. dishwasher, blinds getting put up, smoke detectors installed. We really thought that they would never put the latter up, until maybe the house burned down or something. Anyway, the lesson is to be assertive towards your landlords because you are paying them lots of cash. Mm, ok nothing else exciting really. I'd better get crankin' on the schoolwork and give my body a rest.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Waiting for Life

Am in Austin! Am sitting in Quack's, enjoying the Internet and getting ready to study a bit, because it is lonely not having people pick up their phones when it's dark and the house is empty. And, for some cruel reason, I do not get cell phone service until nearly 38th street. I live close to 45th. Terrible! So, we painted the rest of the house/ living room yellow yesterday; light yellow, fiery red and teal look great together. Today I went to All Saints Presbyterian Church new location and the drive was absolutely splendid, even though we were never quite sure if we were following the correct directions. I'm talking about view driving up and down the hills of Barton Creek Blvd. off Bee Caves past 360 N. The little things that I love most happen always when I am actually doing something else. Let's explore more of this great city! Other than that, I have been getting to know my roommate, Kristen: she likes hot Cheetos with buttery toast, is reading Naked by David Sedaris (which I can borrow), has the same laptop and headphones as me, and kicked me out of the house this afternoon when she had a male guest. Boy that was awkward. I hope we'll get along swell the rest of the semester. Ah, sorry for the boring post, my brain must be in a studying mode.

Is this the end of fencing as I know it?
Does this sound ok? I guess it's too late to edit now.
Gosh, I never know how to respond assertively to other people pulling me in different directions. I have yet to learn assertiveness.

Letter to my fencing coach:
Hi Paul,

I have been thinking about the club for a good bit this summer (while fencing at Grapevine Fencing Club/ LaTouche/ Gold Blade Fencing Center like you asked me to) and I don't want to be on the national team starting this year, or even do much competing. Let me explain. Fencing is just a hobby for me and winning a nice by product. Even though I love improving and beating up on my opponents, I am not particularly interested in investing all the time and energy it takes to become a good fencer, like all the extra practices, tournaments and workouts. The price is too high and would be paid for at the expense of higher priorities; ultimately, I fence for fun. I'm also flattered that your expectations of me are quite high, but this resulting pressure is also uncomfortable, especially when I don't demand the same performance from myself. I am starting my teaching certification sequence next semester and I plan to focus on preparing for that right now, along with getting more involved in my campus ministry. I hope you understand and accept this decision, because the UT competitive team deserves to have on it the most dedicated and focused fencers. It is not fair for neither you or me if someone in my position is to represent the very best of our fencing team. I talked to James about it and he agrees with my sentiments. Thanks for your time, Paul.


Friday, August 26, 2005

Exercises in Design

I meant for this week to be uneventful and restful in preparation for the new school year. That didn't happen. In fact, I haven't thought about the future so much, discovered characteristics about myself or examined the multiple directions into which I am being pulled all in this kind of detail before. I just want a life of simplicity!

Do you realize what a great book title "The Valley of Vision" is? *Shakes head* I just did.

In the meantime, am researching a possible career in design. Here are a few links of interest:

Want to know how common a certain word is in the English language? Repulsive is #25454, wedged in between counterclaim and folio. Hm. On the other hand, I typed in "supercilious" and my browser crashed. Gotta watch out for those sneaky SAT words.
Word Count

Har har har! I got myself on a cool design blog, on the basis of someone else's excellent work. I made the recommendation. It's for these totally awesome silkscreened tour posters. And yes, Sufjan was one of his clients. Check it out if you like: The Small Stakes.

For only $12, build you own clock.. out of anything! You must be able to drill a hole in it though. Available at the Ready Made magazine store. I thought about using my vintage wooden tennis racket, but that's kind of heavy. I'll keep thinking. (Um, I didn't include a link to a photo, because the plastic parts by themselves look unimpressive. It's the idea that counts!)

Hm, that's good for now.

I've been reading C.S. Lewis' The Four Loves since yesterday. The man speaks such truths with such reason! He never ceases to blow me away with his ideas. And to think that I got it new for only a couple dollars. Of course, it always sounds shabbier when I paraphrase, but some of his points I took to heart were that natural human loves become demons when we allow them to become gods, Gift-love (vs. Need-love, like a child towards its mother) can be perverted by selfishness and thus becomes harmful ("the proper aim of giving is to put the recipient in a state where he no longer needs our gift"; but the perversion occurs when the giver cannot bear to be not needed anymore and keeps on "loving"..mothers are particularly prone to this, I think), and that affection is the humblest of all loves because through familiarity and time, it connects you with the odd and different sorts of people you meet on a day to day basis, most of whom you would not otherwise seek out as friends. Erin used to say that she would not have picked some of her family members as friends, but over the years, of course she has learned to love them, hard as it was at times. "By having a great many friends I do not prove that I have a wide appreciation of human excellence.. The truly wide taste in humanity will similarly find something to appreciate in the cross-section of humanity whom one has to meet every day."

A few pages in the first chapter were devoted to nature, which I thought interesting. This quote jumped out at me and forced me to reconsider some of my personal enrichment goals.
"Nature 'dies' on those who try to live for a love of nature."
He also expounded on the matter by saying that nature doesn't teach you anything, it only helps you understand. For example, "A true philosophy may sometimes validate an experience of nature; an experience of nature cannot validate a philosophy." I suppose if a nature enthusiast is told this early on, it would save him a lot of time. What do you think? What have been your experiences of nature and the like, you who possess "dark gods in your blood"?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

OH Lance - too good to be true?

Once again, ultimate winner Lance Armstrong is facing charges of steroid abuse, this time against claims made by the Tour de France chief. The drug in question? EPO: "For years, it had been impossible to detect the drug, which builds endurance by boosting the production of oxygen-rich red blood cells." Wouldn't it be such a shattering of American ideals and pride if this is really true? I mean, he tested positive for the drug in '99 but denies it, saying he has "never taken performance-enhancing drugs." Well, let the tests speak for themselves and we'll see how it turns out. Ah, I never really liked the guy anyway and never thought once about donning a Livestrong bracelet in its heyday. (OK, well maybe once.) The reason is single and compelling to me; I can't have much respect for a man who left his wife and kids to go frolic with a rockstar. Great role model, man. Oops, hope that doesn't make me a terrorist. Correction: OK, it was a mutual separation/divorce agreement and he met Sheryl Crow a month afterwards. Divorce sucks!!

And I don't know if this is even all that interesting, but it tickled my fancy. (My fancy likes to be tickled, you know.) There's a discussion going on at a Sufjan forum about popular CCM artist David Crowder covering one of Sufjan's songs on his latest release. As was expected there was much dissing of CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) and even some of David. But the man himself posted a long and sincere reply to all that jazz this morning.. I know because it happened while I was composing a reply of my own. Link This might be thought-provoking to read for fans of either band.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Common Creativity

So I made four shirts today. And that's about all I can take for a while. Since I seem to have exceeded my quota on Webspace, the goods have been uploaded to PHOTOGS. Yeesh, watch out for letters. None of them are for me, perhaps you can guess their future owners if I give you that Wilco is for my cousin Jonathan and Tilly and the Wall is for a certain somebody in Spain. What's up with the weak flash, my camera?

Hey interesting, Kanye West meets the Beach Boys. All tracks are free.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Bird in Cage

I really, really want to backpack across Europe or undertake a huge exploration like that in the near future. My roommate Erin is living the dream right now, and after being so happy for her, I'm nearly crying everyday out of my green eyes. There's just so much to be discovered and experienced in the hazy "out there"! But, truly, how can I make it happen? No companion(s), no money, much summer school in view, and only one free summer left. I don't know why it's so pressing, but I will start feeling half-alive I don't start going places. SIGH. This bird is banging its head on the bars.

Friday, August 19, 2005

On the tv

I am an alien to the realm of hip-hop, but it really tickles my fancy that Kanye West's new album was produced by Jon Brion.

My first DIY shirt. Yay.

Killer alternate album cover!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Nails & Details

Yeah! I finally got my IKEA futon today. Dingle, baby. I'd been checking its stock online for the past week or so and the disappointing "no" turned to a joyous "yes" last night. So I went with my parents the hour it opened. The rest of today I stuck by Jocelyn's side, with a few firsts: making a drink at Java and Cha (local coffee shop owned by a friend) and making my first DYI t-shirt, then built a new IKEA 4' bookcase for my brother, since I'm taking his for the Austin house. (If you haven't seen the pictures of the newly painted yet, go here.) It was tiring to say in the least, with all the nails and details usually reserved for machines and carpenters. It was just me and my mom tackling this task. When I have a house of my own and need a whole new set of furniture, I will probably look the other direction, even though these Swedes are smart. Been listening to a couple tracks off the new Death Cab. I really like a few of them, and the other ones are forgettable. I am wondering if I should buy it, since I own everything else they have put out, except the "Forbidden Love EP." Ah, I do believe that fame really changes an artist, and their stuff is less intimate, less biting, more generic and more "ba ba" poppy than I prefer. All this I thought about lying in bed last night, so dumb. Well, hats off to them for making more money and being heard on the "OC" anyway. Goodbye, my favorite band in high school! Alright, another round of studying Chinese, sigh..
Can I do this to our unwanted heavy trash couch sitting on our front porch?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

So Many LIES

Ok, so I just found out yesterday that fluoride, in our tap water, toothpaste and many food products, is actually bad for you. Fluoride Alert and book. So is soy apparently, but I'll disregard those studies because I am OK and I drink soy, and Chinese people have had soy in their diet forever and they're very much OK as well. Stop killing us innocent citizens with your lies, you greedy businesses and seedy politicians! I know there's more truth like this out there to be uncovered, but I'm not particularly inclined to gloom up my life by finding out about them. I'll put up a fight next time I have to get a fluoride treatment at the dentist's, how about that?

New York Shitty

What's so great about New York anyway? The standard of living is crazy high, $80,000/yr serving as the state poverty line for a family of three living in its wealthiest areas. Sure, sure New York City has been a hub of culture for ages, but are people living there better off than the rest of us? Are there any books coming out from there about the secrets to a well-lived life or the wellsprings of happiness? Rather, from there we hear more about corruption, disillusionment and the underbelly of many American practices and institutions. Maybe people who live there and elsewhere in the United States fall in love with the great city's possibilities and its rich history, always looking towards a brighter future. OK, I admit that I'm pulling these idea mostly from the sky to form a dissent against the popularly held belief that this city is the American utopia and I realize that there's also great stuff to be found there. But I refuse to love New York and its City simply because of its cultural grandeur, press, fashion, nightlife, high rent, broadway shows, museums, and fast-paced livelihoods. Those things only don't make a life, they use it. Show me meaning and that's what I'll hold on to.

Love it, Sufjan.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

A Century of Fakers, Pt. II

   Today I wished I could live in a place where things are mostly real. Like Europe, or any other country more than a few hundred years old. We're talking merchandise here. The idea of putting a fake vintage piece in my house is more than mildly distasteful. All the phony, factory made in China, brandished metal tables, lamps and other adornments at Ross reminded me of the stuffy state of common American furnishings. (If I'm going to buy something made in China, I prefer that it be an original Chinese product.) It and a lot else in that category is probably is result of the combination of a relatively short history and greedy business. There were some dear handmade stoneware bowls from Italy and Germany there that caught my eye, I may go back and get them tomorrow; they're lovely, simple things, rich with history and superior in design and quality. On the other hand, I predict that many people's homes will look similar thanks to IKEA.

I <3 design! A Starbucks doubleshot urged me to post a few of my favorite ideas from this season. It's here; it's xanga, but they actually let you post pictures, unlike blogspot. Not sure why I am still keeping that ole high school thing up, except for pictures and a few people.

A Century of Fakers

"What Goes On" (Real Player) - Sufjan Stevens
[From 2005 "Rubber Soul" tribute album, "This Bird Has Flown"]

==A few photos uploaded==

August 12 2005
I'm not doing another rushed entry again. It's terrible stuff!

This weekend had enjoyable parts and it had exceeding lonely parts. I'm glad I didn't have to stay there all summer. That house is not a home, yet. I played the role of reclusive cat lady half the time, sitting around in the house, stroking the felines, and shaking my head at the disarray of everything. There were many points in time (among people) when I wanted to disappear from the face of the earth, but not in a violent or despairing way. I'm tired. It would've been easier to not have to deal with all that awkwardness and dead time. Whatever, I'm sure I'll always harbor that selfish thought somewhere in the back of my consciousness. I ate some of my leftover gingerbread pancake today. It was pretty excellent this time. Meg, my breakfast date and RUF intern, forgot about our breakfast get together that morning, so I sat on the bench leafing through the latest Alamo Drafthouse schedule. (I called her eventually.) I'm not a huge huge fan, but how awesome is it that they are showing the LOTR trilogy with a seven course hobbit meal interspersed throughout the viewing? And I remember when Amelie came out, they gave each audience member a creme brulee and a spoon with which to crack the caramelized top. How can you not love a theater that hosts events like that? E&K picked out paint colors for our house and it's so last minute so I am probably not going to help paint. I amn't going down every single weekend til school starts. The dining room is a light yellow, probably won't be able to tell if it's the reflection of light or real paint, the dining room a fiery red, the kitchen a hint of blue, like the lightest sky, the bathroom a light lavender, and Kristi's room a mint green, like the outside of the house. All the light colors were so darn near white that I could barely see the sample dab on their stickers. I swear, if it wasn't for the dining room and my room, our house would be a genuine Easter egg. Where's the Austin boldness? That's OK though roommies, I am looking forwards to the photos and finished product anyway. I think I just felt like a rant. And we didn't smoke any cigs, that was a joke. Smoking cigarettes is a nasty habit to pick up and quite a costly way of slowly killing yourself. I've had cigars and pipes before, they seem much more refined, like art. But I've given those up for the time, as they are still tobacco and cancerous. The blood drawing experience was great, as I got to see one of Mary's workplaces (the other being the Cactus cafe on campus) and do something to help sick people. She was very kind and gentle to me the whole time, after I admitted I was a bit nervous, and even sat and chatted with me at the "recovery room" with all the snacks and ice cream.

I went over to Jocelyn's house for a potluck and we ended up with less people than expected, so the only way to down all that food was to be distracted by a movie. We watched Snatch. I had never seen it and it pleasantly exceeded my expectations. Those British films, I can never quite get them. Oh yes, and thank you Mr. Richie for no gratuitous gore. I guess I'm going shopping this afternoon for more dressy clothes, that's all I really need now. I say that every Sunday. Shopping is so tiring and it's hard to find things I like. Personal shopper, anyone? All I want are things with which I can get by, to be presentable. That's all you need really, none of that time consuming riff raff. Don't you ever get tired of buying new things? Strange enough, I am and am ready for a life of simplicity and purpose.

The discovery of my drive to explore. I've been thinking about this and how I love relating to places and developing connections. They don't have to be deep, although they should. I have never been to Europe and it's my next destination, I hope. Why? Hard to say. And going to foreign places makes coming home so much sweeter. Of course, it'll never do if all I am for is to fill a big void in my life. I know it can be good for other things. If I want to see more of the world, if definitely has to be done before marriage, because marriage means kids. Perhaps my mate will enjoy seeing things as well. Mind you, I don't want to be one of those weary, older mothers who decide to start a family after they make sure their careers are firmly established or whatever. That isn't good for anyone. Poor Dalbert in the 6th grade lamented on how he is going to have to grow up faster because his parents are just so darn old. Of course, you can't always help this, but I'll plan what I can.

Oh and the best part of the day was this morning after service.
Pastor Katong (to Jocelyn): "Excuse me, are you related to Jocelyn?"
Jocelyn: "Um, I am Jocelyn."

Harhar, why do we never think of younger people growing older like the rest of us? It has made centuries of offenses for sure.

My new phone has been acting up again, putting in gibberish entries and deleting numbers. I've already sent in for a new one- this one is faulty as well. Maybe I should change the SIM card this time. Curse technology! I know that getting upset at an inanimate object does absolutely no good, but arg! Ah, what a waste of frustration! Bah.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Song of the day.
Romantic Rights
[Death From Above 1979]

No real update, because there has been another change of plans: I am leaving for Austin in the next hour and will be there for a few days. I'll let you know the juicy details after!

Peoples! A short notice last last night, and now I am in Austin. So it was a secret, but now I can say that as of last night, my friend Sara Linville is engaged!! Yahh!! She's a year older than me and way cool. I'll post pictures as soon as I get home and upload them. Anyway, wow. And that's all I have to say about that.
What did I do last night? Well I'll tell you. After the engagement party (which was thinly disguised as a housewarming party), where there was much wine (none for me), friendly friends and a few parents, we went home to the house. Ah! We sat outside on the sidewalk next to the street and chatted a bit in the cool night wind, while cars slowed down to peek at our cute abode. (Well, not so much, there's a speed bump there.) We noticed our neighbors out, this cute girl playing with a gigantic homemade hula hoop and a few guys sitting out on the front porch. Anyway, we met them, and then got kinda sad that they were only staying for a few more months. The girl works at the original Kerbey Lane (nice!) and is an independent fashion designer. Her boyfriend's father was so funny, after offering us drinks and smoke and us politely refusing, he said he would make it his goal to "corrupt us college girls" and went on to assign each of us a brand of cigarettes for "orientation smoking" tomorrow night. Then I cut out on the fun and went to bed, but laid there for a long time, not used to the new environment and hearing my roommate Mary creak the floorboards upstairs while finishing up painting her room.
OK! Lunch at Foodhead's in thirty minutes, then going to the blood and tissue center to let Mary draw my blood, then eating the prize, a pint of ice cream, then going to Waterloo and picking up Okkervi River perhaps, then dinner at the delish vegetarian restaurant across from the street, Mother's, then who knows! OK sorry for the quick update, will make the language better when I have time. <3