Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cemeteries Take What You Give Them

We stopped by a traditional Chinese medicine shop a few days ago. The old, wizened medicine man took my pulse, looked at my tongue, and clucked at my skin. Some of the more exotic sights in jars: dried seahorses, swallows' nest, antlers, deer tail, goji berries, and various kinds of roots, seeds and 'shrooms. He wrote out this recipe of ingredients and I had to drink the "water" boiled from it: mysterious, black, thick and super bitter. Apparently all the Western medicine I had taken over the years for my various ailments had done me wrong (side effects) and all that bad stuff had to be flushed out. As much as my taste buds and stomach objected, I'm glad for this age- old alternative medicine.

Ahh, I've been drinking lots of hot tea here. I really like the Asian philosophy of eating. Even though there is a share fair of unhealthy fare here, everyone knows what is and what isn't good for you. Ex. Rice vinegar, royal jelly (the food of baby bees), and ginger all strengthen the body. On the contrary, it seems like American cuisine is not based so much on health and science, but on arbitrary traditions and convenience. I mean, extol the nutritious benefits of a vegetable or grain and get an eyeroll and strange looks from your fellow meat- loving Texans. But that doesn't happen in our house, eh?

Am going on a Beijing tour next Monday with the folks. I wonder what it'll be like, especially now with China rising to its feet and all that jazz. I'm enjoying the thick foliage here and just waiting for the mosquitos to eat me alive. Yesterday, my grandma, mom and I went for a walk around the mountain to see their old house. They hadn't gone in decades, and we saw my mom's elementary school, the hospital where she was born, and the community center where she used to check out lots of books. It was pretty dear.

Shot the Tiger 'Round the Chain

After finishing Naked by David Sedaris and getting myself up to date on (former Top Model contestant) Elyse Sewell's livejournal, I'm ready for their new influences to shape my blog writing! Mr. Sedaris does two things well: self- deprecation and grotesque description. And Elyse, blessed with both brains and beauty, peppers her lively entries with words I have to look up (i.e. overcoiffed). Somehow, my title as the 6th grade spelling bee winner pales in comparison. I saw her photographed in a series of ads passing by a jewelry store today. Wonder if she's still in HK.

Airplane seats: could they be any less comfortable/ ergonomic? The 13 + 4 hour flight to Osaka, Japan and then transfer to HK was not as grueling as I remembered, but I did get a bit airsick (or as Keke would say, carsick) near the end. Some people are very skilled at hiding their discomfort in public. Like, say they're at H-E-B and their foot gets run over by a shopping cart gone wild, and they manage to twist their face into a lopsided grin at the offending brat whose mother is off nosing around in another aisle, and steadily walk away. I have far to go in achieving physical stoicism, as I must've scared the flight attendants with my unladylike grimaces and indelicate postures. What a regular baby.

So the fashion here is interesting. It spares no one under the age of 55, and then some. It's ordinary to see even hunchbacked grandmas walking with canes and sporting Pumas and Asics that would make a rock band singer proud. When I was here during high school, I recall wanting to assimilate, because everyone was cuting me out with their fitted jeans and thick, plastic spectacles. Well, five years later, everyone still looks that way. But now that is much less appealing, after I devised and continually failed the t- shirt test this semester. The girl sitting next to my mom on the plane nearly blinded me with her white Converse Chucks. So did my forty-ish year old aunt. Now, it's kind of unnerving when your own aunts are trendier than you are. Like, I'm not that nerdy, right? I mean, I only wear tapered exercise pants, free t- shirts and granny undies every once in a while. Give a girl a break!

The first thing we did after settling into my grandma's little second story flat was walk down to the streets and get me a haircut. It's kind of a girl mullet, not unlike Sara Linville's current mop. However, the natives can still tell that I'm not from around these parts. Must be the heavy American cookery in my flesh.

Rain, it's been three days now. Time to stop!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ready, Set, Pack

Oh Jens, you steal my heart. Kinda sad how that happens nowadays via reading strangers' blogs. Here's his. <333 style="font-style: italic;">
"What I'm trying to say,
What I want to say,
Without trying to say .. I LUH-UH-UH-VE YOU" (mp3)

Ditchin' music for books, Attempt #46. With that goal in mind, I moseyed over to 1/2 Price Books today and purchased on whims. Summer '06 reading material:
Scandinavian Design / Taschen Press
Les Miserables / Victor Hugo
Jude the Obscure / Thomas Hardy
The Good Earth / Pearl S. Buck

They had some really old books that were clearly as old as their average customer, very loved, and yellowed to the max, with list price $1.99 on the corner, and they went and slapped a $2.98 price sticker on it. Sick capitalists. 1/2 is sick anyway from the way they squeeze out a few quarters for a whole grocery bag of your gently used books.

I just realized something. That government influences design. You can see it all around.

I have mixed feelings about this adolescent nation. I know that all the comfort and convenience I enjoy on a daily basis is because of it, but I can't help but be more critical. The US is brash, bumbling, arrogant, would do anything for a dollar and primarily, whose workaholic, success-crazed people are going nowhere at a breakneck speed. And it's really ridiculous (well, many things here are really ridiculous) how ignorant the public is. Like me. Being in college is like living in a cave. Yes, it's a very fun, but closed- off cave. We trolls do not get out enough, nor do we care to. I don't think we need to adjust a few steps. I think we need to turn around or do some major weeding out. But who cares what I think, I'm just a materialistic, crazed twentysomething who's a little disoriented from being hit by the start of summer.

How do you enjoy youth? Really, give me your thoughts. I think I'm doing a bad job with that. Perhaps I should be extroverted sometimes. Like, in my essay for planning out the last 24 hours of life, I said I would shed my perpetual shyness and actually talk to boys I like. Sad that it takes the thought of impending death to make me do that. Haha.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Today I worked on a few scholarship essays when I woke up. Shouldn't even have attempted to, since I have no appreciation or drive for a finished product. My writing's always half- baked, which is not ok when money is involved. Anyway, the first question was

Imagine that you have just found out that you have 24 hours left to live.
Tell us what you plan to do in your last day on earth. (80 - 120 words)

And in formulating my answer to this question, I got really down .. and really excited. What does that mean? That I fall apart without deadlines? Or, most of us are too busy to notice how miserable we are. I was. What is this, the rich, middle- class kid syndrome? Or is it just another stupid American affliction. I see a scale: People who are poor (-5) only see far enough to realistically aim for 0, but I feel like not many people go beyond that into the positive realm (+). There are too many choices in life, as if choices set us free.

Also today, a misplaced story. My brother Sam and I were going on an evening walk around the neighborhood because it felt so deliciously chill outside, like Seattle or Montana up north. We ambled a bit near the elementary school across the street and came upon this swaggering old man. It looked like his bag, which must've been heavy for him, was swinging him this way and that. The crossing of our paths was inevitable- he proclaimed an atypical version of the fire-and-brimstone speech: "Let me give you some advice. Jesus Christ is returning soon with all the aborted babies. And they are going to KICK ASS! ..blar..blar..nice couple like you .. in hell.. I love you.." My bro was a bit taken aback, but as we brisked past him, I wondered aloud what the guy was doing outside of Austin. Because that's a pretty weird occurrence for a quiet, Dallas suburb.

Girl crush:
I'm a fool for missing her in Austin last month!!

P-fork: From Fox Confessor, on a song like "Star Witness", I'm guessing there's a car accident involved but the details are sketchy.

Case: I spent a while on that song. It's about an actual event that occurred in front of me. It wasn't actually a car accident but someone being shot to death. That was a real event that happened in Chicago.

P-fork: What happened?

Case: It was one of those things where there's gang violence and somebody gets shot right in front of you, and you live it and it's horrible. And, of course, it doesn't make the news because the kid is black. Nobody gives a shit except for his family, and you see how much nobody gives a shit and it's fucking heartbreaking. He wasn't even the kid they were looking to shoot. He was just some kid who they mistook for somebody else and they shot him. I saw it happen. I didn't make the song about me either. The song is pieces of different people but the event is in there.

Full interview

Boy crush:
Sufjan Stevens (of course)

P-fork: You say "these songs sound like songs I wrote," as if that's a surprise to you. Are you getting tired of your sound?

Sufjan: Yes. I'm getting tired of my voice. I'm getting tired of...the banjo. I'm getting tired of...the trumpet.

P-fork: Do you think that's because you've been so prolific over the past few years, or are you just getting restless?

Sufjan: I'm writing too much, for sure. I think it's important to get a season of rest, and I'm not so sure I've done that. That's why I'm not touring, I'm only playing one festival this summer. I have the summer off. I need to ride my bike more.

Yeah, me too. But it's in Austin.

Full interview

Listen to this song and think of adjectives, like high- soaring.
*S*t*a*r*s* - Set Yourself On Fire

I don't mean to end on a happy note, despite Suf's playful "last look" and the innocent poppiness of Stars.
And hey, no need to knock my affinity towards practicality. It's not a requirement, but I do find that newly acquired possessions lose their luster much more quickly if they're not really that useful. No company will ever manufacture an article of clothing sublime enough to hold all of my devotion. Everything you own gets old, so it might as well be somewhat practical in the long haul. Alright, I'm out for another lame essay.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Week Ever!

I wish I brought my djembe to Eeyore's Birthday Party on Saturday.