Aug 17, 2011

New Blog... No, Really

Hey peoples,

I actually made a new blog. I know. You're shocked. It's actually a little insulting. Stop it.

I did. Honestly. It's right here: At The Sidewalk's End. 

It's pretty much the same blog, only now I have pretty shoes on the header. Yay header! If you don't know what I'm talking about go check it out. If you still don't, it's OK. It wasn't that important.

(but i made the header. just so you know. i'm enormously proud of it.)

See you on the other side. Over.

Aug 4, 2011

Of Adjectives, Expectations, and Frozen Yogurt

WARNING: I'm thinking of starting all of my posts with warnings. Anyway, this is extremely long. I hadn't realized how long until I posted it. I could go edit and cut it down... but I've been editing an essay all week, so that's not happening. I would recommend skimming. Or you could just pretend you read it and move on.

Some of you might remember my epiphany in the dandelions that came last year about how all adjectives are relative. (i've since discovered that all words are relative, but this disturbers me less.) You may remember how very annoyed I was to discover that the only way I could define myself was in comparison to other people.... which totally stinks because in comparison it is mandated that someone is the loser. And, of course, that someone is me more than I'd like it to be.

Every time I tell someone I grew up in Hawaii they say, "Why didn't you go to college there?" And I say something like, "I just thought I'd never grow up if I stayed at home." Which is totally true. Like, if I hadn't gone away to college I still wouldn't know how to use a laundromat, I still wouldn't own a wallet, and I wouldn't know how much milk costs.

(ok, we'll be honest. i still don't know how much milk costs. i haven't bought it yet. i don't drink it that much. but i know i'm a grown up because i have a wallet and keys.)

What takes more time to explain is that, cliched as it sounds, I'm curious about me.

I mean, I've been living with my for eighteen years, I kind of want to get to know me a little better. You know how you'll know someone for years, at school maybe, and then when you see them somewhere else they're totally different? I thought I'd pull myself out of the context of my life and see what I was like without it. Silly of course. I haven't left behind my context at all. I find myself giving it no matter who I'm talking to. "Back home..." "In Hawaii..." "Where I grew up..."

I thought I was escaping the labels and expectations of everyone who knew me since I was six. Everyone who sat in sunday school with me and said, "she's haole," or "smart," or "weird." I thought once I was away from all of that something would blossom in my stomach and vola! Look! So that's who I was all along. Who knew?

Actually, even thousands of miles away from my context, I'm terrified of setting it down. Because who am I without it? I'm self-imposing all those expectations on myself now and I don't even have my sunday-school mates to blame for it.

This is not where I was planning on this post going. I wasn't going to really delve into identity. (though i do have a question: is there a healthy thing to base your identity on? honestly? if i think of myself as smart and then i am disillusioned out of this and just crushed, or if it stops me from doing things i'm bad at because that makes me seem less smart, then that isn't healthy. but isn't that true about basing your identity on anything and making any judgments about yourself? now i'm just confused...) I was actually going to note a few things that I've figure out about me. 

Of course they're comparative. You see, you thought I'd entirely forgot that I'd opened with my adjective thing didn't you? Nope, see, I was going somewhere for once. I know. Weird. So, from living with people who aren't my family I've come to some (comparative) conclusions about me. Nothing real earth-shaking.

I'm actually pretty clean. I don't take any responsibility for this. I think it's my mom's handy work and is probably a bit over the top right now as I try to prove to myself that where I am living is actually my home. But still. I have compulsions to do the dishes, clean the bathroom, etc. These are compulsions that my roommates do not have and do not understand. I'm mostly cool with that, but I wish they'd let me do it. I don't need them to do their dishes, I just need their dishes done. I'm good with cleaning them, but for some reason they haven't really borded that train of thought.

I go sleep early. Really. I'm going to sleep later than I used to and I still go to bed early. Yesterday was eleven thirty-ish because I had a paper due today. It felt late then and this morning it really felt late. But try complaining about a eleven-thirty bedtime to college students. See if you get away without a social stoning. I haven't really decided what I think this says about me... but I thought I'd share it. So if you happen to be my floor mate who keeps playing the ukulele at obscene hours of the morning, take pity on the poor socially awkward girl who lives across from you and stop. Or at least learn a different song.

I am socially awkward. Which does seem sort of fundamentally unfair. I shouldn't have to be physically and socially awkward. I really must have been at the back of the line when the stars were passing out skills. Because I'm a self-justifying person, though, I have come up with a perfectly plausible reason for why I'm socially awkward. The meeting new people part is because I've lived in a tiny town my whole life, so even people I didn't know knew me. Now I'm in a place where no one knows me... and I don't know what to do. Do I just walk up to people and say, "Hey. I'm Marissa. I'm a socially awkward Asian Studies major, looking for a job and craving sugar?"

Not really, right? There is some secret to this whole meeting people thing that I am just yet to discover. Right? Like a secret password.

... Hey, guys. Now would be a great time to let me in on the secret. Just saying.

I actually have a lot to tell you. Like I bought bubbles because I decided that I couldn't live without them. And I was walking back from blowing them on Sunday and got invited in by people I'd met that day ("hey. i'm marissa....") to eat a muffin. Which was fun. I felt intimidated though, because they were talking about politics. And I know nothing about politics. I do, however, know a lot about China, and I got into a heated discussion with a Pakistani in my ward about it. I met him, told him what I studies ("i'm a socially awkward asian studies major..."), and he leaned forward said, "Do you think Mao was a good leader?" We argued about it for twenty minutes, until he had to go talk to the Bishop.

My father has mandated that my entire family will eat sugar only once a week (with the exception of holidays recognized by hallmark) and it works well. Most of the time. Everyone once in a while I just really.... need... ICECREAM. ("looking for a job and craving sugar...") Tomorrow will be my once a week, though. I'm going to go get frozen yogurt. As a treat for me doing a whole half of the things I was supposed to this week. Because I'm responsible like that.


Jul 30, 2011

Boredom and It's Children

Boredom has a rather strange assortment of offspring. I am well aware that she is the mother of invention. This is widely known or at least widely held. Invention must be the favorite child. Drowsiness, lethargy, and, homesickness are neglected by the world at large, if not by their own mother.

Saturdays used to mean excitement. They used to mean sleeping in, movies with friends, walks with Katie, baking, beaching, hanging with my family. Now they mean a whole twenty-four hours that I must fill on my own. I am not very good at it, I'm afraid. Essays, bread, stretching, and youtube have been my companions today. Hopefully I get a hold of the two people I know on campus and we can go get ice cream or something.

My dad has commanded me not to think about the future. I'm not supposed to think about the two weeks of essays and finals in front of me. And then I'm not supposed to think about the two weeks of agonizing boredom between the summer and fall semesters. And then the three and a half months after that where hopefully I will be happier, less bored, and more competent, but still away. It's such a tragic word: away.

It's funny, I've been blogging in my head all week. I walked a past rape brick in the hallway the other day (it's a brick with "rape" sharpied all over it, supposedly there in case of, well, rape) and I started describing it to you in my head and thinking about the several ironies and strategical problems of it's position and function.

When my (somewhat nocturnal) roommate was writing her paper at twelve at night and then, an hour later, my next door neighbor started playing an ukulele next door I lambasted both of them in a pretend post. At least I wasn't lambasting them out loud, right? Besides, I had a test the next day.

I've been talking to you all week, but this is the first time I've written to you.

And, honestly, if there was someone I'd know for longer than two weeks that I had the option of communicating with right now then I wouldn't be writing to you. When I left home I was annoyed that so many people I knew were coming here--here, to my new beginning. Now I can't wait. I wish everyone I ever knew was coming.

Everyone! Come!


Jul 23, 2011

It's OK, I'm Not Dying (too much)

Maybe the "two teenagers" in the name of this blog has morphed into meaning me and my (various) alter personalities.... Yeah, I know it's a stretch, but I don't want to have to make a new one. I don't know how. And I'm in college. And I'm learning too many things I don't know how to do by command to go and learn something for fun. Those days are disappearing in my rear view mirror.

I mostly got on to tell you that I'm OK.

I mean mostly. I got a very concerned (and sweet) text from my cousin Tisha the other day and realized that you might come away from my last post thinking that I was dying.

And I kind of was. Thursday was a day of nightmares. In every possible way. It was my wallowing day. I wallowed. A lot. Yesterday was much better. I made cookies and played Apples to Apples with my cousins Kelsey and Thayne (seriously, my cousins have saved my life this week), explored the grocery store, went to class, talked to my parents on skype (skype is one of those things the gods brought down to us out of pity, like fire), laughed with my roommates, and made Saturday plans.

(my teachers say my sentences are too long, what do you think?)

Anyway, the sum of it is that I'm doing much better. There was only an hour or so yesterday that I felt any hardcore hollowness. The rest of the day was OK. So I'm not dying. I am still planning on transferring back to Hawaii for college after Christmas, but if I do I'm not going to be running away. I'm not going to do it because I can't do this. If I go back home it will be because I've decided that that's a better place for me right now. But this--this college in a desert thing, this being away from my parents and Mei and almost everyone who's ever known me--this I will conquer.


Jul 21, 2011

I'm So (Home) Sick

WARNING: Serious whining ahead. I wasn't even going to post this, but I haven't finished a post since I left Hawaii and I wanted to assure you that I'm still alive. Mostly. Read at your own risk.

I now understand why people live in their parent's basement all their lives.

Why would they leave? Why would you go away from people who love you and walk out into a world that gives you weird looks and treats you like every other person on the street? Why would you leave when you don't have to worry about how to best work things out with your roommates, what you should by at the store, and where your checks were sent? When you were comfortable and happy?

My parents say that they don't really remember saying goodbye to their family or their first couple days at college. I'm putting mine down on record: It stinks. It stinks worse than anything else. Ever since I gave my little sister that last hug I've felt hollowed out inside. I'm constantly fighting back tears. My voice sounds thick and there are these hideous, painful bags under my eyes. And even though I'm sitting here on my bed crying, my mom can't give me a hug. And she isn't going to be able to for another four months and fifteen days. No matter who else gives me a hug, it won't be the same thing at all. I hate this.

I know what my dad would say if he were here. He'd say, "Why aren't you watching that movie with your sociology class? Why aren't you going down and talking to those guys who are blasting music from their truck (as long as they're not return missionaries, because you're not allowed to talk to them)? I told you not to just sit in your room and do homework and watch Korean dramas and Doctor Who."

And he did. He told me. And I probably should have stayed up on campus to watch that movie with my class. But I was hungry, I didn't want to have to pay for food, I didn't know if it would be dark by the time we finished, and I didn't want to walk for forty minutes. And I probably should go talk to the girls who are yelling downstairs, who came in place of the music-blasting guys. I should. And maybe even could.

But I don't feel like I can. My hair isn't washed, I'm in a PE shirt and shorts, and face is all swollen up. That would be OK. I could wash my hair, change into something else and wash my face. But I don't think that I could talk to them without crying. I haven't really been able to talk to anyone today without crying. I don't even want to talk to the people passing under my window. I feel no interest in them. No sense of kindred-spiritness. I'm sure they're nice, but I don't know them. And after growing up in a town where you never have to talk to anyone you don't know, I wouldn't be comfortable with them. And all I want right now is to be comfortable. All I want is to get hugs from my family, to sleep in my bed back home, to run down to Katie's house, and complain to Sister Handcock, and make bread in my oven. And for my mom to hold me and tell me everything is alright, and that she loves me, and that I can do it.

That's it. I'm transferring back to Hawaii. There is no way I can do this for a whole year. I'd live in my parents basement if they had one, but since they don't I'll content myself with sharing Mei's room.

I probably won't. I'll probably end up liking it here, meeting friends, growing up, learning about myself and the world in general. Probably. At some point. But tonight I'm by myself and I can't think of any good solution.


Jun 3, 2011

Four From Exit

So I was at the airport and had just had a quick and silent freak-out about the possibility that they won't accept my drivers permit as identification (curse me, why didn't I just get a licence!). I had also just paid a hundred dollars because my baggage was overweight. But I guess that's what happens when you pack everything you own.

I was taking a flight separate from the rest of my family, even though we were leaving at the same time and going the same place, because it was a thousand dollars cheaper that way.

My mom hugged me, told me that she loved me and said, "When you get on the plane, count how many seats you are from the exit, so you can find it if the lights go out. And get off within 90 seconds. That's very important. I read an article about it."

I was grinning at her and she said, "That's so mom, isn't it?"

"So mom," I agreed.

I thought I'd be more emotional than this. I'm leaving Hawaii for six months. Six. Months. My friends (katie...) and the beach. And non-chapped lips. For six months. And I was going on my first flight by myself (i kept checking my pockets every three seconds--ID, boarding pass, cell phone... ID, boarding pass, cell phone). And a pre-recorded man had just announced over the loudspeaker that any unattended items would be confiscated and DESTROYED  which I thought was really funny, even thought it was probably to prevent bombs from going off.

I'm flying out of my childhood and off to college, metaphorically but officially jumping off the end of the sidewalk. This is the part where I thought I'd be freaking out. But so far... not so much.

I was four seats away from the exit on the plane.


May 27, 2011

Graduation and Such

Victory is mine! Victory is mine... Bring me all the finest muffins and bagels in the land? (Name that show?)

I am now all graduated.

People keep asking me how it feels and I tell them, "Like a long weekend." Remember how I was afraid of crying in the middle of graduation? Didn't happen. I think it's because it didn't hit that I was, you know, graduating. It still hasn't. Or maybe it has and I'm just handling it much better than I though I would. Maybe I really wasn't very attached to high school after all. (attached does not have a "t" in it. just so you know.)

The other question people keep asking is what I've been doing since I graduated. I wish I had a more impressive answer. I mostly say "sleeping," or "eating," or "watching a lot of foreign movies and documentaries and Korean dramas."

We have really got to talk about kdramas one of these days. But, once again, not today.

I've also been cleaning a lot. I'm leaving paradise for a desert in less than a week now. (you know, i always remember the difference between desert's spelling and dessert's because you always want one more dessert (thus the extra "s") but no one wants more desert. except my mom. who thinks they're pretty... we're related, really.) So I've been sorting through my clothes and books and cleaning out kitchen cupboards so that I won't be freaking out next Wednesday any more than is necessary.  I still need to clean out the closets and buy some lotion so I don't shrivel up, die, and become mummified in the lack of moisture.

I like wet air. And green vegetation. And rain. These are things I am expecting miss.

I should probably tell you that graduation went nicely. Graduation practices were actually better than bearable. I played angry birds for the first time (so addicting, stupid pigs) and got to hang out with my friends. Graduation itself went fairly smoothly. I don't remember stuttering in my speech more than once  (if I did, don't feel obligated to disillusion me). I had two favorite parts. One was right before the ceremony when one of my classmates told me I was just like Emma Thompson.

This was the other one:

After the ceremony, when we were supposed to walk calmly off the left of the stage the boys lept up from the bleachers and started doing the haka. I'm sure this wasn't completely spontaneous. My bet is that during the eternity that they spent passing out diplomas someone employed the trusted and true "pass it on" tactic. But I hadn't heard about it. And it was way awesome.

I'm going to go sleep now. Or eat. Or watch a foreign film, documentary, or kdrama.


May 17, 2011

What I Don't Understand

There are many things in this world I don't understand. Like calculus. And the internet. And how you estimate how many stars are in the universe. (are all of these things connected somehow? if i learn calculus will i be able to estimate the number of stars in the universe?) And also why, on earth, my school has fourteen hours of graduation practice.

Fourteen hours? What could we possibly do for that long?

That's what I was thinking when I walked into the gym today (after paying seventy-eight dollars of dues, including three dollars from a ID i swear I never had). And then we learned the songs (and motions) to Lean on Me, You Are My Fire (my childhood in note form), It's Hard To Believe (ahh, High School Musical), and two others songs I'd never heard of.

That was six hours of practice. My legs hurt and my respect for Michael Jackson has gone up, because I do not understand how people do that with their body. We have four more hours of practice tomorrow and I'm wondering, what's left? I'm told we have to practice walking and moving our tassels, which is, after all, very complicated.

I guess. Maybe?

But it can't possibly be four hours worth of complicated. Right?


May 8, 2011

Graduation BeMoanings

FUN FACT: This is my last week of high school and my last week of seminary.

This fun fact? Has not clicked at all. I have no real feelings about it. I don't really believe in it. I've told myself that it was coming for so long that, now that it's here and fun facts like the above are bouncing in my ear until my skull rings, I find myself brushing them off and saying Uh huh. Yeah. I'm sure.

I wonder when reality will hit. When I'll suddenly realize that this is where the sidewalk ends and high school is moments a way from become the good old days and I am going to have to wash my own socks from now on and ever after.

I hope it doesn't happen in the middle of one of my graduation speeches. (yes, plural. not only was i unsuccessful in passing my high school graduation speech off to Vita, i am now talking in seminary graduation too... Brother Oleole told me i'm representing all the girls in our graduating class, but no pressure or anything.)

I'm the crying sort. Have I mentioned that? I cry. A lot. Often and hard. None of this single streak stuff for me; that's for amateurs. I do full-on, red-faced, mouth-creasing, eyes-burning, lungs-searing sob fests. (When we watched Titanic in school I was the first girl to break down. Ila was next to me and it started this chain reaction until our entire row was crying into kleenexs we made Taylor fetch for us.)

Books, movies, long days and particularly cuddly looking bear cubs send me over the edge. Coming to the Great and Grave Realization in one of my graduation speeches is thus potential humiliating. And it's totally the kind of thing that would happen to me.

I can just see myself, the poster-girl for one of those high school cliches I've been avoiding for the past four years, standing up and talking to all my school-mates, their friends, families, and dogs and sobbing, "I'm going to miss you all so, so (sob) much."

No. No no no. I refuse.

What I am tempted to do is quote Bilbo Baggins: "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

It's perfect! Half of the people up there I haven't talked to since sixth grade and most of them think my name is Melissa. (you know my name, right?... right?)

Anyway, I might be spared the humiliation of sobbing in front of everyone, or the awkward displeasure of my school councilor when I half-insult everyone I'm graduating with, because last time I checked my cap and gown were yet to materialize. I just might not walk at all. Which would be OK by me, but I'm pretty sure my mom, school councilor, and various English teachers wouldn't be happy.

You know they're making us all wear white shoes for graduation? How lame is that? I don't even own white shoes. Do you think that they'd give my graduation speech away if I showed up in yellow wedges? Because that's a risk I'm willing to take.


Apr 25, 2011

Tetanus, Pineapple, and Other Unfortunate Combinations

I googled tetanus symptoms today.

I got hit by a bus a week or so ago. (i suppose it's more accurate to say I hit a bus. the bus itself wasn't really moving at the time. but "hit by a bus" sounds so much more dramatic. and less clutzy. ) When I got around to showing my mom the torn skin on my back she decided I needed a tetanus shot. Then Monday happened. And the tetanus shot didn't.

My mouth has been really sore, and because I'm mother's daughter it occurred to me in the middle of Wives and Daughters this morning that maybe sore mouths are a sign of tetanus. And I was dying. So I got up to google it.

Apparently sore mouths have nothing whatsoever to do with tetanus. So my oral woes must be a result of the obscene amount of pineapple I've been eating.

I haven't written in a really long time. I know. Actually, I really thought about not blogging. I'm still thinking about it. But you haven't gotten rid of me yet. I will probably switch blogs when I got to college, though. Does anyone have any good blog name suggestions? Names are not really my strong point. I'm also going to have to figure out how to make a blog. Katie made this one. Pretty, huh?


Since my last post

--a tsunami came. the warning came when katie and i were on a walk and we figured that someone accidentally pressed the big red button. not so much. i walked up to a hill to get away from it at about two in the morning. it was about two feet tall. ihop opened at three. i had to go to school the next day.

--i have driven a lot. on highways. i am getting better at shifting and steering, but not so good at stopping and starting. the people who drive behind me hate me, 'cuz i usually go the speed limit. my dad has only used the emergency brake once. and i still haven't hit anything.

--i became a valedictorian without knowing how to pronounce it. i really want to give my speech to a guy in my class. i'll get up and say "hey everybody, i'm giving my speech to Vita." and then Vita would get up and do a rap or something. and everyone will tell me how good my speech was. i still don't know how to pronounce valedictorian.

--i got hit by a bus.

among other things.

I accept only 70% of the responsibility for the obscene amount of pineapple I've eaten. The other 30% goes to my visiting cousins. Because they are tourists they are allowed to stop by random fruit stalls and buy all sorts of fruit. (fruit like really, really green guavas. do guavas ripen after they've been picked? how about after they've been cut? inquiring minds want to know.) Pineapples have been bought often. And cut up. Left on the counter. Beautiful and glistening.

(picture compliments of YumSugar, Burning Questions. and pineapple makes your mouth hurt because of bromelain.)

I have eaten much of them.

Do you blame me?

Lots of pineapples make your mouth hurt. You're supposed salt them so that they don't. But I always remember that just when my mouth starts hurting. I have no memory. Or self control. Thus the sores on my mouth.

The good news is, I don't have tetanus. Probably.


Mar 4, 2011

I (Kinda) Drove

I started learning how to drive tonight. Like, in an actual car. With no strange flimsy manual letting me know that it is darker at night than it is during the day. There was actual gas involved. And you know... strange lights were flashing on my dashboard. I kept feeling like they were trying to tell me something.

Anyway. I have emerged unscathed (at least physically) and have concluded that I have not played enough video games in my life. The whole steering thing? Totally foreign.

I did kind of sort of get the hang of it. About half way through my dad suggested that I start driving on the right side of the road. I thought about telling him about my secret dream to be James Bond, but I already told him about my secret dream of being a street performer with an electric violin in NYC. I'm mindful of his feelings and I try to only drop one secret dream a week.

The good news is I didn't crash into anything. But when I'm in the car there are two categories of things: The ones that don't move, so I have to try hard to miss them. Then there are the ones that do move, so I can have some hope of them diving out of the way.


My dad told me that I was the best first time driver he'd ever seen. But the only other first time driver he'd ever seen was himself... so I'm not sure how encouraged I am by that.

I'm going to completely switch gears (ha... get it? fine... never mind) here and mention a few random things now.

1. Prom is coming up and I'm going to be happy when it's over. As fun as it is to watch everyone primp and prepare I'm tired of everyone ragging on me for my lack of school/senior spirit in not going. I have no school/senior spirit. I thought this was blatantly obvious. Since, like, sixth grade or something. I'm not sure why anyone is surprised anymore. The only one who hasn't bugged me about it is the guy who is also not going because he broke up with his girlfriend.

2. My mom is sanding/recoloring (I know there is a technical term for that, but I don't care) the kitchen counters. She wears this funny looking gas mask when she does it (I love you mom. You are very cute in your funny looking gas mask). As ridiculous looking as the gas mask is, it's also very useful. The wood dust and thick brown goop she applies to the wood makes my head spin when I'm in the same room with it. It's really sad how useful things are ridiculous looking. Someone should declare thick tennis shoes, sweat pants, and ridiculous looking gas masks attractive, instead of high heels, skirts and two inches of makeup. Talk about ridiculous. It's too bad I love high heels.

3. We made cupcakes in culinary today. Well, no, we didn't actually make them. We decorated them, though, with chocolate curls and chocolate drizzles. They were chocolate cupcakes. Any class with that much chocolate in it automatically gets bumped to my favorite. It might have more competition if we were reading The Importance of Being Earnest instead of Heart of Darkness in Lit.

It is later than it should be and I have a grueling day of cutting out pictures of garnishes and talking about Saussure. I am a very diverse person, my friends. My talents are few and far between.


Feb 17, 2011

A Pointless Post Concerning Valentines Day and Belly Dancers

On Valentines day a boy gave me a flower...

He was four (or five? possibly six? what, I barely know how old I am) but, personally, I think that makes it cuter. I also got Valentines from my entire Lit class. Among the notable well wishes and compliments (50% of them told me I was smart... which would have been flattering if I wasn't sure that they said that because they couldn't remember anything else about me), I was told that I was smarter than Glenn Beck... Thanks, Kiana. I think.

Be warned: This post has no point. I just wrote an essay about Beloved that was dripping with points, and I've run out. So this will be throughly pointless.

I've been studying for my drivers test (finally) and have spent most of the time wondering who wrote the manual. Whoever it was delighted in obvious truths such as: "No one can see as well at night as they can during during the day."

Um... Yes. Thank you for that. I was unsure before.

I really like some of their hypothetical questions too, one of which involved jaywalkers and asked how a mature driver would engage in such a situation. Among suggested answers was "give them a little nudge to show them who's road it is." I guess can't really begrudge them that one. If I wrote a driving manual I'd probably work in as many incredibly stupid answers as I could.

I hope I never write a driving manual. Ever. I do wonder how you'd go about getting that job, though. Kind of like being a tattoo-artist. Do you have to be licenced  or read a manual? Who do you practice on? And belly dancers too. How do you learn to belly dance and when does it stop becoming a slightly strange hobby/exercise regime and start being a profession? I'm not sure. And I don't think I care enough to google it.

One of the problems of living in a small college town is that it really isn't part of The Real World. Most people here go to school or work for the school. We don't have any driving manual writers, tattoo-artists, or belly dancers that I'm aware of. And while that's OK we're not chock-full of chefs, engineers, interior decorators or farmers either. The result being that when I sat down to write out my possible future occupations (for a school thing--I'm am neither cool nor nerdy enough to diagram my future without my grade being involved) I could only think of four. Four occupations total, not occupations I wanted. They were: teacher, plumber, and beautician. And tattoo-artist


I am going to finish these posts and leave these thoughts and go study for my theory midterm. Hegel and Gramsci are calling, folks. I'm going to go answer them so that I'll maybe have some occupational options later in life. I don't think I'd be a really good tattoo-artist.


Feb 6, 2011

Being A Tourist

My cousin, my cousin's husband, my cousin's husband's sister, and my cousin's husband's sister's husband are all here vacationing with us this week. (Did you get all that?)

I woke up on Friday and found the latter two mentioned on my living room floor and woke up on Saturday and found the former two on my office floor. I was pretty disappointed today when I woke up and found I didn't have any extended (or very extended) family on my kitchen floor. None in the bathroom either, though that would have been a little disturbing.

When family comes to visit us, which happens anywhere from once to three times a year, we pull out our book of Everything You Need To Know To Be A Tourist In Hawaii. Everyone has something to add. Mei likes to give them the rundown on malasadas (think doughnut holes, puffed up, deep fried with powdered sugar and some kind of filling)

and Ted's Bakery Chocolate Haupia/Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pies

so that they'll go out and buy some so we can eat them too.

My mom warns them about things. She tells them about people who have gotten lost in the mountains, or have dived into the ocean and hit their head on the rocks they didn't know where there (always look first!) or got a terrible infection from corral scrapes. She also tells them about places that they should eat, like the shrimp trucks, Haliewa Eats, etc.

My dad tells his famous rip tide story:

Ahem. Back when dad was body-boarding in really big waves (and mom insisted that he have an equally big life insurance policy) he was out at the beach one day when he saw these two military guys, buff and tattooed, swimming against a current. The life guard was on the beach trying to explain to them through vague gesticulations that they needed to swim parallel to the shore. They weren't getting it and my dad paddled out and saved them.

Moral of the story: Even when you're a big, buff, tattooed military guy, you don't fight against the water and win and if you try you're going to end up being saved by a communications professor who is much smaller than you.

My cousin, Julie, told my dad that she already knew about swimming parallel to the beach from Bay Watch, so she was good-ta-go as far was water safety was concerned. See, Bay Watched payed off. I feel the same way about West Wing when I take Gov quizzes.

My part in all of this is the chapter titled How Not To Look Like A Tourist. There are several things one must remember when doing this

  1. It's called LEE-KAY-LEE-KAY High way, even though it's spelled Likelike.
  2. Don't take your Hawaiian pronunciation too far, it's not pee-pay-lee-nay, it's Pipe Line.
  3. Take my high school band shirt and throw it on your dashboard, in a vain attempt to convince those who would break into your car that it isn't really a rental.
  4. Don't leave anything in your car in case they're not convinced.
  5. No aloha shirts, fanny packs, straightened hair, flowered board shorts, or cameras hanging around your neck.
  6. If you wear any of those things, please don't stand next to me.
  7. Put on sun screen. No matter what your teacher told you, the sun you've lived under is different from the one here. I don't care if you tan. Here you burn.
  8. No, really. No one likes lobster skin. It's painful and embarrassing. 
So far no one seems to have earned any third degree burns (this time). They've had Ted's pie and yesterday no one was dragged out by a riptide. So far so good.


Jan 18, 2011

strike against capitals

once upon a time...

paradise lived in peace. it was beautiful.
blue water. blue skies. balmy beaches. you know. paradise. it was beautiful and limitless. and insect-less.

but that golden age passed. now we have cockroaches. and centipedes. centipedes are long, striped, ugly things. however, they probably didn't deserve that time i chopped one up (they still live after you do that, you know) and then boiled it, because my friend told me that if you just flushed it down the toilet they would crawl back up.

were you lying, bria?

centipedes turn blue when you boil them. thought you might want to know.

anyway. lots of nasty things came with the fall of paradise's golden age (which may have coincided with the fall of the titan's or eve and adam's expulsion from eden), but perhaps among them most evil were mosquitoes.

my mom told me they probably came in a water barrel. some demented ship brought evil on wings to paradise. demented. it is a good and accurate word, only because sadistic sounds a bit harsh. after all, it didn't know the awful, evil disease it was carrying. so demented will do.

last night mosquito(es) woke me up. three times. three times! there is no evil like that which deprives sleep. I am not a nice person when i'm tired. i get these craters under my eyes that make me look like i'm a druggy (i'm not, i promise), i can't be bothered to make my clothes match or straighten up my hair. i suddenly dislike things for no reason.

like today. today i have a sudden and fierce dislike of capitals and opera music. thought you might want to know.


Jan 13, 2011

Evil in Various Forms

A while back my dad came up with this brilliant idea. He needed his students to read... they weren't reading... he would make them get online and record videos of themselves teaching the reading! And he would make it a fourth of their grade! Brilliant!


I told him at the time it was an evil idea. People shouldn't have to video tape themselves. They shouldn't have to summarize and analyze a complex reading a few minutes. It's just... wrong. Somehow. I told him so and told myself that I had done my duty as a student.

He didn't listen to me and continued with his evil plan (though, in all fairness, not quite as evil as Starbuck and Google's plot to take over the world). And that's alright. I'd washed my hands of it. Except now I'm in Brother McArthur's Cultural Theory class and guess what is a fourth of my grade? Gee, how did you know?

So I find myself trying to summarize Hegel's theories on divine self-alienation, history, thought and reality, and the two parts of his dialect. In two and a half minutes... Head meet desk. I sound like an idiot. And I have to record myself. I stutter and say "um" every few words. I try to stare vaguely over my computer screen so that I don't have to see... um, well, me. I hate pictures of myself. Videos are even more disconcerting. And no matter how many times I do it, they don't come off right.

The Starbucks/Google plot to take over the world is sounding less and less  evil.

Other than that, though, I really love cultural theory. Thinking about thinking is mind-warping, but in a good way. Mostly.


Jan 2, 2011

Bright Star

You might, at one point, get an urge to watch something off Netflix. Something good. And Austin-y (because you're an Jane Austin junky and you know how all Austin films end). And you catch a glimpse of Bright Star and remember that your mom said it got a great review from the New York Times. So you look it up and, truth, it was a really great review. Though, really you should have taken a clue from the line that said it's intensity saves it "from the tidy prison of [a] period drama," since a tidy period drama (read: a happy period drama, with a bow tied around happily ever after) is exactly what you're looking for.

So you download it from Netflix and call your whole family in to watch it.

So you watch it.

And it's an exceptionally well done movie. Beautiful, really. Their are some glorious shots. Like this one:

The actors are exceptional. Everything feels quite real (though I do find it odd when they quote poems to each other), but that real feeling makes it that much more annoying when the entire movie is spent in the dramatic, often depressing, throes of love.
So, when you're dad asks, "How long does this last?"

You find yourself saying, "Until he dies?" And hoping that's pretty soon.

Your prediction turns out to be pretty accurate. Most of the movie they're together and happy, though their happiness is always tinged with foreboding, or apart and dissolving into tears. Like when our main character's little sister (Topsy?) runs down and tells her mother, "Fanny wants a knife." When her mother asks why, Topsy replies, "To kill herself." It turns out Mr. Keats has written only a very short letter, after a long while of not writing any letter at all.

So when you get the urge to watch something good and Austin-y on Netflix, don't watch Bright Star.

As beautiful as it is, it's not worth the tears I--erm, you will, rather--shed when Keats dies and poor Fanny goes into convulsive sobs. Just stick with Austin. You might know all the endings... but the main guy doesn't die. And when the main girl breaks down in convulsive sobs at the end, it's because Edward isn't married after all. (Name that movie?)

Of course, I'm directly clashing with the New York Times in writing this, which feels a bit daring. It's the New York Times. Mark Bittman writes for them. And they're the only newspaper I read.

But I'm really against sad endings even when they're based on true stories and I'm against love that always has despair hanging over it... pretty much always. Anyway, I'm pretty sure no one from the New York Times reads this blog. So... Thought I'd give you a heads up. If you like this movie, I still love you. I just probably won't watch movie with you.


I have now had an hour, a few games of Clue and a chapter of Hornblower to think this over and can view Bright Star with some complacency. While the plot was a bit circular and the characters a bit hard for me to relate to, I still think it was a good movie. I might even have liked it, had I had not been hoping for something a little more cheerful, at least in the beginning and middling parts. So, if you like this movie, I'll still watch a movie with you. But I get to choose the movie.