Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Woke up this mornin'...

Last time Aja made an entry, she spoke of hamsters boxing in her uterus. I remember it now not only because I click that link daily and end up seeing the same thing over and over again, but also I feel her pain.

No, really. Right now, I think they're having some kind of major hamster boxing competition in there. The grape-crushers have gone home because the boxing hamsters are too scary. And soon the casualties will arrive. It may be a welcome respite if the fighting has stopped.

For those of you who have never experienced pre-menstrual cramping, I'd like you to take a moment and imagine a time when you had to pee so bad that you could feel your urethra almost buzzing with the need to let go. Combine that with some unpleasant lower-abdomen cramping after a meal that just didn't settle right but got partially digested anyway, and now maybe there's some gas. Multiply by at least two, and you've got menstrual cramping. Only here, there is no amount of peeing or anything else to facilitate uncramping. The pain just sits there, defiant. Arrogant sonuvabitch.

There is Advil. And water. And believe me, I'm consuming both at this early hour.

I must not have slept well. I was resting mostly on unsheathed mattress when I woke up, and I couldn't sleep past 7:30. I need new sheets. I was having a long and somewhat weird dream with many parts that some people might find boring, and to you, I suggest tuning out the next couple paragraphs.

First was a thing at work. I was given a task that required me to learn some new software and make a thing for my boss with it. It looked like some kind of flow chart. I returned to work on a weekend to work on it, but the lab was overrun by some elderly people who had rented the place out for some kind of exercise function. All the computers had been moved to the basement, and that's where everyone had gone. I got down there, and every computer was being used by lab patrons. I was very frustrated until this group of kids stopped playing a stupid game and gave me a computer. Except that computer didn't have the program I needed, so I just wrote an email to my boss saying I couldn't do it.

Next, I was in class on the first day. Kevin was teaching the class. It occurred to me that I should've told some of the lab patrons to move since I was the person working there and I had the position of power. Then a door opened in the back of the classroom and it was my boss. His office was in the classroom. He gestured to me, trying to get me to come in, but I gestured back that I was in class. I was kind of amused at the prospect of my boyfriend meeting my boss in this way. Kevin was walking around the room, lecturing about blah blah first day things, so I motioned to him that I was leaving for just a sec and darted over there. He was frustrated that I hadn't done the project already, but understood my predicament. I promised to do it at the next opportunity.

My next class was so small, there were only three students and a female teacher. I don't know what the class was about, but we were discussing the meaning of cardinal directions. The other two were perfect blue-eyed, blond-hair, Aryan kids, a boy and a girl, and clearly good friends. They had in-depth answers for everything. They were discussing the Southern Cross of the room and how it was evil. The teacher was saying approving things, but I think the dream moved on or I woke up before it was my turn to explain anything.

Also, for some reason, I woke up with the song "Pearly" by Radiohead stuck in my head.

I checked out a new magazine yesterday. I don't know why; it looked trashy as hell. I think it was the combination of several buzzwords that made me think it might not suck, but then I also thought it would be populated by the kinds of articles that appear in Rolling Stone after all the pictures of celebrities and long, unreadable interviews with them. If only I had realized this was the same rag Monty reviewed a few days ago, finding little positive to accentuate. I must concur. There was an article about 2004 Democratic candidate Howard Dean that I liked (and I think Monty skipped), but otherwise, it was pretty... well, it thought rather highly of itself without the content or photography to back it up. It was *trying,* see, but it failed, I think.

Also, I really do not care what Bret Easton Ellis has to say about anime, even if it is negative. I don't care for anime, sure, but uh. Ripping apart Miyazaki? I like Miyazaki. It's pretty and has a somewhat positive slant, which is something Mr. Ellis might not be capable of. I mean, if you're going to watch some crazy animated film, it might as well be one of his. And if you're going to read a book, it might as well NOT be one of Bret Easton Ellis'.

The previous paragraph featured me, talking out of my ass. I haven't read any Bret Easton Ellis, but based on the majority opinion, it doesn't sound like something I *want* to read. A few years ago, a friend tried to convince me to read Less Than Zero, but the used bookstore price was always too high for me. I read another of his recommendations, Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, instead, which was quite good. So maybe I'm wrong. As for Spirited Away, I haven't seen it yet, but I am pretty sure I will like it. And I did see Princess Mononoke a couple times, which is also cool and pretty. And with that, I end my ass-talking justification.

Oh! I just remembered that there was a commercial for a television airing of The Big Lebowski in my dream! It showed a scene that doesn't really exist! The Dude and Walter were involved in some kind of gang war on the streets of LA at dusk. It was this great, swooping crane shot with lots of perspective and high contrast light and shadows. The Dude was telling Walter how he's a pacifist and Walter was doing something cuhrazy with his gun. I think that's where the "Pearly" thing came from. Anyway, bonus BL scene in my dream. Yeah!

Tuesday, April 29, 2003


This isn't much of an entry. I just figured the two lines of text below hardly counted as enough content to leave sitting on the front page between now and whenever I make the time to write another proper entry.

It's just another day. I had calzone for dinner with Chris. The Calzone King on 53rd and Roosevelt. I got the Sicilian--spinach and sliced egg--and a glass of iced tea. Yum.

We're still looking for houses. I've called some places, much to my amazement because I am seriously phone-phobic, but the bastards are having a hard time getting back to me. I will have to try again tomorrow. One called me today while I was in class, didn't leave a message, and wasn't around an hour and a half later when I tried to call back. Argh! Another place Chris called claims to be in Fremont, but defines Fremont as the other side of the bridge, i.e., Queen Anne a mile east of Seattle Pacific University. Bzzzz, wrong answer! So anyway, this week is officially dedicated to getting in touch with rental people and checking places out.

I have been watching the last hour or so of Manor House the past two days on PBS. That show is super cool for being reality TV, which I hate on principle and experience. Well, technically, I imagine there are exceptions to that rule--if you count trashy dating shows like Blind Date, which is pure quality, ruthlessly mocking Star Search, or shows like Trading Spaces, which I have enjoyed in the past, as reality TV. I never got into the Road Rules/Real World shit on MTV and I don't think anything on now is tolerable, either.

Anyway, the cool thing about Manor House, I think, is that it's not based on a presumption of equality like other shows. It's based on a society that was basically UNequal, so the show features people dealing with this sudden sense of inequality when they've been raised in a culture that purports to view all persons as equal, no matter how untrue that is in practice. This is formalized inequality, and it's maddening to many of the participants. That, and while I understand there is somehow a "winner" or set of winners at the end of the miniseries, it's not an outright competition. Except maybe in the sense that they will nitpick each others' lack or praise the exhibition of "Edwardian" behavior.

It's making me want to re-read Pride and Prejudice or see Gosford Park again.

The weather these past few days has been fantastic. The breeze has been a bit heavy, but it's otherwise warm and sunny and lovely spring weather. I've been wearing my sandals, which has resulted in a small sore on a middle toe where the straps rub against the joint when I walk. This will eventually go away as my feet become accustomed to the footwear.

I filled out the form for a Newslab addcode for summer and have figured out my plan of attack for fall. I *think* I should have graduating senior priority registration for fall, but that means I have to go talk to an advisor in one of my departments. It seems almost presumptuous to think I could be finishing college, even if it's later than I'd planned. I have 25 credits to spread out over three quarters. I need to take at least 12 credits or they'll push my status from full-time to part-time student. Then they'll give me a swirlie, 'cause that's what happens. It's the swirlie of college screwing you over. At least I am lucky enough to have parents who could pay for the whole mess so I'm not stuck with the loans.

Anyway. Blah, blah blah blah, blah! Blah? You don't say!

I'm fucking tired. Goodnight.

I have nothing more to say besides, "Thank you, Sammy."

Sunday, April 27, 2003

I feel you burn inside me... yeah, yeah, yea-heeah!

Just got back from lunch with Jen the Cute One. (Sorry, Jen, I must use that distinction since I know too many Jens!) I hadn't seen her for about a year until I ran into her one morning when we were both on our way to class. She took time out of her busy midterm study schedule to try out the buffet at Pailin Thai with me.

The food wasn't fabulous. The only thing that's sticking with me is the salmon red curry, which burns in my belly still as curries are wont to do. They don't burn so much going down, just while they're sittin' pretty in the stomach, waiting for the acid to kick in. It's a war of the acids. It's quite lovely. It's the point just before queasiness, where there is a strange amount of sensation eminating from my innards. That probably sounds gross, but if you enjoy curries, you probably know what I mean.

Honestly, I am a recent curry convert. It took me years to discover my fondness for the strange, spicy substance. My Indian ex found it frustrating that I didn't appreciate the food his mom cooked, for instance, or that at the time I didn't even like non-curry Thai food. I learned, probably because it was such a problem in our relationship, but also I felt left out. When I came to college, I was still a picky eater, but I was trying to be healthier. It was hard to do when I liked such a narrow range of foods.

My second year at UW was the year I learned to love Thai. I'd had a taste toward the end of my first year with a guy I met on SparkMatch and never really wanted to meet again. Then I tried it in San Jose with my friend Sammy and liked it. Then my dear friends and roommates were able to include me in their somewhat frequent trips to local Thai restaurants, the Thai-ger Room being a favorite.

By now, I've probably tried most of the Thai places in my neighborhood, as well as a few others in different Seattle neighborhoods. I had some delicious green curry with avocados (!!!) at Araya, the vegan Thai restaurant on the 5000 block of University Way. I have nothin' but love for Thai iced tea and iced coffee. I have many happy memories of meals in the Thai-ger Room with friends and family.

The Ave's most beloved Thai place, however, remains a mystery for me. Thai Tom is said to be the bestest darn Thai food you can get in the area, but it's a goddamn hole-in-the-wall and I just can't see waiting half an hour for a place to sit in that cramped little restaurant when there is a perfectly decent Thai place two doors down. It'd have to be pretty fucking orgasmic to make it worth my wait, and reports on its ability to induce said pleasure seizures vary wildly. My close friends say it's not really that much better than our usual. One friend can't stand to eat anywhere else. Either way, I've never been out with someone who insisted on Thai Tom to the point that we actually waited and ate there. I suspect I never will.

It wasn't until very recently, however, that I discovered my fondness for Indian food. I can't even remember how it happened. Kevin loves Indian food, but it tends to be un-vegan enough that he doesn't go out for it often. (There is, he says, a purified butter in most things.) One day, after eating enough Thai curries to realize curry wasn't so bad as I once thought, I felt curious enough to suggest we try an Indian restaurant. My treat. Kevin wanted to try a place with the same name as a place he liked in Silicon Valley: Shalimar. It's actually Indian/Pakistani, and we had some pretty tasty dishes involving eggplant and something else, rice, and naan.

Later we tried Neelam's, which is across the street from Araya and serves vegan Indian food cooked in separate dishes from the non-vegetarian stuff. It was pretty tasty. The basmati rice was yellow from saffron; the main dishes were various legumes swimming in red tomato/pepper curried sauce. Our server pointed out that naan wasn't vegan and suggested an alternate bread.

We recently tried to recreate a chickpea curry at Kevin's house, which turned out rather decently, I think. I am learning the subtle differences between 'proper' chai masala and Americanized chai--the masala has black pepper in the mix, which is quite a kick for a sweetened tea. The Indian food is winning me over.

Today is a beautiful day for warm bellies. The sky is blue and the clouds are white and puffy. There is nothing to make the discontent in my stomach become anything worse than a lovers' quarrel; they'll make up in the end.

Bright sunbeams push through the slats in my blinds with the confidence of weathered hands through loose soil. It's a bit of a rude awakening. At first I thought Kevin had left the Christmas lights plugged in when he left last night.

I've had the apartment to myself this weekend. I think I like it this way. I can walk around naked if the blinds are closed. I don't, of course, but I could, and surely that counts for something.

Jenny is with her boyfriend in Ellensburg, Wash. I've never been there, but by all accounts, it is a town rightly deserving of unenthusiastic visitors 'armpit' namecalling. My mom and brother also made the trek this weekend, but for different reasons. Neither of them has a boyfriend at Central Washington University to my knowledge.

There was some kind of statewide solo and ensemble high school music content taking place at that least hallowed of state institutions. Paul, ever the overachiever in his chosen field, was there for two performances.

Mom wanted me to go with them. She tried to entice me with...well, actually, there was nothing to entice me, just a twinge of guilt because trips freak her out. She told me before she left that the paperwork was almost in order in case she DIES, but those loose ends were bothersome. I was concerned, but at the same time, her trip consisted of a 2.5-hour drive over the mountains in early spring--not exactly the riskiest trip. Not without its element of danger, sure, but what truly worthy life events aren't?

I had to decline. I hadn't the time to get someone to cover for me at work and there was a volunteer meeting for the Seattle International Film Festival Saturday morning I planned to attend. Of course, I slept too late to go to the meeting, so that excuse was null.

They returned Saturday night. Mom had nothing to say about the contest, only that Ellensburg sucked. The food was not a highlight, she said. In my family, food MUST be a highlight for trips to be enjoyable. A town with no food cheer is a sad town indeed.

I await Jenny's triumphant return to Seattle for a different view of this town I hope never to visit.

My Saturday was spent largely with food of a different quality. I did my weekly grocery shopping at Trader Joe's as usual, but I knew a trip to a different store would be in order. TJ's made it difficult to buy the coffee I wanted--some kind of medium-roast fair trade beans I could grind there. The only fair trade stuff they carry is dark roast in sealed bags that are foreboding to open. I figured, if nothing else, I could get the beans at Ballard Market, which carries about eight varieties of Equal Exchange. A few hours later, I felt the itching for a trip. I grabbed a bus to 64th and 11th--Whole Foods. It's overpriced food porn, sure, but they have some cool stuff I can't get as easily elsewhere. They had their own version of fair trade coffee, which came in maybe 18 varieties, all different prices. Expensive prices. Some kind of Sumatran beans were on sale for $7.99/lb.--good enough for me. The Equal Exchange Sumatran coffee I've had from Bulldog News was excellent.

Before grocery shopping, I caught the matinee of Laurel Canyon at the Metro. It was enjoyable--pretty, sexy, not stupid. Good Saturday afternoon by-myself fare.

In my quest to quit chewing aspartamey gum without simply chewing sugary gum that makes my teeth feel like rot, I am exploring overpriced competitors in the realm of dental and natural gums. The package of Glee Gum proclaims it is "made with rainforest chicle, the way gum used to be made," and the sweetener listed is rice syrup. Unfortunately, you need to take three tiny pieces to get a wad worth chewing--there are 18 pieces in a $0.99 box--and the flavor disappears fast. Between! Dental Gum is sugar-free without aspartame, tastes good, has good texture, all that, but it's $1.69 for 12 pieces, and you need to chew two at a time. I should have tried the other kinds that could be purchased in large bottles as if they were jumbo-sized aspirins.

The Indian Chipati bread at TJ's is pretty good stuff. More substantial than the Middle Eastern Flatbread, less cardboardy than the pitas, actually vegan compared to the naan, and they heat up very nicely when put in a pan over medium high heat for a few minutes.

After all this disjointed talk of food and things, I think I must prepare my breakfast. Of peanut butter and raspberry preserves on a toasted wheat bagel. Hehehehahayeah. Peanut butter and jelly, that's what I like in my belly.

Shush. It's small and I'm meeting a friend for lunch at 1. Thai food. Nothing with peanut sauce, please.

listening: st. etienne - conchita martinez

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Can we just finish this thing up?

People can be so enthusiastic about the future. Especially when they're selling something.

Not to me, of course. I'm just part of the future they want to portray.

"Do you think this is going to help you in the future?"

I don't know. Maybe? It's an experience I've incorporated into my worldview, into my adaptation of what it means to interact with fellow humans for my own aims. So is that helping? How do I say that, smiling for the camera when they preen my collar and compliment my rosy cheeks?

A reporter from a local paper had been hired to ask the questions. She acted very interested. Half the time she seemed genuine in her interest; half the time she simply had to restate questions the crew had for me.

...this entry's been sitting here for several days now; I don't think now is the time to finish it, but I do want to get it out of the way so I can post something new.
Quiet Ghosts

That smells are so distinct is a tribute to our not-yet-well-understood olfactory system. That distinct smells can be irreparably linked to memories is just another mystery of brain.

Today I could smell my late grandmother. She was a young woman walking the opposite direction and across the street from me, right through the dry cleaners' driveway. I don't remember the name of the scent she wore--Estee Lauder something--but I can always recognize it as her.

I haven't smelled her for over seven years. A third of my life. She died shortly before my 14th birthday, right before Thanksgiving. She had cancer all over her body. We knew when they told us it was in her liver she wouldn't make it. Thanksgiving at grandma's house that year, without grandma, just my family and my aunt and her two sons.

I had to skip out of school for a few days before the Thanksgiving weekend began, of course. I had two best friends, and neither of them knew why I was gone. I figured when I got back they'd ask, but they didn't. I just knew I had to tell them.

I don't remember my grandmother often, and I remember my grandfather even less. I've never been close to extended family. Immediate family, sure; anyone who lived with us has always been important. It's only been the past year that I've realized I ought not discount the relatives as much as I have.

Maybe I'm lucky to have such quiet ghosts in my life. There is no roaring or guilt for me. If they say anything at all, it's in a whisper. I'm sure my dad whispers to me sometimes. As certain broad strokes connecting family members fade to gray, I'm reminded of their absence and wonder what I can do to maintain the other lines.

I have no animosity; it's simply difficult to make family out of what has always been distant. Where I grew up, family was who was around, and that wasn't relatives, for the most part. The definition of family is broad. It even includes some ghosts.

listening: minus 5 - where will you go?

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Trident Original Flavor Is Not As I Remember It

Trident Original Flavor is not the original flavor I recall.

Maybe it's just that I've gotten used to Extra Peppermint and the occasional Trident Freshmint, but Original Flavor is not the original.

I thought it was straight pepperminty. I thought wrong.

Cinnamon is one of my least favorite candy flavors, especially teamed with aspartame. I think I would have remembered such a heinous flavor in my mouth. But there it was, in all its cinnaminty squalor, making my mouth more cinnamony than I'd ever want.

It's almost as bad as black licorice. It would be like chewing fennel gum. Yuck.

Kevin knows if he wants me to stop kissing him, he should break out the black licorice. That dirty black licorice-lover.

I, for one, am a red licorice fiend. The smell of an empty tub of Australian soft red is enough to make me recoil with pleasure. I often argue Red Vines' superiority over Twizzlers.

I am a red licorice snob. And I hate Trident Original "Not That I Remember THIS Original Flavor" Flavor chewing gum.

There have been many movies this week. Not as many as some weeks, but a considerable jump in movie viewing from recent weeks. I can't complain.

Thursday, Chris and I, both grumpy, decided to cheer ourselves up with the 7:15 showing of A Mighty Wind, the new Christopher Guest ensemble. It reminded me of my dad; I wished he were around to see it. It was funny, too, as usual for these flicks.

Friday night Kevin and I went to Scarecrow and rented a handful of movies: The Producers, Moonlight Mile, and Wings of Desire. We bought some junk food from Safeway. I ended up feeling none too well at the evening's end after countless Red Vines, tortilla chips and salsa, and melted chocolate chips for dipping apple slices. Kevin discovered that tortilla chips dipped in melted chocolate are also good. I agree, but I had to draw the line at chocolate AND salsa.

We watched The Producers that night and were entertained. I mean, how can you go wrong? "Springtime for Hitler," etc. Fuh-neeee. I can't believe neither my mom or my brother have seen this already.

Kevin stayed the night, which is a rare treat. Usually he waits until I fall asleep and then leaves. It makes sense, usually, because he has some reason to be home, but it's nice to have him there.

I was productive Saturday. I made notes for Developmental Psych and eventually went grocery shopping. I watched Moonlight Mile and cried a little. The movie wasn't perfect, but it definitely had its strong points, like a fair portrayal of grief, not to mention Jake Gyllenhaal being pretty.

Sunday continued with productivity. I woke up and did laundry, then ventured out to return Moonlight Mile since it was a two-day rental. I met up with Chris, who gave me a CPU fan that is much quieter than the broken one in my box and accompanied me to Bartell's to buy a tiny amount of cheap Easter candy (small carton of Whoppers eggs) and trash bags.

Kevin came over for dinner and a movie. I cooked some artichokes and put on Wings of Desire, which was beautiful and long. I shall have to see it again sometime. If I'd written this closer to the viewing, I might have something more cogent to say about it, but as of now, I don't. Alas. Artichokes are a great vegetarian Easter supper, because you eat them with the gusto of tearing through the flesh of some large roasted bird. Sure, ham is the traditional Easter meal, but I'm about as secular as they come. So sue me.

Monday night felt like The Big Lebowski again, but I didn't watch it closely. Instead, I attempted to make toffee with margarine and brown sugar, which I'm sure is oh-so-wrong, and it turned out all granulated and over-sweet. This is probably why I haven't eaten it all already. I have decided that the next time I watch Lebowski, I will be making notes--about what's repeated, themes, overtones, etc. I've always meant to.

Last night I went to Kevin's and we made some chickpea curry and served it over potatoes after I inflicted Gilmore Girls on him. After that, he officially declared his distaste for the show. Chickpea curry is good, though.

Tonight at the Harem, since we had not anticipated the usual gathering because Jana was planning to go to movies at the HUB, only a few of us gathered (Chris, Graylan, Jana, Shane) and watched two episodes of 24, which I'd never seen before. I can't say I would again, either, but I can see how they're into it. Anna was home, cooking dinner for her boyfriend, so I finally got to meet him. He seems very cool, and Anna is so cute. After eating pasta and ice cream, we watched Murder by Numbers, a Sandra Bullock movie Jana and Shane rented. It was terrible. Chris and I were especially brutal in our mocking, which I think annoyed Jana. Even Shane said it was terrible, though.

I keep meaning to write more in here. I start little pieces in my notebook while I'm on campus, but then I get home or to work and am not quite in the mental space to flesh them out. I need to get on track with that. I'm reading On Writing Well in my free time (which I have a decent amount of, yippy!) and it's inspiring. It's like my now-retired beginning reporting prof in book form. The funny thing about that is my media law class right now uses a book he wrote as the text, but that doesn't come across to me as *him* as much.

Listening: Wilco - Radio Cure

Monday, April 21, 2003

I think tonight is a Big Lebowski night. I know the last Lebowski night was mere weeks ago, but I'm feelin' it again.

It's either this or I watch Mr. Personality, with your host, Monica Lewinsky.

Lewinsky, Lebowski... eh, go with what you know.

"Has everyone gone crazy? Am I the only one who gives a shit about the rules?"

There's nothing like intense boredom to really make me panic.

For the second time in my college career, I have exercised my right to withdraw from a class mid-term. I haven't been excited by any of my classes this term, but one in particular was causing me distress. It didn't stretch my thinking so much as inundate me with miles and miles of text. Things I thought maybe I gave a shit about, but it turns out I don't. At all.

Research in motivational science within the realm of social psychology may not be large in number, but it's large enough. Discussion on the subject was lively, at least among my classmates and professor, but I was withdrawn. It took a lot of effort to pay attention to the articles. It took a lot of effort to think of things to say in discussion. I think I'd actually said something twice. Last week, one class was cancelled and I feigned illness and took an unofficial sick day for the other one. It felt amazing.

I'm not sure if this makes me lazy, or if it just means the subject wasn't for me. To avoid the fundamental attribution error, I'm siding with "wasn't for me."

I sent my mom an email I'm sure she'll find distressing. It sounded...stressed. My friends on irc encouraged me to drop. So I dropped. There was no real reason for me to choke my sanity for the sake of this class, for the sake of finishing psych requirements when I have another two or three terms to finish journalism.

So, my plan for the rest of school is newslab this summer, a 400-level psych class (perhaps child and adolescent behavior disorders, woo-hoo!) and journalism ethics with the non-shitty prof in the fall, and keeping my fingers crossed for cool winter quarter electives or holding on 'til spring. Rah. I won't be done as soon as I'd hoped, but in this economy, this may be for the best.

And, of course, I emailed my prof to tell him I was dropping and briefly explain why. He just emailed me back to tell me he'd just graded my first paper and given me a perfect score, hoping this would persuade me to reconsider. It wasn't about the grade, though; the work was just stressful and not worth it to me. I still think my discussion grade would suck, too.