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June 2005

the entry where I just quote someone else

June 22, 2005   

Chris Bowers:

I can’t stand the nearly ubiquitous, juvenile machismo in the blogosphere, especially when coupled with mind-numbing refusals to admit that there is sexism in the blogosphere. Among other things, we call people pussies, talk about people getting bitch-slapped, tell people not to get their panties in a wad, demand that people grow balls, order our comrades to sack up, challenge people’s manhood and sexuality, regularly discuss whether certain women are “doable” or not, and we wonder why men outnumber women in the progressive blogosphere two to one? Sexist and homophobic language of the sort that I haven’t heard since I was in the locker room in high school flies around left and right, and we are surprised that more women don’t feel comfortable here? And the excuse that it doesn’t bother all, or even most, women doesn’t fly. The fact is that it does bother quite a few, and helps to build an atmosphere that lets many potential members of our coalition know that they are neither equals nor welcome. And if being polite to our sisters doesn’t jibe without your libertarian ethos, my initial response is to tell you to either deal with it or ram it.

via MyDD.

It ain’t just the blogosphere, Chris. Lately, I’ve been reading a bunch of women/feminist progressive blogs (which I swear I will post about at some point), and it’s been like a breath of fresh air. ETA: I know Chris is a guy, and he’s one of my old reads, not the new batch I’ve been reading.

Kitchen Nightmares

June 22, 2005   

I write not of our house’s cooking space, but of Gordon Ramsay‘s tv show, Kitchen Nightmares. It is awesome. Did I say “awesome”? I meant kick-ass. He goes to four different restaurants that need help and consults with them for a week, really getting into the kitchen and into the business to try to help them. He finds the weaknesses in their operation and in their menu and offers up pragmatic suggestions for how to fix their problems. He’s got a filthy f*#$ing mouth on him, you can see that, yeah? I laugh to myself because that’s how he talks. It’s my new favorite show. In the second season, aptly titled Kitchen Nightmares Revisited, he goes back to the same restaurants after a year to see if things are working out.

In Hell’s Kitchen, you can see that he’s a hard-ass and cares about quality in general, but that’s about it. You see more that he likes to yell at people. You don’t really see the side of him that seems to love seeing chefs blossom and become more than they were, praising them and building them up when they outperform themselves. Man, this is sounding gushy. Also, KN highlights that GR is actually pretty damn hot. Hee. I run away and hide.

eta: I LOVE the bumpers that take you to commercial on Hell’s Kitchen. Those people deserve some sort of award. The bumpers for KNR is pretty good too, but they’ve got nothing on the HK ones.


June 22, 2005   

This week, Seppo and I are flying out to Philly to go to Chau’s wedding. We are staying with Hajeong, whom I haven’t seen in over a year! Yay! I can’t wait. This is our itinerary for Philly:

  • Fly in to Philly early Sat morning
  • Hang out with Hajeong
  • Go to afternoon wedding and evening reception
  • Hang out with Chau Sunday morning
  • Dinner with Mii Ae Sunday evening
  • Lunch with Jung, Mii Ae, Rye-Jin, and maybe Anny on Monday
  • Dinner at Morimoto Monday evening with Hajeong
  • Hang out with Hajeong some more
  • Leave for Atlanta early evening Tuesday

Oh, I forgot: eat lots of cheesesteaks and water ice.

I’m really looking forward to eating at Morimoto. I have been reading some reviews and planning menu strategies, mainly wondering which level of omakase I want.

As for the Atlanta leg of the trip, my mom wants to celebrate my birthday early because my brother and his girlfriend both can take a day off mid-week while we’re there. I am also thinking that I would like to take them out somewhere nice, and maybe cook them something nice — possibly the chicken with 40 cloves or teriyaki chicken. I can’t remember if my mom has any nice pans…

We fly back in the morning of the 3rd which is great because we’ll have that day off, plus the 4th to rest up before going back to work. Oh, I think I also get the 5th off, so I get another day. Yay!


June 13, 2005   

If you read any political blogs, you may know about a big fallout between Kos and a large contingent of progressive women (and some men). I am not going to recap the issue here, as it has been covered up the wazoo in many places, so I am going to say that the cool thing I am getting out of this is learning about the awesome women blog scene. For instance, I’m thinking about adding feministing to my daily rotation. I’ll probably evaluate a bunch in the coming weeks and add permanent links to the ones I like on the sidebar.

Via MyDD (yay Philly blog which is awesome), I learned that a Choi has won the Democratic primary for mayor in NJ! Ah, a Korean American Democratic mayoral candidate from my extended family (ok, so he’s probably not family, shut up). Not only that, but it is gratifying to see that he won the nomination after some annoying racist crap:

Choi, who made his first bid for public office, was virtually unknown until two radio hosts on NJ 101.5 FM poked fun at his Korean heritage, asking who would vote for someone with that name and insisting Americans should vote for Americans.

The comments from the “Jersey Guys” brought a deluge of criticism from Asian groups, and gave Choi weeks of free publicity. He was invited on the show two weeks ago for about two hours during which Craig Carton and Ray Rossi apologized for their remarks.

[via The Star Ledger]

A minor tick is that the silly reporter should really have been referencing “Asian Americans” and “Korean Americans”. The original cited title for the article was “Korean voters against Walmart too” makes it sound like the country of Korea rejected Walmart, which is what I honestly thought the article was gonna be about. And what’s with the “too”? Like, Americans reject Walmart, and these non-Americans also reject Walmart. Duh, you can’t vote for a mayoral primary race unless you are an American citizen. It’s like when Michelle Kwan beat Tara Lipinski (sometime in the 90s) and the article headlines read, “Kwan Beats Out American!” It’s not like I’m screaming racism or anything remotely like that at all, but little slips like that reveals the subconscious drawing of the lines between “us” and “them” that is easy to ignore, until one day when you find yourself in the position of “them”. It’s important to become clued in to the nuances and the subtext at play, because this helps you to really get it and know it, and you know, knowing is half the battle. Ahem.

Speaking of getting clued into nuances, there is a contingency of progressive people who think the best thing to do about racism/sexism/homophobia/etc is to suck it up and show them you are better than “that” (whatever The Powers That Be think “that” might be) or that you can have a sense of humor about it, but I disagree firmly and fundamentally. Ignoring a problem and/or joking about it does not make it go away. Pretending that all races in the US face the same obstacles in their everyday lives doesn’t make it so. Let’s put it in terms of illness. If you are diagnosed with an illness (in this example, the illness is racism, not your race — duh), do you simply say, “I am going to ignore this because I will not let it affect my life,” or do you acknowledge that there is a problem at hand, learn everything you can about it, and actually DO something? I think most reasonable people would learn all they can and do something about it. Similarly, if sexism (or whichever particular intolerance you are dealing with) exists in your workplace or classroom or whatever, the thing to do isn’t to pretend it’s not there. The best way to address it is to first acknowledge it in fact exists and to go from there.

work it out

June 13, 2005   

I am thinking about starting a series of writing exercises to ramp up for this November’s NaNoWriMo. I think I need to learn more about the building blocks of writing. For instance, I could go a couple of weeks of learning to write individual paragraphs with a purpose and a dramatic arc. Then I could build up to writing scenes. One of the big things I learned about my writing is that I have a good sense of what I want to happen in a given scene, but I can never seem to close one off with any finesse. I’ll have to be pretty disciplined about it, but I think that I can set a reasonable schedule to do it. I might try writing on pen and paper, but we’ll see how long I last that way.

The BBC is allowing free downloads of Beethoven’s symphonies as performed by the BBC Philharmonic. As I am pretty ignorant when it comes to classical music, I figure I can learn to appreciate and identify these works by listening to them on my iPod everyday.

My pet peeve while driving is drivers who do not signal for turns or lane changes. More than anything else, this action drives me to what I know to be an unreasonable amount of anger, but it amuses me to cuss a little and give them the “why don’t you signal, you buffoon?” gesture, which looks like closed-fist-open-palm-closed-fist-open-palm with my palm facing outward, which I know no one understands. That gesture, and my “let me merge like I’m supposed you, you moron” gesture, which looks like my left hand held out like I’m going to shake someone’s hand with my right hand held similiarly but at ~30 degree angle to that where I’m ramming my right hand into the middle of my left hand, which I also know no one else understands, are my favorite to use on the road. The other person gets confused, and this makes me giggle.

My favorite song to sing while driving has to be, bar none, Bon Jovi’s “I’ll Be There For You”, because I know all the words and it requires some screaming. Runner ups include any Motown and Dance Hall Crashers, although it kinda sucks because I don’t know enough words, so I end up doing that weird mumbling thing that everyone does when they don’t know the words.

the lies we tell

June 6, 2005   

I have a very good body image. I’ve always consciously striven to be a person who can look objectively at her own body and not be filled with self-loathing or over-inflated ego. I think I look fine. I could use some toning here and there, and maybe dress up more often, but overall, I don’t look bad. I know what my good physical traits are and I know what my not-so-good physical traits are.

I’ve been socially conditioned to lie though. Somewhere along the line, I must have learned that people identify more easily with others when you show a vulnerability. So while I feel in general good about myself, if a girlfriend is feeling bad about her body, I’ll not only point out what great features she has and that she’s seeing herself in a warped light (which is almost always the case), I’ll also point out something similarly “bad” about myself, even though I don’t feel bad about it.

In a similar vein, when in the course of ordinary conversation, it is appropriate for me to comment that I have big thighs and legs for someone of my general size (I assure you that I don’t just bring it up for no reason — heh) in a conversation that is not about feeling bad about body image, even when I’m very careful to convey that it is not something I view as negative at all, the other person (generally a woman) is very very quick to say something like, “No, your legs aren’t big! They look fine!”

I can’t tell if they are just trying to make me feel “better”, or if they really believe it. I can’t really think it’s the latter. Heh. I think in general, people expect others to either have a bad body image or be an arrogant asshead, so it is confusing to deal with someone that has a fairly realistic assessment of themselves (or so I think I do). I mean, I have big legs and forearms like I’m 5′ 4-1/2″ and Asian. It’s just who I am. I kinda prefer big legs to skinny legs anyway. Heh.

Anyway, it seems like in the quickness to assure me that my legs are not big, the person actually ends up adding to the general public opinion that big legs are bad and to be avoided. So they are trying to be nice, but given that I have big legs, if I started to listen to carefully, I could start to get self-conscious about them. Hahahaha.

Wow. That was a pointless post. Hahah.


June 6, 2005   

In a person’s life, there are many relationships. Seppo and I got to talking late last night about our relationships with our parents and friends and with each other, and how each of these affects the other ones.

Generally, I think there are two or more phases to the beginning of a relationship. There is the phase where you are getting to know each other, having a great time, taking it easy, and generally trying to figure out if you are gonna end up caring about them in a bigger sense. Then there can be the phase after you’ve decided that you do care enough about them to work at the relationship. This is the beginning of a sense of commitment. Then you may or may not move into a long-term commitment.

I think that what I notice about myself in the past and in my friends is the desire to slip into a feeling of commitment before the two people involved even know if they like each other enough to really genuinely work at it. People want the best of all worlds: the rush of the courtship, the security of commitment, the comfort of familiarity, and the excitement of mystery, and we want it all at the beginning. But that’s simply not reasonable.

I think it’s important to take the time to enjoy the first phase for what it is (a getting-to-know-you phase — even if you are friends who are starting to date, it is important to realize that there may be different expectations in what you want from a friend and what you want from someone you are dating). I think it’s easy to jump ahead and wonder if you can make things work in the long term with the person, and keep yourself from enjoying the process of getting to know a person. This part shouldn’t be work. If it’s work at this point when you are just getting to know them, then I feel like it may not be worth trying.

The important thing to realize is that someone that you are great with in phase one is not necessarily someone you want to work at a relationship with, and it may not be someone you want to evolve into a long term relationship with. You have to decide that there is enough mutual caring with someone that you are both willing to work hard at making the relationship work. No relationship will be without work.

I think that when I was younger, I assumed that if I liked/cared about/loved someone, it automatically meant that it was a committed, life-long relationship, and that I couldn’t just enjoy it, evaluate it, and learn from it. You can love a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean a relationship will work with most of them.

I think I’ll leave this half-finished and get back to this topic later. It’s been on my mind a lot lately.

habits to acquire

June 6, 2005   
  • No more parking self in front of computer at home and no non-critical & specific use after 9pm.
  • No more than 2 hrs of tv per day, and no more than 10 hours total per week.
  • Do at least one household chore every day (no matter how small).
  • Get to bed by 11pm.
  • Mull over each potential purchase item for an additional week before committing to purchase.
  • Get back into habit of importing banking/credit card data to Quicken in order to analyze where I am spending money.
  • Buy birthday presents for people a month or more in advance if finances allow it.

c’est une idée terrible

June 2, 2005   

Seppo thinks it would be funny to rename our house:

La Maison Terrible

I sure hope you have the font I selected (Edwardian Script ITC, with a Monotype Corsiva backup).

day off

June 1, 2005   

I took the day off today, just to recover from yesterday’s marathon puking. I ate a bunch of porridge, browsed a bunch of websites, and, uh, I… tried on my wedding dress, wondering if this meant I was on the slippery slope to bridezilla-dom. I think not yet. Hopefully, this will not come to pass. I only got sick once today, but I think it was because I kept trying not to get sick and kept thinking about getting sick at work, and the fact that rice porridge looks semi-digested, despite being delicious. Oh! Seppo’s mom came by yesterday upon hearing that I was sick to bring over green tea and ume to help with the upset stomach. It was so sweet that it almost made me cry. But maybe because I was weakened by the illness and not because I’m a big baby that cries at the drop of a hat. No wait, that sounds about right. But it was really sweet of her. I wonder if I should write her a thank you note.

I watched the TiVoed premier episode of Hell’s Kitchen, a reality tv show based around getting bossed around by Gordon Ramsay and surviving to the end in order to get to run your own restaurant. And you know, it wasn’t half bad. I wish they would focus more on the craft of cooking, but the peek into the kitchen of a restaurant — as staged as it must be for the show — is pretty cool. The website seems to give out the recipe for a different signature dish every week. Awesome.

My friend is in town! I got a call from another friend in Philly telling me that I should call her, as she is stuck at the airport without a ride. Hahaha. She eventually met up with her ride, but I gave her hell for not telling me when she was gonna be in town.

I have yet to take a picture for the latest flickr challenge, which topic is “speed”. I don’t have any good ideas for it. It occurs to me that trying to get a pic of a druggie shooting up (or whatever it is you do with speed) would be somewhat difficult to obtain.