Monday, February 27, 2006

Contrary To Popular Belief, I Am NOT Siamese If You Please

(Update, 2.28, Bloggers Remorse: I struggled with whether or not to leave this post up. I don’t hate this woman, and I don’t think her comment was made out of hatred or malice. I do however dislike what she said, and the cavalier manner in which it was thrown out. My concern is that she is someone I have to see and interact with on a daily basis. I don’t know whether or not she reads my blog, but if she does I am certain she would not like what she reads here or in the comments. Do I care? Only in regards to the negative impact it may have on our children, as the relationship between this woman and I is one based on our involvement with our children’s school. So, if I delete the post, does that make me a coward, or should I say, ‘yellow?’)

At the girls' school this morning there was a workshop put on by the second grade teachers on how to help your child prepare for testing that is coming up in the next few weeks. I sat next to another mom, one that I know pretty well because our daughters have been friends since kindergarten. She has always struck me as someone fairly conservative politically but reasonably open-minded, which is why it surprised me when we had the following conversation.

We were discussing the fact that neither of our kids was very proficient in math, and I made a joke about how, because of the assumption that all Asians are math geniuses, it always came as a shock to my teachers growing up when I could barely calculate the cost of my lunch. She started to tell me about a conversation she had with her teenaged daughter:

Her: Oh, it was the funniest thing! She was confused about what an Asian was! She had this notion that it just meant another kind of Caucasian!

Me: Hahahahaha!

Her: I tried to explain to her that Asians were different! You know, they have dark skin and slanted eyes!

I calmly put down my chopsticks and contemplated which Kung-Fu moves I was going to bust her up with once I got done asking for advice from Buddha. Unfortunately my mind doesn't work too well in the mornings before I've had my ginseng so I just answered her back with, "Well, you know that's not an accurate description." She got a little flustered and just waved it off by saying, "Oh, I know! You know what I mean!"

Well, now, I'm not exactly sure I know what you mean! Does it mean that you are just as woefully uninformed as your daughter and are passing on racial stereotypes to her? Have you culled all your knowledge of Asian culture from Charlie Chan movies and commercials for Top Ramen? Do you actually believe that David Carradine is a wizened Asian martial-arts master? And hey, look over there! It's my sister, she of the light skin and round eyes, in other words, Not An Asian! (And whatta ya know - we invented computers!)

Fortunately for her I didn't think a second grade classroom, in the presence of my child's teacher was the appropriate place to get into a discussion about racial definitions. But it did make me look at her in a different way through these slanted eyes of mine, one that definitely highlighted our differences and made me think of how, even living in a cosmopolitan city in the 21st century, racial stereotypes are alive and well and being perpetuated by educated, well-meaning parents.

I grew up with racial taunts and I've already seen how my two bi-racial daughters have been subjected to this. The comments about being 'good at karate' and the ever-popular pulling-up-of-the-corners-of-the-eyes have already been reported back to me. We've carefully explained to them the importance of taking pride in their Japanese culture (as well as their English teabag, Irish beer-drinking, Scottish bagpipe-blowing...oh, you know what I mean!) and cautioning them about the racial intolerance that they may encounter in their lives. But when one realizes that so much of the racist attitudes and misinformation comes directly from the people that should be positively influencing our children, the parents, it gets well, too much for this geisha to handle.

In hindsight, I suppose I could have attempted to enlighten this woman with some basic facts on Asian culture and, using a map of Asia, pointed out the geographical attributes of the various countries. I could have stressed the need for the elimination of racial clichés and how an educated perspective on race is vital, especially for our children, to existing in a multi-cultural society. And then I should have run her over with my rickshaw.

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Thoughts In My Head That Crowd Out All The Reason.

I feel itchy.

Is it wrong to say I like this? Because I really like it.

'Julie from Denver, Adelphia customer service rep.'

Is it just me or is this guy begging for an ass-kicking?

Don't eat beans.


Well, some kind soul has taken pity on me and nominated my blog for 'Site Of The Week' over here. You can vote for me here. (Or not. It's not like it really matters if I win. I can just return all those 'Winner! Site Of The Week!' t-shirts I had made. Using my children's college money. And it's not as if the future of my marriage depends on whether I win or not. I'm sure Rigel was just joking. I mean, the half-packed suitcase on the bed must be just a coincidence. Did I mention I have a wooden leg? Oh, and I take in orphans! Yes, orphans, and puppies. And orphaned puppies. But again, no pressure!)

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Seeds Of Discontent

Kira is complaining once again about her teacher. Fourth grade is a harsh mistress.

Rigel: There must be at least one positive thing you can say about him

Kira: I am grateful he's not with me all the time.


Required homework for Kiyomi's second grade class is to write a journal entry every night (spawning future bloggers, one malleable brain at a time.) The assignment tonight was to write a letter to the president:

Dear George bush,

Hello! I am Kiyomi and my favorite color is magenta. Here is a sugjestun (sic) for you: Go to another country! Don't you say no to that sugjestun!

Now that I told you that, I will tell you more about me. I have a nice teacher I mean terrific teacher. I love art and manga. Now that I told you some stuff about me you can go along and ruin some other state.

your destroyer,

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Somebody Help Me.

Somebody invent something to help me get into those jeans that, uhm, shrunk.

Like a giant shoehorn used in tandem with a quart of oil.

Do not suggest dieting. This interferes with my binge eating.

Suggestions of exercise will be met with peals of hysterical laughter. Followed by binge eating.

Any mention of elastic-waisted pants will cause me to slit my wrists.

Hydraulics may be in order.

Send help now.

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Friday, February 17, 2006

If He Starts Wearing Makeup It's Over

For the past year Rigel and two of his friends have been getting together every Sunday night from nine to midnight and renting a rehearsal space. There, along with Mitch (drums) and Mark (guitar) my art director husband slings on his bass and invokes the souls of all his rock deities. Although, seeing as I have never been to any of these 'jam sessions,' there was always the chance that not a note of music was ever played, and the three men were holed up in that room drinking Stoli and spanking hookers with amp cords.

My suspicions were unfounded, though, because last weekend they had their first gig and their hard work was put on display for all of our friends and family. It took place at BB Kings Blues Club on Universal City Walk which was pretty exciting considering they had never played together in public. They had to come up with a name quickly and decided on Nine2Midnight (get it?) after completely rejecting my suggestion of PimptasticThree. As you can tell I just couldn't let the drunk hooker thing go.

(City Walk is an area of shops and restaurants located next to Universal Studios - this thrilled Kira and Kiyomi and could have only been topped if Rigel had played in the Disneyland parade or at a Pokémon convention.)

I know I'm a little partial, but I thought their band was awesome. This was the first time Rigel had played in public since high school and also the first time I had ever seen him perform on stage. I'm not really a rock fan, my tastes run more towards funk and R&B, but by the end of the first number I was doing the 'pinky-forefinger' point and yelling things like, "You shred goddammit" and "More beer!"

All my photos came out blurry, which is good in a way. Because if there is one thing that's going to convince Rigel that we need a new camera it's the thought that all future photos of his crowning moments on stage will look this crappy:

As you can imagine, I was so proud, and started imagining my future as a rock star wife. We could move to England and re-name our daughters Apple and Fifi Trixibelle. I would dabble in Kabbalah and begin drinking heavily and try to break up the band with my boorish behavior. My fantasy came to an abrupt halt when I realized that the tugging on my arm was not Bono pulling me through a thronging crowd at the Grammys but Kiyomi begging me to order her another Shirley Temple.

Rigel had talked a friend and former co-worker, Michelle, from this band, into singing some vocals along with them. Kira and Kiyomi are hugely impressed with Michelle, not only for her singing voice, but for the fact that one of her songs was chosen for the soundtrack of "Zoe 101." Really, if only one of Rigel's tunes could make it onto a Nickelodeon show, he would have his daughters' eternal love and admiration.

Following Nine2Midnight was this band, made up of thirteen year olds! Who are very talented and have been been playing together since they were eleven, which means that by the time they are fifteen they are destined for a segment on VH1's Behind The Music. Mitch's son is the drummer in this band. Kira and her friends were fascinated by them, and when I caught a glimpse of the girls gazing, the same way I used to stare at my Peter Frampton poster, I knew the Devil's Music had gotten hold of them. When they started swaying and holding up lighters I told them to knock it off and put out those cigarettes while you're at it.

Ever since the show we have been using the words 'Rock Star' very frequently. Such as, "Please take out the recyclables, Rock Star" and "Can you stop at Starbucks and get me a tall, percent Rock Star." We're joking, but I know the seed has been planted and the three of them are planning where their next performance is going to be. I'll let you know if he quits his day job, or starts wearing lycra, or if I can score you some good tickets, cause you know, I'm with the band.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentines Day

On this day of love and romance, I thought it would be appropriate to share some dating horror stories. Here's mine.

In hindsight, I have to say this date was not necessarily horrible, but surreal in that 'I can't believe this is happening' kind of way, sort of like having your daughter pimp you in the supermarket. In fact, if I knew then that I would someday have a blog, I would have thanked the guy profusely for giving me such good material. Of course, there were no blogs back when I was dating - we shared our stories by carving them into stone tablets with chisels that we fashioned out of wooly mammoth tusks.

It started in a club's parking lot in Hollywood. Some girlfriends and I were getting out of my brand new car, a Suzuki Samurai. (Remember those? I believe they were made out of a soda can and four rubber washers.) A group of guys approached us, and one of them zeroed in on me and my slick new wheels. He started asking me various guy-questions, "What size engine? What's the mpg? Why didn't you opt for the mud flaps with the chick on 'em?" to which I replied, "All I know is, I put the key in and the thing goes." He must have found this answer charming because at the end of the evening there was a note on my windshield, "My name's Bob*. I liked hearing about your car. Now I'd like to hear about you." It was written on the back of a business card which had his name and the titles 'President and CEO.' Back then I thought that CEO stood for 'Colossal Elephantine Organ' and I sure as hell knew what 'President' meant. A phone call was in order!

He was nice during our conversation, but vague when I inquired about what type of business he was in. I figured he was being modest and didn't want to reveal the source of his untold riches too early. There would be plenty of time to unveil his private jet, homes on Cape Cod and his Rockefeller lineage.

We agreed to meet at a nice restaurant in Venice Beach. When I got there he hadn't arrived, and with my psychotic habit of revealing way too much to strangers I proceeded to tell the maitre'd the entire story of why I was there. He seemed to be intrigued by the whole thing and agreed to help me scope the guy out, since I couldn't really remember what he looked like. In the next ten minutes a barrage of single men walked through the door, and with every arrival I would look hopefully towards the maitre'd. After conferring with them he would give me the 'thumbs-down' signal, which meant that they were there for a purpose other than meeting a woman picked up in a parking lot next to her ten-dollar car.

About fifteen minutes into my wait I was looking through the window and saw a guy approaching the restaurant and my stomach dropped because I just knew it was him. The maitre'd saw him, too, and gave me one of those hand-over-gaping-mouth looks of mock horror. What walked in to the restaurant was a man wearing a suit made out of a circus tent and around five sizes too big. The fabric looked exactly like this:

He made a beeline for me, and I knew there was no way to escape. I looked over his shoulder at the maitre'd who was now doing a pantomime of hanging himself, his head rolled to one side with his eyes closed and tongue hanging out. So much for a tip, buddy.

After exchanging pleasantries with my clown friend and an awkward hug where I tried not to become entangled in his suit, we sat down at the bar. I proceeded to drink five gallons of tequila to numb myself. One of the first things he said was, "Now, I can finally tell you what I do for a living, but you'll have to close your eyes first." This made me a little suspicious. Was he an axe murderer looking for his next victim, readying to lop off my head, while I sat there with my eyes closed and my head in a liquor-induced spin? Would he peel off that hideous outfit to reveal an astronaut suit? These were the thoughts that were swirling through my young, empty head.

I heard what appeared to be heaving breaths, each one followed by, "Don't open your eyes yet!" I was getting worried now, and I vowed to God that if he spared me I would never speak to a man in a parking lot again. Ever. Finally after what seemed like an eternity, Bob told me to open my eyes. There, in front of me, was a huge inflatable giraffe.

Me: What the hell?

Bob: I own an inflatable toy company!

Me (suddenly aware that everyone in this nice establishment was staring at my new animal friend sitting next to me): Okay! More tequila please!

Bob (reaching into one of his large, voluminous suit pockets): Wait! There's more!

He then whipped out another inflatable, this one appearing to be a large hippo, and started blowing this one up as well. Hearing the snickers now coming from the other bar patrons, and dying of embarrassment, I tried to wrestle the vinyl toy away from him. What followed next was a minor 'scuffle' between us right there at the bar, as he held steadfast to the blow-up with his lips curled firmly around the valve and I pulled on the hippos rear end. This went on for a good three minutes, until I finally wrestled the thing away from him and threw it behind the bar.

By this time I wasn't sure if I was laughing or crying. I left to use the restroom with a stern admonition not to "inflate anything while I'm gone," a phrase that would become a well-worn euphemism among my girlfriends and I. When I returned, the vinyl hippo was inflated to its full glorious size and was sitting on the bar stool next to me, majestically ordering a martini along with his friend The Giraffe.

I remember managing to make it through the rest of the evening somehow. He didn't produce any more toys and I didn't have to wrestle his clown-ass to the ground to get him to behave. At the end of the night, after the valet had brought my car around and I was getting in, Bob opened up the passenger side door and fastened the seat belt around the giraffe. I drove straight to a girlfriends house with my new 'friend' sitting next to me because a story like this, it couldn't wait until the morning.

*I don't really remember his name. Bob? Ted? From that day on I only referred to him as 'Mr. Inflatable.'

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Monday, February 13, 2006

I Am Such An Attention Whore

I was featured in Grace Davis' column on the BlogHer website yesterday.

Best part? She called me 'snarky.'

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Friday, February 10, 2006

Does This Blog Make My Butt Look Big?

After only six hundred and seventy three hours spread out over the past year, I finally managed to re-design my blog. I had the following epiphanies:

1) HTML is not pronounced 'Hatemail'

2) I have a newfound respect for computer programmers, those wily, crafty, hot blooded geniuses.

3) I would never make it as a web designer.

4) Nobody but yourself will see the urgency and momentousness of re-designing your blog.

5) By the end of the process even you will begin to suffocate from the insignificance and narcissism of re-designing your blog.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Seriously, The Absolutely Last Post In Which I Mention My Birthday

This is just a chance for me to give some props to my awesome husband, who threw me the nicest of birthday parties last weekend. And to prove that not all parties thrown by men involve keggers or the hiring of strippers.

The party took place at a restaurant, where he had arranged for us to have a private room. He did a nice invitation. He coordinated the menu. He did decorations! He invited all my friends. He ordered and picked up the cake. He did a wonderful photo montage and didn't use even one picture of me where I am looking haggard and old and possessing more than one chin. (Although I should mention that he is an expert at Photoshop. But still.)

Ladies, for future reference, my tips for scoring such a party for yourselves:

1) Drop numerous hints, in the months leading up to your birthday, that a party would indeed be a welcome gesture and would result in numerous 'husband points' which could be redeemed for untold pleasures at a later date.

2) Make it perfectly clear that under no circumstances will you tolerate a kegger or the hiring of strippers.

(Thanks, sweetie. You're the best.)

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Friday, February 03, 2006

For Some Reason I Can't Come Up With A Title
For This Post

Around once a month I make a pilgrimage with my mom to a Japanese market located in another city. I usually bring Kira and Kiyomi, too, since they like to visit a small boutique within the market that sells all sorts of imported toys. While there we enjoy throwing away Rigel's hard earned money on necessities such as Pokémon cards and Sailor Moon lunchboxes. We were just there on Tuesday and I picked this up:

It was only 99¢ so I couldn't resist buying it just to post it here.

Don't say I never do anything for you.

Now somebody please title this post for me.

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