Monthly Archives: September 2009

Are You There, god? It’s Me, Minna*

PrayingHey, you.  Guy in the sky.  Are you there?  Mom says I should pray to you and listen intently for a response.

So.  OK.  Here’s the deal.  BL snapped my bra today as I was walking into school.  He was waiting for me, and he did it in front of everybody.  He laughed as I turned red and tried to not cry.  He picks on me almost every day.  Sixth grade is hard enough.  Can you please put a pox on him?  Not a lethal or fatal one, mind you–just one that would make him leave me alone?

Oh, and while you’re at it,  could you please make JB notice me?  I’ve had a crush on him since first grade, and I’m getting a little tired of waiting for him to notice me.

And, can you make the other kids stop teasing me as well?  I know I am fat.  I don’t need them to call me “Minnesota Fats” to remind me.  Why did my parents have to name me after a state, anyway?  I just know they love my brother better because they gave him a normal first name.

Minna.  Who names their kid after a state?  That’s just wrong.  I get to hear all the derivations.

Minnesota.  Minneapolis.  Minnehaha.  Minnie Mouse.  Mini-Apple.  Minnetonka.

Those are some of the nicer ones.

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Mirror Mirror on the Wall

First of all, I have to give a shout-out to John Cole, proprietor of Balloon Juice, and his merry band of co-front pagers.  They have been working diligently on amassing the Balloon Juice vernacular and putting them in one place, known as the Balloon Juice Lexicon (link for the letters a – h).  The definitions are informative, snarky, thorough, and just plain fun–especially if you hang out at BJ.  I am inordinately proud of the fact that my spur-of-the-moment definition of meme was included under the term Internet Meme:  an idea that gets circulated, distorted, eaten, vomited back up again, reshaped, recirculated, re-distorted, eaten up again, and regurgitated yet again until eventually, it eats itself (cf commentor Asiangrrrl).  Ooh, and they even gave me credit for it, kind of, as my username is asiangrrlMN, but I will answer to any variation of asiangrrl.  Anyway, that was my crowning accomplishment for the week.

Now.  On with the post.

I hate mirrors with a passion.  I avoid them whenever possible.  I have never liked the way I look, since I was a little girl and realized that the Mecca of flaxen locks and sky-blue eyes was beyond my reach.  I was a fat kid with no sense of style.  I permed my hair and wore the ugliest glasses ever.  I wore pastels–which, believe you me, did nothing for my sallow complexion.  I got teased on a daily basis for being fat, smart, Asian, and for having breasts earlier than the other girls.  I had greasy hair and a greasy face.  I had to have braces.  I was a mess, and I didn’t have the first clue how to fix it.

TLC’s Unpretty.  I couldn’t embed the original video, so here’s the link.

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The Fastest Way (in)to My (Hypothetical) Panties

Guys fascinate me; they really do.  Why?  Because for many of them, a woman is doable, no matter how skanky, stupid, vapid, cruel, or crazy she is.  Hell, for some of them, that’s just a bonus.  In the political world, even progressive guys will say something like, “Michele Bachmann’s crazy, but I’d do her.”  The same goes for Sarah Palin.  On BJ, I have tried to get guys to explain this phenomenon to me, but no one has given me a satisfactory answer.  Biology, fucking the crazy out, it adds to the adventure–yeah, ok.  Whatever.

I have come to the conclusion that I shall never know.  The reason I am musing about this is because I am pretty much the exact opposite of this.  If I find someone’s politics, ideas, or behaviors repulsive, I am not attracted to that person.   Stupidity is a huge turn-off, as is venality, cruelty, and batshitcraziness.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about what I like in my men.  I can talk about physical attributes like a nice chest (I always notice the chest first in people.  Unlike guys, though, I can be discreet when checking out a woman’s breasts) and a nice ass.  I notice a person’s hands, eyes, and mouth.  However, all that can be perfectly fine-looking, and it don’t mean a thing if the person cannot carry on a conversation.

What really turns me on?

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Mr. Writer*

Aaaaand, I’m back with more of my favorite literature.  First, a little more backstory.  There was a time in my mid-twenties when I couldn’t read any serious fiction.  I still read my beloved mysteries, but I eschewed literature.  I didn’t have any particular reason–I just wasn’t feeling it.

Much as I am not now.   Now, granted, I don’t go to actual bookstores that often because I prefer to order online, but when I do, I am dismayed at the drivel that is being published.  So much dreck and so little silver (fucking hate gold).  There is very little to interest me.  I don’t give a damn about any of the books people are reading right now.  I really don’t.  They all look the same to me, and they fucking bore me.  I do not read literature to be bored, people.

Is it too much to ask that authors write something original? I would rather an author take a huge risk and fail magnificently than write carefully-crafted books that are well-written, safe, tidy little journeys, and fucking boring!  We are not Victorian, England.  Fuck that shit.  No, seriously.  Fuck that shit.  On the flip side, don’t write something shocking just for the sake of being shocking.  I fucking hate that shit even more.  I am not easily shocked, and I resent people trying to push that button.  Just write an exuberant, dark, fantastical, engrossing, intriguing story, and I am there, damn it!  On with the show.

Ok, so that isn’t the title song.  It’s Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side as an exhortation to all the writers out there to let their freak flags fly.  Here is the actual title song/video of the day.

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Everyday I Write the Book*

So, ok.  My last three posts have been about all ways I differ from the mainstream when it comes to pop culture.   TV, movies, and music.  What’s missing from these lists, you ask yourself?  Well, you probably don’t, but I’m going to tell you, anyway.  Books, of course.  I am obviously a very verbal woman, and I loved reading since I first taught myself to read at a very young age.  I don’t know how young, but it was before I went to school.  One day I couldn’t read, and the next day, I could.  My mom loves to tell the story of how I would sit at the table when I was two, holding the newspaper in my chubby little hands and “read” it–upside down.

I was reading eighth-grade books by the time I was in first grade.  I started reading the dictionary for fun.  I made it to the “I” section before I stopped.  I got teased a lot in school for being fat, Asian, and/or smart.  Books were my solace, my escape, and my friends.  I read pretty much nonstop after I got out of school until I went to bed.  I would take a book with me to whatever lame Taiwanese event my parents made me attend.  I would find a nice corner and read.  I read The Scarlet Letter when I was ten (didn’t like it) and half of War and Peace before giving up.

I am embarrassed to admit that I devoured the teenybopper romance crap that were precursors to Harlequin Romances.  Girl meets boy.  Girl likes boy.  Boy is with another girl (or just oblivious).  Girl chases boy throughout book.  In the end, girl gets boy.  Rinse, lather, repeat.  As a younger child, I read all the Nancy Drew books, the Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden, too.  I read the choose your own ending books, and Encyclopedia Brown as well.  Yes, even back then, I liked mysteries.

In college, I started reading Asian women authors once I realized I could, and it was on after that.  I started reading anyone of color I could get my hands on–especially women.  I went to a Lutheran college (St. Olaf) in the early nineties, just as diversity was becoming a buzzword, so pickings were slim, to say the least.

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I’m a Hazard to Myself*

All right. I’ve done movies and I’ve done TV. Next up is music, of course. As I have said before, I don’t care for the Beatles, the Stones, the Who, Zepplin, etc. I like the stray song by them, but I am not enamored of their oeuvres, and this causes me no angst at all. Except when other people rag on me about it, and even that doesn’t bother me. Eh. Make me like them, I say. So far, hasn’t happened. I just don’t really relate to many of the older bands for whatever reason. (Mebbe because they are all-male and all-white? Could be). I also didn’t hear my first pop song until I was in sixth grade or so, and it was Eddy Grant’s Electric Avenue. It was weird, but oddly catching. As a teen, I liked the usual boy bands–Duran Duran, a-ha, Bon Jovi, and (to my everlasting embarrassment) New Kids on the Block. I wasn’t really exposed to a wide range of music until well after I graduated from college.

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I’ve Got Bette Davis Eyes!*

Ed. Note: I knew I forgot a movie.  It is now added.

Ok.  Now that we’re all grooving to the She’s Got Bette Davis Eyes, I can continue with my list of what makes me ME.   Next up is my list of movies.  Let me start by saying that I haven’t seen many of the classics.  In addition, I don’t care to see many of the classics.  Quite bluntly, I don’t want to watch a bunch of white people doing white people things in which movies the only people of color who appear are maids or hookers or dead extras.  Quite simply put, I don’t relate to much of the themes and feelings of old movies.

Bringing it to the present, I hate Hollywood movies with a passion.  I’m talking about the big, epic, bloated, star-infested movies that are churned out every year.   In addition, American actors get so much press about their personal lives, it’s hard for me to separate the actor from the part.  When I see Julia Roberts and her big-ass grin, no matter what the movie, she’s Julia Roberts to me.  Brad Pitt is Brad Pitt, and Leo is Leo.  It doesn’t help that they often get typecasted in their roles as well.  Hm.  In rereading the old post, I notice that I mentioned Julia Roberts in that one as well.  I can’t help it.  She’s the quintessential American actor to me.

I can’t think of a single epic Hollywood movie that I actually liked.  In fact, I can’t really think of the last American movie I liked.  Huh.  Oh, and I fucking hate chick flicks as well as dick flicks (yes, I coined the term.  See explanation here.  Yes, I’m linking to myself.  Deal with it.  It’s a good blog entry), so that leaves out maybe eighty percent of American movies as well.  I don’t like movies that try to shock me.  I am damn near unshockable, and I resent movies that does grotesque things just for the sake of shocking.

So, what do I like?  I like engaging characters.  I like a good storyline.  I like thoughtful comedy and good psychological insight.  Here are my favorite movies.  Note that I don’t necessarily believe they are great movies–I just really enjoy them for one reason or another.  They aren’t in any particular order because that’s not how I roll.

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A Poem of Love and Grief

Rose On Wood BWfor a dear sister halfway around the world
wishing you a safe journey home
i am holding you in my heart
shining a white light to guide your brother,
gently, to the other side.

i surround you with love and strength
in a desperate attempt to shield you from your pain;
wishful thinking, i know,
for there is no way to get through it
but to grieve, mourn, cook, and love.

as the day is bleak around me
as the wind blows right through me
i mourn for you and for your family
as you deal with all you have lost;
i continue to embrace you, with tears in my eyes.

sister of my heart, sister of my soul
for all the times you’ve comforted me
for all the times you’ve listened to me
for all the times you’ve made me laugh
i am here, fiercely, waiting to hear from you.

words are all i have to comfort you
as little as they may be in this case,
i offer them without reservation
plus unwavering support and love
as you say your final goodbyes.

P.S.  Two videos for you:

First is Girlyman’s Say Goodbye.

The second is The Storys’ Journey’s End.  I can’t get it to embed properly, so I just linked it.  My thoughts are with you.

I’m Eclectic! Boogie Woogie Woogie!*

moulin rougeOk.  Since I have in the past listed all the ways in which I am soooo different from everyone else and how much it sucks, I’ve decided today to do something a bit different.  I am going to list all the ways in which I am sooooo different from everyone else, and why I rock!  Ok, not really.  I’m just gonna list a bunch of my faves because I’m tired of not talking about them.  And, since it’s my blog (sez so, right in the title), I figured, why the hell not?  Over the weekend at Balloon Juice, there is usually a music thread or two.  This weekend, there was an ’80s thread (and one last weekend, too, I think), and us late nighters started throwing out the YouTube videos like they were going out of style.   There is a guy over there who is trying to find the perfect song for me  after hitting a home run the first time around with Cat Stevens’ Father and Son, which is still in my rotation.  He’s tossed out several songs, and I have reacted with my usual randomness.  I posted Adam Ant, Bon Jovi, MJ (because someone had to), Duran Duran, Cyndi Lauper, Public Enemy, and a bunch of others.  Someone said something about Tom Petty being a guy thing, that no woman would like him.  In response, I posted the two songs by Petty I like:  Free Fallin’ and The Alice in Wonderland Song.  A couple of people said they really liked Free Fallin’, and the guy trying to find songs for me said I have eclectic tastes.

I do, damn it.

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9/11, Eight Years Later


Where were you eight years ago (and one day) when the Towers fell?  For my generation, it has replaced, “Where were you when the Challenger exploded?” as the defining question of our lives (at least until we elected Barack Hussein Obama as president).

Where was I?  I was in California, the Bay Area to be precise.  I had a phone appointment with my therapist at 9 a.m., Pacific mumble mumble Time.  My roomies were gathered around the television, watching in rapt fascination.  I glanced at the TV, but it didn’t register what I was seeing.  When I finally reached my therapist, I found out what had happened.

The timing is fuzzy, but I was at the television and watching the second tower fall (live, I believe, but I might be remembering incorrectly).  I watched as the TV machine showed the plane plowing into the tower over and over and over again.  I lost count of how many times I watched the tower fall.  After the tenth or so time, it became surreal–I truly felt I was watching a Bruce Willis action movie.  That kind of thing didn’t happen in real life, right?

But it did.  I called all my friends and family, feeling frantic when I couldn’t get through.  I didn’t know anyone in NYC, not really, but I still had that panicky feeling.  See, my partner at the time, John, had flown home to PA and was scheduled to fly back to Oregon, through San Francisco the next day.  I was in a panic as I thought about how it could have been him on Flight 93.  I called him, and I was relieved to find out he was fine.  I mean, there was no reason he shouldn’t be, but yet, I couldn’t erase the feeling that he had been thisclose to dying.  We talked a bit on the phone, and it just wasn’t enough.  I needed to be with him, and I couldn’t.  I wasn’t where I wanted to be (physically or emotionally), and it was devastating.

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