Thursday, October 25, 2007

Still Alive!

Just a quick note to let readers (are you still there?) know that I haven't completely abandoned my blog posting. I've just been ridiculously busy at my new job and writing up a storm, so most nights I'm not inspired to write more. 'Tis a shame, but I'm sure I will adjust and get that fire back.

Recent realizations:
- Tapping into creativity on a daily deadline basis is hard work!
- I'm getting old. I thought I was Internet savvy but the younger generations are so much more so.
- Many people find Micheline easier to pronounce than Michie.
- I need some really good books to read!

(Please post any book suggestions here, thank you!)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

All About the Tobs

Thanks to all who gave their advice on tough decision-making. I pretty much went with my intuition, took a risk, and, as of September 10th, will be working at tobi.com! I will be the site's copywriter, and I am very excited about this new adventure in my life.

I had worked at the same non-profit institute for nine years (since college), and it had become quite comfortable. My co-workers were a second family. I knew more about drugs than I ever thought I would. I acquired a vast array of experience, from writing grants to publishing academic articles to giving presentations at national conferences. I will never forget what I have learned in these past years--they will always benefit me in both personal and professional ways. But I am ready for a challenge and to start kindling the creative fire within. Sounds like a letter of resignation. Sorry--I'm in that mode.

Is it destiny that I will go to work at Tobi and come home to Toby? Perhaps. In any case, please help to make this fledgling online boutique a success and shop there!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dirty Decisions

I'm a grey person. No, I don't mean gloomy or dusty. I mean that I often dwell in that space between black and white. Therefore, nobody has ever called me decisive. In fact, I know indecision all too well. Sometimes being grey can be good because not everything is clear cut, and I'm a big fan of recognizing the spectrum of things. But there are times when it pays (literally) to be decisive. And there are times when committing to a decision just seems overwhelming.

There are some well-known suggestions offered when having to make a big decision, such as:

1. Make a list of pros and cons for each side and then weigh the lists against each other.
2. Go with your intuition. Do what it is your heart tells you is the right thing.
3. Take a survey. Ask others what they would do in your position and go with what makes the most sense.

What do you do when you have a big decision to make?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Crazy Mutha-uckers

Whatever happened to good sitcoms? I remember pondering this question before my vacation, realizing I missed shows that made me chuckle aloud. I admittedly don't give many shows a chance for fear of being sucked into an endless TV spiral, but I do love a good comedic display every now and then.

I've just recently been turned on to the HBO comedy Flight of the Conchords since the house we stayed in on Kauai had HBO. After viewing just one silly episode, I was hooked and started planning my marathon viewing day at my parents' place (I'm so glad they have HBO). The show basically follows two struggling musicians from New Zealand trying to make it in New York. Here's a little taste for those who have yet to witness the hip-hop styling of Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Rock-a-hula-luau

Ready to get jealous? Tomorrow I'm off to Kauai for 10 fun-filled days of surf, sand, sun, quoting North Shore, choreographing water ballets, laying by the pool and reading Harry Potter, popping bubbly in the hot tub, etc., etc. Sometimes my life really is like a hip-hop video. Especially the Harry Potter part.

Sometimes right before I'm about to embark on a vacation I get a bit sad because I know that my time will fly like the trademark trade winds of the Garden Isle. I know that's crazy. I should just live in the moment and enjoy each day I have at Chateau Relaxo (really-- that's the name of the house where I'm staying). So, here are my rules for fully immersing oneself in vacation mode:

1. No feeling guilty for laying around, imbibing a bit too much, eating ice cream, napping, not working out enough and so on. A vacation from guilt!

2. Define your own vacation. If some people want to explore every historic site where they visit and participate in a different thrilling activity everyday, more power to 'em. If I want to perfect a new cocktail and drink it while sunbathing, more power to me!

3. Spoil others vacationing with you along with yourself. Pitch in with keeping the space clean and cooking (if applicable). Make that perfect cocktail for your companions, too. Aww, my one unselfish comment of the day. Kudos to me.

Like my father once so wisely stated, let's get this luau started!

* If anybody knows from where the title of this post originated, I will gladly return from my trip with a special prize for you because you would totally win the World Series of Obscure Pop Culture (is that an oxymoron?). But don't ask Kye what his prize was after winning the Vegas game I posted (all he got was the glory of winning, which is priceless really).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harried

On Monday night I embarked on my first foray into the world of 3D IMAX. Not only was it my IMAX experience devirginization, but I also watched the fifth Harry Potter movie, The Order of the Phoenix. Suffice it to say, I was very excited. What a way to make an otherwise manic Monday bearable- fun even!

In preparation for this new flick and the soon-to-be-released final book in the series, I reread the fifth HP and reread Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I had become fully immersed in the realm that is Harry, Hogwarts, Hermione, and other words that start with the letter H. I was in alliteration heaven! And I was reminded of why J.K. Rowling is one of my heroes. She truly created a special world with her series- exactly the kind of books I would love to have written. So, I was psyched to absorb more Harry via the new movie on Monday.

In hindsight, rereading the book before the movie may have not been the best plan for me. I felt as if I knew many details of The Order of the Phoenix book intimately. And when the movie altered scenes in what I thought were significant ways, I became disappointed. I recall sitting there and thinking, damn, this is not what I expected. Now don't get me wrong- there were some incredible scenes, particularly shots of the crew flying in the London night sky and the climactic Ministry of Magic duel in 3D. And I can't forget Toby's favorite- Cho Chang, Cho Chang (they had hydroponic love and they smoked it). Ultimately, this movie was quite entertaining. It's understandable that they would have to change some important elements to squeeze the longest book of the series into the shortest Harry Potter movie thus far. But still, not my favorite of the movies (that would probably be Prisoner of Azkaban, by the way).

Now with news that sneak peaks of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows have been released online, I am determined to patiently wait for my copy of the new book. I am toe-tapping and restless in anticipation, but I will not look at spoilers. Nor am I trying too hard to theorize about the ending. I don't think I can take another disappointment related to my contemporary literary hero. Therefore, I have no expectations.

That's what I keep telling myself anyway...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

7/11

"And watch me break 'em with the 7,
7- 11, 7- 11, 7 even back do' little Joe
I picked up the cash flow
Then we played bones and I'm yellin' domino..."

Name that tune!

I am getting bad about blogging regularly. Perhaps if my life was more exciting I wouldn't have to resort to quoting songs loosely related to the date of my blog posting. More thrills later...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

iPop Inspiration

As the much-lauded iPhone is being released tomorrow, I'm reminded how on top of their game Apple has been for the past few years. I mean, the iPod has created this huge revolution in music and prompted a multi-million dollar industry. Godbot even proposed to me on the back of an iPod, so this little slice of technology is more like an entire chocolate cake in my memory book. There are Apple haters out there (and I would agree that some of their products are far from perfect), but no one can deny the power of that little 'i' in popular culture today. That being said, I am no gadget geek and am not waiting in line for two days to get the first iPhone. Experts recommend waiting until all of the kinks of the first generation phone get worked out and perhaps deciding on the second generation iPhone whenever that arrives. Great. Someone lend me a few benjis next year and I'll be ready.

In keeping with today's theme, the rest of my post will be inspired by a random assortment of songs on my iPod. Random meaning whatever comes up on the shuffle setting. Excitement! Intrigue! procrastination.

"Rap Promoter" by A Tribe Called Quest
- Ahh, the golden days of ATCQ when I was discovering just how much I loved hip-hop. Plus it didn't hurt that Q-tip was cute and had a sexy, raspy voice. I adored Q-tip, even if he shared a name with a cotton swab you stick in your ear. Wait, I'm starting to get why he called himself Q-tip! Despite my lame girly-ness (I was, like, 13 when Low-End Theory came out), I knew I had found one of my musical passions and only wanted to absorb as much as I could.

"Today's You're Day" by Fatlip with Chali 2na
- This guy, who once was part of the once fantastic Pharcyde, is crazy as a solo artist. You can practically hear the drool coming out of his lips, but his lyrics amuse. Chali 2na adds a bit of balance with his bass-heavy, melodic flow.

"Everything" by Jehro
- This track reminds me of last summer. Lovely guitar playing and a mellow, Caribbean vibe. I believe this is one of the few albums I couldn't find at Amoeba, but I see it is available on Amazon.

"Promised Heights" by Cymande
- Cymande rules everything they do. That's all you need to know.

"Rapper's Delight" by Gang De Tagarela
- It's fun to discover songs you never knew existed on your own iPod. This one is a mainly instrumental version with lots of added horns. Godbot must have included this track in one of his playlists that I never end up finishing.

"Playground Love" by Air
- Aww, we used this song on our wedding CD. Once on our way back to UCSB from a break in the Bay, we were sitting in the backseat, tickling each other or something, and our friend in the passenger seat was like, "Hey, you guys, take it to the playground."

"Jump" by the Pointer Sisters
- Oaktown represent! Your eyes tell me how you want me, I can feel it in your heartbeat, I know you like what you see . . . sorry, I can't help singing along with this old school song. Awesome synthesized effects!

On that note, I must jump back into my work. Wow, that was pretty nerdy even for me.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

FYI

In regards to my previous post about wedding planning, I didn't mean to convey that I didn't enjoy my own wedding. My wedding was indeed fabulous and such a happy day. There was so much love in the air (and not just between the bride and the groom). My family and friends truly made the day extra special. I have great memories. I can't believe it will be two years in October!

Hmm, how should we celebrate?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Underground Albino

For this very special entry, please welcome my man, the lub of my life, DJ Godbot! (I'll be back in a sec...)

Uh, well, I'm not the "Underground Albino" that the title of this post might imply (I'm just the one who is writing about another Underground Albino>>). Brother Ali has been around for a while now; to the tune of a couple of full lengths on top of his breakout EP entitled Champion released in 2004. Indeed, Brother Ali is an Albino, and yes, he is Muslim, but to some of us who miss the heyday of Independent hip-hop
(when tons of non-commercial and genuinely innovative beatmakers and lyricists were dropping dope jams in the 1990s) he is a glimmer of hope that underground hip-hop is not going down the tubes.
I got turned on to this dude by my homie Frank (who is now in Iraq, serving as a Captain and still trying to be up on as much music as possible) a while back. Frank's a couple of years younger than me, so I often pick his brain on what he thinks is dope because he truly has made an effort to keep up on Underground hip hop (Especially stuff from Oaktown and the Bay) even though distance makes it a bit more challenging for him.
When he first played me some Brother Ali, I was struck by the overall feel of the music. The vibe definitely sent me back. The production and lyrics put me in a cool, mid-nineties underground hip hop mood, complete with sampled breaks from the butter years of early seventies funk and soul along with lyrics that were honest, deep and from the heart. I believe this dude is from Minnesota, not far from Detroit, and the closest rapper that his style reminds me of is an early Eminem (back when he was young, hungry and dope). Peep, if you will, a track from his new album The Undisputed Truth called "Take Me Home." Its got a nice upbeat groove with some clever banter, speaking to the fact that having skills is not a prerequisite to being successful in hip-hop today.

If you like this track, also peep "Freedom Ain't Free" from
The Undisputed Truth and "Forrest Whitaker" from Shadows on the Sun

Peace Out,
DJ Godbot

. . . Okay, I'm back and in full agreement with my man. Brother Ali is worth checking out. Even though I haven't loved every track I've heard from him, his good ones are great. And while I understand the comparison with Eminem, one can also pick up on his KRS-1 (and other classic hip-hop emcees) influences. But this man is a legend-in-the-making in his own right, too. You can learn more about this underground albino and peep his tracks here and here. Let's support quality hip-hop because it's hard to come by nowadays.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Don't Hate-- Celebrate!


We are almost halfway through June and you know what that means. No, not summer and barbecues and swimming pools and suntans (see my previous post for talk of that ilk). It's wedding season! And along with it come all of the wedding woes, joys, memories, expectations, industry bombardment, etc., etc.

Two years ago I was in the midst of the hectic world of planning my own wedding. And now with friends getting married this weekend (and another lovely couple in September), I am reminded of that nutty time and am filled with empathy. People tell you to enjoy your engagement and make the most of that precious time together. A load of crap, I say. I don't know who the hell has experienced such engagement bliss, but those lucky suckers must have steady access to extra strength Valium. Or maybe wedding planning was not my cup of tea (or glass of champagne, natch). Some brides talk about missing the planning phase. Not I. I did not miss the planning when it was over and still don't. While my wedding was fairly traditional, I hated feeling pressured to engage (pun not intended) in cliched wedding rituals and spend a certain amount of money on this or that. The wedding industry is like that wolf dressed up in grandma's clothing. Everything appears all sweet and lovely until you look closely-- then it eats you alive.

But, save for my misleading rant above, it's not all bad. Especially when you're a guest, which I'm very excited to be! I love seeing two families and all of their friends come together and truly celebrate the union of a happy couple. Just remember that no bride needs to hear the "you should" and "why aren't you" comments. There's too much judgment that occurs around these purportedly blessed events. Just enjoy the love and pass on that haterade. Champagne is so much better.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Foggy Fuss in the Summertime

I have an odd fascination with the weather. My primary reason for watching Mo-Mo's on 2 (that's Mornings on 2 for the uninformed) everyday is to check on the weather. I anxiously await a heatwave forecast because that will almost guarantee a happy flyrish. And that, my friends, is why I love summer.

Plus summers are ripe with nostalgia-inducing elements. The distant splish-splash and laughter from the pool while dozing mid-afternoon. The scent of freshly mown grass mingling with the aroma of barbecue. Soaking up some vitamin D while floating on a raft. The clink of ice melting in a glass of lemonade and iced tea. Sitting outside under the stars in a tank top while listening to the chorus of crickets.

All of the above are associated with warm, sun-soaked days and sultry hot nights. Then how, pray tell, can I be happy in San Francisco during the summer? Even though I have lived in this area for most of my life, I refuse to believe that every summer must be filled with damp, chilly fog. Sure, fog can be beautiful and refreshing. I love San Franciso and what's more San Franciscan than fog? But it can also get old quickly. Last summer we were spoiled by an intense heatwave in July which made me believe in the possibility of warmer summers to come (perhaps one good thing could come out of global warming- just kidding, my selfish desire for a real summer is no reason to celebrate the ruin of our planet). Then here we are in June and it's been even colder than usual. But summer hasn't technically started yet.

Mark Twain reportedly (but probably didn't) said: "The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco." I have a love/hate relationship with that quote. If it keeps hordes of tourists away, that's great. But it's also pessimistic. I want to celebrate each day of summer that I see the sun, even if I'm just at work and can't fully enjoy it.

I awoke this morning to a gloriously blue sky. I thought it might just be in Oakland, but as I crossed the bridge this morning, I was reminded of how beautifully San Francisco shines under the sun. I don't want to wait until our "Indian Summer" to enjoy that view again.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Surf's Up?

I've been getting a lot of horoscopes like this one lately. Like Sam Cooke once said, a change gon' come. It's been a long time coming. And I am more than ready.

For May 31: Ride the big waves today, Pisces. Changes in your career situation are rolling in like high tide, so grab your board and follow the wave. Material changes that impact how and where you do business may also affect where you live. These changes should be for the better. Interestingly, there are multiple changes coming in. Don't get too stuck on any one personal or professional situation, because the big Kahuna hasn't arrived yet - but will shortly. Keep an open mind and a very observant eye. Your future, whether you recognize it or not, is changing course starting today.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Blender Set on Smooth


My favorite CD of the moment is Paul Nice's Sade Blends. The recipe is pretty simple actually. Mix two parts Sade classic songs with one part recognizable hip-hop beats and add a dash of Paul Nice's refreshing DJ skills. There you have it- the perfect summer cocktail!

Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend! I like to think of it as the unofficial kick off to summer, my favorite time of year.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Not-So-Secret Admirer

What and who I have been admiring as of late:

- People who don't have credit cards or only truly use them in emergencies (please teach me your ways, oh wise ones)

- Students (and teachers) who are just finishing their school year (how I miss that feeling of a long stretch of lazy days ahead!)

- Women who look good in those '60s, mod, trapeze mini dresses

- Champagne (the real stuff-- I'd like to, um, become more knowledgeable about it)

- Our friend Frank for being strong even though he has to return to Iraq

More to come . . .

Friday, May 18, 2007

Desperately Seeking Spirituality

Recently I read the book Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything in Italy, India and Indonesia. This woman's journey of self-discovery through very different parts of the world fascinated me, made me laugh at times, and definitely made me think. I would recommend this to my friends because I feel her vulnerability blended with independence as a woman in her 30's is somehow relatable.

At the same time, her successful search for spiritual enlightenment in India became all too convenient in my opinion. Like an Indian friend who read the book said to me, there are yogis who spend the majority of their lives trying to attain the sort of nirvana that she describes toward the end of her few months at an ashram there. I hope that wasn't too much a spoiler for anyone who wants to read the book. There's more to this portion of the book, of course. Sometimes I wonder if people simply convince themselves that they are experiencing some sort of connection with a higher power. But maybe that faith in the experience is all that matters?

Then yesterday I watched the movie Jesus Camp about children being trained as Evangelical Christians to be soldiers for Christ or something like that. Spiritually inspiring? Not exactly. A bit scary and disturbing? Oh yes. There are times when I admire someone's complete dedication to her or his faith and suspension of intellectual disbelief in order to follow a spiritual path. But these children- my God (um, I mean, your God... whatever)! How can an eight-year-old make the decision to dedicate her life to spreading Jesus' message and "saving" others? How can you tell children to pray and speak in tongues to Jesus? I thought speaking in tongues was supposed to occur out of someone's control, as if the Holy Spirit had taken over the person's body. But I swear these kids were almost competing to see who could pray the hardest and the best and who would be "touched by Jesus" and cry the most. They spoke of trying to pray away the hypocrisy of the world, but here they were with a superiority complex about having found the right path and judging others when they also say that God is the only one who can judge. Hmm. And they say there's no political agenda but then they teach the children to pray for the new Supreme Court judge to be a pro-lifer.

Okay, end rant on that. See the movie if this topic interests you. I do believe finding your own spirituality is important, but I don't think one should exploit religion for convenience or for political gain.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Irish Flu Remedies

Okay, I know that I should no longer be getting hangovers. I mean, I was trained at a top university on how to party and make it to class the next day. But, being that I'm flyrish, half of me probably has an allergic reaction to alcohol. When the occasional hangover hits, I need a fast remedy. Since the warmer days of summer are soon upon us, a time often filled with boozy barbeques and day-into-night graduation parties, now is a good time to share a few methods I've used to get my body back in working order.

- VitaminWater (this stuff is glorious because it contains electrolytes, vitamins B & C among others, and it tastes good-- unlike hurl-inducing Gatorade)

- Bananas (once you're up to eating, a banana replenishes lost potassium and other nutrients and the natural sugar helps somehow as well)

- Greasy food (this is an old school remedy that may have no actual merit, but I know that a grilled cheese and fries makes the world a better place on my day after)

- Herbs (ask Mary about this one)

- Sleep ('nuff said)

Please feel free to share any tips you may have. Has anyone ever tried one of those hangover cure pills?

Monday, May 07, 2007

vegas, baby: answers

Vegas is not my kind of town. I know I'm getting older. Perhaps I'm just coming down from my crazy weekend. Perhaps I simply need a nap. In any case, next time I visit it will be just to hang out with my sister and shop. Maybe I'll play some Wheel of Fortune slots and hang out at the sportsbook. But I'm way over that club scene and getting doused with drinks by slobbering, drunken fools. Don't get me wrong- I had fun. It just put some things in perspective.

Here are the answers to the Vegas game from last week.

1. Casino

2. The Cooler

3. Leaving Las Vegas

4. Swingers

5. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

6. Dodgeball

7. Swingers


Looks like Kye's the winner out of the whole two people who played! Congrats. Unfortunately I didn't nab Jessica's autograph. But I may have a photo prize or something...


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Vegas, Baby!

I'm going to Las Vegas in a couple of days to visit my sister and to debaucherize (yes, I made that up and I like it) at a bachelorette party. Since it's my first warm weather vacation in a long while, I am excited and unfocused at work. To get in the sin city spirit, why not play a game instead?

Here's how it works. I will post quotes from Las Vegas related movies (i.e., at some point in the movie the setting is Vegas) and you, kind reader, must guess which movie each quote is from. No cheating on IMDB now (or go ahead if you want- I'll never know). Whoever guesses the most correctly wins a mini slot machine! Or some other tchotchke from the LV. It may even be an autograph from Jessica Simpson since I hear we might be running into her this weekend. Woo hoo.

1. "Running a casino is like robbing a bank with no cops around. For guys like me, Las Vegas washes away your sins. It's like a morality car wash."

2. "That guy is kryptonite on a stick."

3. "That's nice talk, Ben - keep drinking. Between the 101-proof breath and the occasional bits of drool, some interesting words come out."

4. "Always double down on eleven."

5. "
I hate to say this, but this place is getting to me. I think I'm getting the fear."

6. "Joanie loves Chachi!"

7. "Baby, we're going to be up five hundy by midnight!"

Hint: Two of the quotes are from the same movie.

These are easy for the most part. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

And This Livin' Ain't Easy

I have worked at the same job for over 8 years now and interviewing drug users and sellers has taught me a lot about life and about myself. A few people have asked me how I talk to these people and hear their sad stories day in and day out without getting down myself. Of course, there are days when a person's story stays with me or when I make a special connection with someone and wish I could do more to help her or him. But for the most part, I feel pretty good about giving these individuals time and space to talk and to compensate them for sharing their valuable information with us. It's also made me that much more grateful for my amazing family and for all I've been given in this world. When you come from a world of privilege, whether you realize your privilege or not, it is easy to judge others who seem like they simply need to get it together and change their lives.

Not that I'm above judging these people myself, even with all of my experience working with and talking with homeless individuals, sex workers, addicts and hustlers who are more often than not nice folks who are just trying to make ends meet in our ridiculously expensive city. And that's why I feel guilty sometimes. Not guilty about what I have, but guilty about judging. If I'm having a bad day, I get pissed off that a person lied to try to get into our study. Scammers suck! But when I step back and get the full view, I understand that hustling is their lifestyle and that's how they know to survive. See, I can handle a sad story but I'm at a loss when someone gets angry and confrontational. Don't yell at me when I tell you that you don't qualify-- I don't make the rules here and I'm bound to the integrity of our research. Still, I'd be angry too if I saw an opportunity to make some money and was told no. Yet again.

Through this job, I'm reminded that I hate confrontation. I want to cry like a child afterward. I'm a sponge that soaks up negative energy and it stays with me all day. That's the bad part of being empathetic.
Fortunately, that kind of confrontation doesn't happen often. The other side of empathy is having understanding and putting your own life into perspective. Not being able to afford a fancy dinner out no longer seems quite so stressful. It's hard enough to live in the Bay Area if you consider yourself middle class. But it sure is worth it.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hi-Tech Hypochondriac

When I have some strange ailment I'm obsessing over, it's hard not to research it online and further obsess. But the cyberspace pathway to enlightenment is fraught with self-made doctors and misinformation. Sure, you may be able to get a bit of helpful information, but what exactly do you trust? In addition, it's easy to see your situation as much more dire than it really is.

For example, I'm just getting over a strange allergic reaction to some earrings that turned into an ear piercing infection. After it was bothering me for more than a few days, I went online and googled "ear piercing infections" to figure out if I should go to the doctor or just take care of it myself. This article freaked me out, especially this part:

"I
nfections are serious. You can loose body parts if left untreated. If it spreads to your blood stream you could die. Go see a doctor the minute that your muscles become sore, your
glands are swollen, or you get red streaks."

And my gland under my left ear was swollen. I thought I had let it go too far! Woe is me- I shall die a painful death and lose my ears due to costume jewelry, I thought to myself in a moment of dramatic hypochondria. While this encouraged me to go to the doctor, which was good because I received antibiotics, I really should have paid attention to the top of that article that said "The How-To Manual That Anyone Can Write or Edit." Who was this supposed expert on ear piercing infections? Probably not a doctor. The sea salt and hot water thing only made the rash on my ears spread. And reading the article only made me more stressed out about a fairly minor ailment. Perhaps if I hadn't freaked out about the gravity of my ear infection, the healing process would have gone more quickly.

So, remember, dear friends, to take things you read online regarding your health with a grain of salt. But not necessarily sea salt.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Cutest Couple

I read about this last week and meant to post about it then but never got around to it. Have you all heard about Hollywood's cutest couple du jour? (We already know about Oaktown's cutest couple.)

As Tobot so keenly suggested, these two are like my dream couple. Well, not quite, but they are a couple of my favorite actors. Good luck to them...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Surreal Evolution, Part 2

As I wrote about recently, this time in my life and my friends' lives has given me reason to pause and reflect a bit. Getting older is clearly different for everyone. Some view the aging process with trepidation and fear of what they will become. Others tread lightly as the years go by, hoping for contentment but not seeing far beyond the present, while others still are more ambitious about starting their own families and becoming a "grown-up." I know there's more to this spectrum, and I think that's what's important to note-- there is a spectrum of ways in which each person develops and matures.

Which brings me to my venting point. I believe there is a difference between simply succumbing to "getting old" and maturing. Just because I don't go out every night does not mean that I'm old and boring (or at least that's what I like to tell myself). I am able to find pleasure in a relaxing night at home more often than I did before, and that partly has to do with having more financial responsibilities that don't allow me to constantly shell out cash for $9 drinks at the bar and partly is just liking to hang out with my man in our cozy, little home. I definitely have routine in my life, which is comforting at times. Other times, I enjoy breaking up the week with a trip to a new grocery store- kidding! I really do think of myself as being pretty youthful and fun-loving for the most part. But staying home on a Friday night doesn't make me feel quite as loser-ish as it once did. I don't need to be sloshed every weekend to maintain my youthfulness.

Not that I'm the Queen of Maturity, riding up here on my high horse into the Kingdom of the All-Knowing or anything. It's freakin' surreal to get older, to feel the future pushing down your door and to still maintain a level of coolness. I do wish I could be a little more spontaneous sometimes. I could probably watch a little less TV. But damn, sometimes I'm tired and what sounds best to me is hunkering down with my cashmere throw, some red wine and my Netflix movie. If that makes me old and boring, so be it. Or better yet, if loving that is wrong, I don't want to be right!

Which reminds me-- I've been wanting to try this new bar in Oakland...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

British Bad Girls





Lily Allen vs. Amy Winehouse? Who would win?

I've been listening to the music of these fine ladies from the next wave of the British invasion a lot lately. Both pop artists are talented in different ways and have been huge across the Atlantic for a while now, so of course the U.K. tabloids are pitting the two against each other. Why not join in on the fun?

For those of you unfamiliar with their music, they're both known as brutally honest bad girls who sing over (mostly) sweetly upbeat tunes. Lily sings a tongue-in-cheek ditty called "Alfie" where she chastises her little brother for spending all day in a cloud of weed smoke, while Amy croons about saying no-no-no to those pushing her into treatment in "Rehab." Allen's beats are more ska and reggae inspired, while Winehouse's tunes are decidedly Motown influenced. Each of their CD's have had some production by DJ extraordinaire Mark Ronson. Amy Winehouse probably has stronger vocal chops, often compared to songstresses like Lauryn Hill and Sarah Vaughn, while Lily Allen has a fairly unique, if not weaker, voice.

I enjoy them both but have a favorite right now. Can you guess which one?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Ill Communication

So, it's been a week since my last entry and I've realized that my life is not nearly as thrilling as I imagined it to be. I envy the bloggers out there that promulgate the seemingly mundane aspects of their lives on a daily basis and somehow make them fascinating. That is some kind of talent, I tell ya.

The most interesting topic I can think of to blog about today is . . . dun-dun-dun . . .

flyrish vs. the cold!

I used to think that I didn't get sick much. I believed I took such amazing care of myself that my immune system had Mr. T-like strength. Well, either I'm getting older and therefore weaker or there are heartier viruses and bacteria out there because I've gotten a cold or flu about three times this winter. I've had a sore throat since Thursday, been exhausted and now the congestion has started. I immediately began dumping tangerine flavored Emergen-C in my water, stocked up on Airborne and have been sucking on these Cold-Eeeze lozenges full of zinc. Lots of water and tea on top of that. I will not succumb to the sickness!

According to this article, we're experiencing a relatively mild flu season. I'm not buying it.

Perhaps I should take a sick day soon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Surreal Evolution

I just got back from a little road trip down to Santa Barbara and the LA area where Tob and I hooked up with some good friends from college. Despite being a whirlwind getaway, it was both relaxing and fascinating. Why fascinating? Well, I became aware of so much change in our social world. Eye-opening change. Like, oh yeah, we're all pretty much adults now (or at least we're supposed to be).

Most of my friends in the Bay have not yet entered the realm of "married with children," and I've chalked that up to living an urban lifestyle and not seeing settling down as a major priority. I applaud that actually. But my friends down south have married and own homes, while one couple recently had their first baby. On a breezy, warm evening when I was chatting with a friend about future family plans, I was struck by how surreal this moment of our lives was. Here we were-- old college roommates, party girls, flirts, dancing queens, c-dubs (don't ask), etc.. How did we suddenly enter the world of mortgages and baby bath products?

It's a strange place to be, but I think I can get used to it. And somehow that scares me and excites me at the same time. Am I really all growns up?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Milking It

You know, I was recently reminded that birthdays are more than just an excuse to be greedy and hedonistic. A birthday is also a time to see who your true friends are and to thank the ones who shell out a lot of money in your honor (unlike some people I know). Kidding! Sort of.

Honestly, I felt very blessed to celebrate with my loved ones and for friends who sent their warm wishes from afar. A final thank you shout out! I'm still reveling in all of my birthday glory. 'Tis the year of the dirty thirty.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Obviously Optimal

Hi, I'm flyrish and I'm a wannabe foodie.

Besides wishing I was a little bit taller, once in a while I wish that I wasn't a vegetarian so that I could sample all of the tempting morsels that make up the food world. I mean, I have never liked meat (except for strange processed meats made by Oscar Meyer but let's save that for another exciting entry). It's not like I crave animal flesh or anything. I simply love eating, trying new restaurants, indulging in the vast array of cuisines that our bountiful Bay Area offers. Clearly I'm limited by my vegetarianism, although I'm also grateful for the variety of veggie offerings in this region-- everything from Italian to Thai to Ethiopian.

Life would be so much simpler if I didn't have such a passion for food. For example, I would love to travel to the Philippines, but the biggest deterrent is the lack of food I would be able to eat. Subsisting on rice and fruit does not sound appealing. Furthermore, I would hate to disrespect my Filipino relatives who would generously prepare meat-laden meals for me at their homes. My vegetarian lifestyle coupled with my love of food may prevent me from visiting the homeland. Pretty ridiculous, right? What's more ridiculous is that if I attempted to force meat down my throat, my gag reflex would surely kick in, shaming me as the flyrish freak forever.

It would be ideal if I ate meat. Perhaps I could become a real foodie. But I'm okay with my wannabe status because I'm one voracious vegetarian. Thank cows for cheese.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Killa Whale

Here's my horoscope courtesy of Free Will Astrology to kick off the birthday weekend:

Native to Africa and Australia, baobab trees are oddly beautiful, with thick, bulbous trunks that can grow partially hollow and thus serve as shelters for people and animals. They have an enormous capacity for storing water, allowing them to survive during draughts. Humans carve and paint their fruits, making them into ornaments, and also use their leaves, fruits, and bark for food and drink. The tree's large white flowers open only at night, and are pollinated by bats. In all these ways, you remind me of a baobab right now, Pisces. You're freakishly gorgeous, have enormous staying power and hundreds of uses, are a rich source of nourishment and comfort, and bloom under the moonlight, when you do your best collaborative work.

And the full moon is on Saturday. Should be a good weekend for Pisces (that means you, Dre Dog).



Monday, February 26, 2007

Best Achievement in Cattiness

At my parents' annual Oscar fete last night, my mom, ever the gracious hostess, bowed out of winning the ballot contest to allow her guests to obtain the coveted prize, which meant I had a chance to win! I had tied with two others, but glory could still be mine! After my initial excitement, I realized that I was kind of a hostess too, so I had to let the others battle it out. Rats. But congratulations to Sarah O who picked the Grand Prize ribbon and made such a fabulous comeback! If she takes her mom to the movies with that gift card, I'll try to be understanding.

I'm always thankful to my parents for throwing this little bash because 1) the guestlist consists mainly of my friends and 2) it makes a potentially snooze-worthy awards show extra entertaining. Ellen was cute and amusing but did nothing spectacular. The highlight of the show resided in Will Ferrell, Jack Black and John C. Reilly's musical stylings. I had little passion for the movies nominated, save for Pan's Labyrinth which deservingly won 3 or so Oscars. Yeah, The Departed was cool. Go Marti and all of that. Ultimately, this year's Academy Awards was nothing to scream "they were robbed!" about.

Yes, even the fashion was dull. There were a few winners of the night, though. My pick for the Best Dressed Even Being Slightly Too Skinny But I Still Love You award: Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And the Best Attempt to Be Quirky and Different but Ending Up Just Horrid award:Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I'm awful. The real winners are all of my friends and family who shared laughs and sinfully good food. Thanks again, Mom & Dad!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Fashion Slavery

I admit it. Even more, I'm a sucker for it. My most girly trait reveals itself in deep fuchsia, stacked pumps, skinny indigo denim, and silky teal camisoles. Blistered heels and credit card debt, be damned! I adore all things fashion, including snarking over its victims a la Go Fug Yourself. But sometimes I'm also a slave to style. Quel surprise.

For the last two fall/winter seasons I've coveted a cashmere dress. And I've hunted for this ultimate luxury that will be the happy ending to my closet's fairytale for just as long. I'm convinced that not only will this dress make me eternally chic but it will somehow soothe whatever ails me and probably find a cure for AIDS. (See? I'm not completely shallow.) The piece de resistance!

Why haven't I found this perfect specimen? Well, cashmere- quality cashmere anyway- doesn't come cheap. I've carefully browsed the end of winter sales and have an ongoing search on ebay, but I have yet to come across thee dress. The one that's both amazing and affordable. Less luxurious knits have begun to beguile, but I'm not giving up on the holy grail. Lately the search has been all-consuming. I surreptitiously fit online boutique searches in between work tasks (I love the tabs feature on Firefox, by the way). I dream about fondling a heather grey mini version. But alas, no shouting of Eureka! By the time I actually find this thing, it will be summer and I won't give a 2-ply crap about it.

Or you'll see me strutting down the street in all of my cashmere glory, sweating in the midst of an August heatwave. I told you before- I'm one sorry sucka.


Friday, February 16, 2007

High Fidelity Steelo

Whenever High Fidelity happens to be on TV (and I invariably watch it), I'm inspired to make top 5 lists. I've learned from my friend Red that lists can be fun, even to a non-listy person such as myself. And High Fidelity reaffirms the joy in favorites listmaking for me. Sometimes choosing favorites can be a challenge, though, especially for someone as indecisive and as non-exclusive as me. Like choosing a favorite food- just one? That's like picking my favorite child or something. But top 5 is manageable. I could easily pick my top 5 favorite children, especially since I don't expect to have more than 3 of my own someday. Then the other 2 could be a relative and some cute kid I saw in a movie or something.

Speaking of movies, today's top 5 list highlights my favorite movies of the past year. As the Oscars are about 2 weeks away- I can decidedly say that the Oscars are my #1 favorite awards show- I'd like to present a flyrish perspective of the best films of 2006.

1. Pan's Labyrinth
- amazingly creative and engaging; definitely worth seeing in the theatre
2. The Departed
- very entertaining and very Scorcese; I actually liked Leonardo di Caprio
3. Water
- beautiful, melancholy and fascinating
4. The Illusionist
- just plain cool story with great acting by Paul Giamatti
5. V for Vendetta
- Natalie Portman is awesome, the storyline is so timely

Now, mind you, I haven't seen all of the reportedly great movies of the year, but these are the best of what I've seen. I'm not a critic- I just look like one.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Andre 3000 Day

Today I'd like to give props to the one artist (that I'm aware of) that created a Valentine's Day carol, Andre 3000 from Outkast. Here's an excerpt from this funky little track:

Happy Valentine's Day
Every day the 14th! (You got it!)
When Cupid knocks at your door
You can't ignore me!
There's no need to run!
So, Happy Valentine's Day (Hey!)
Every day the 14th!
I may have it all wrong, see
If you know what loves mean, well
Well, somebody tell me!
'Cuz they just don't believe in me!

He really captures the spooky nature of this holiday.



Monday, February 12, 2007

Life in the Carpool Lane

As most of my friends and family know, I partake in the East Bay's Casual Carpool every morning on my way to work. It really is an ideal commute in that 1) it's free and 2) it's quick. And I don't mind my 12 minute walk to work from the carpool drop-off. A decent way to start the day actually.

Some friends have asked me if I'm ever nervous about getting into a stranger's car or, on the occasional day that I drive, if I worry about some weirdo passenger riding in Jetson. Fortunately, I feel fairly safe, and, after 3 years of carpooling it, I recognize most of the folks participating in my neighborhood. But one quickly learns that there is a precise etiquette involved in the carpool experience. A breach of said etiquette can disrupt the start of one's day, to say the least. If you're new to carpooling, here is my handy guide to Casual Carpool rules for a smooth ride to work (a work in progress):

1) Greet the driver/passengers with a pleasant "good morning" or "hello."

2) As a driver, the radio should be kept at a low to moderate level. No jarring, loud music as to avoid blowing out the eardrums of passengers. No shock jock morning shows. When in doubt, NPR is usually a crowd-pleaser.

3) Keep talking to a minimum. Friendly banter about the weather or light news is acceptable. No cell phone conversations! If it's an emergency, ask if driver/passengers mind a short phone call. Drivers really should avoid this though, especially phone calls just to say hi to your mom when you're a pathetic 50-year-old man.

4) Drive safely/wear seatbelts. Learn to drive well (no jerky, elementary stick shifting or weaving in and out of traffic at 80mph) if you're going to take passengers with you. Try to avoid fits of road rage. Actually, just because you can afford a BMW doesn't mean you should drive at all.

5) Don't flirt with the driver/passengers. See rule #3, pervert.

6) Extra credit for letting passengers know where you're headed and dropping them off on the way, especially when it's howling wind and pouring rain. Otherwise, drop-off is at the corner of Fremont & Howard.

7) Say "thank you," "you're welcome" or "have a nice day" upon drop-off.

See? Easy enough. Then why this morning was my driver blaring '60s rock and tossing me around the backseat (seatbelt on) with his swervy driving?! Have a nice day indeed.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

29 again?

I remember thinking that all of those cards, t-shirts, mugs and other supposedly humorous references to having multiple 29th or 39th birthdays were silly and trite. Um, I still do, but now I'm beginning to understand their minimal appeal. I'm 98% excited to enter the world of 30-somethings as I've heard I will become oh so comfortable in my own skin and be in my womanly prime-- that the late 2o's are too much about transition and figuring out what you want to do with your life. I will apparently find myself in my 30's!

But there's that 2% (statistically significant in my wacky world) of me that's all, "Well, what have you done with your life so far? Are you really where you want to be at age 30?" That must be the influence of others talking because that's never been me. I'm not one to make lists of goals to accomplish by a certain time. In recent years I've made New Year's "aspirations" instead of resolutions because the word "resolution" seemed too- I don't know- final. Too much pressure, I guess. I'm just not a very future-oriented person. And while I never pictured myself in a very specific place in life at age 30, I still feel somewhat unaccomplished. I certainly haven't been writing enough-- my confidence is pretty low in that arena. A friend has told me that she admires my "not just talk about it, be about it" way of living and sometimes that haunts me. Am I really being about it as time tic-tocs its way through another year? But enough of the pity party.

Since I'm turning 30 in a few weeks, one thing I'd like to do before the big day is create a public blog. I've had one just for me in the past, but it's time to share my musings with the virtual world (or with whom I choose to share this blog). Ta-da! I'm feeling more accomplished already...