Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wrong woman who won't go away

Dusted this off from saved drafts, forgot to publish at the time...
This article (Wrong woman, wrong message) by Gloria Steinem deserves a revisit because that lucky governor who was plucked by a crafty Presidential candidate to be out-of-her-element/V.P. is not being placed upon the mantle she rightfully deserves. It's any mantle, really, as long as it's there to be ignored and polished once in a while. But no one is leaving it well enough alone, especially the lucky trophy herself. Just to refresh, I believed the problem with her as VP candidate to be an issue of scale. She was suited to public service on at most a smallish state level, but she proved many times to be ill-equipped at handling even the most basic of domestic and foreign affairs. She was McCain's trophy partner, to be placed on the opposite side of his trophy wife in photo shoots.

And also, Tina Fey, I know you're super duper cute in the latest ratings boosting turn as Mrs. P but you of all people - you who said the porn industry should die and more feminist sounding things - should not fall victim to executives giving the people what they want. I can only imagine how addictive life's offerings are right now to someone who once worked at a desk, like me right now and forever, so I think history will give you a free pass. Besides, I think thinking women are winning right now. We haven't heard anything about Paris or Brittney in a long while.

Friday, June 29, 2012

My latest report from my mother is that she just had a good time with her stake young women president. "She is a very sweet sister." The time in my life when I most often applied the word "sweet sister" to any and all Church women I came across was in the young women from Beehive to Laurel and on through college, at BYU. Among LDS women, sweetness is the preferred unit of measurement. Sweetness is different from kindness, which is a preferred behavior in LDS men. Sweetness implies not only being slightly more considerate than the kind person, but also a level of docility and "innate" nurturing that is separate from kindness. "She has a sweet spirit" is sometimes code for "she's unattractive, but is on the nicer end of the Mormon woman sweetness spectrum." Sail away sweet sister, you are loved.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

the devil wears prada

The consumerism in this country is a big mess of a problem stemming in part from the refined art of creating demand for things we really don't need (ie. marketers doing their jobs too well). As a second generation Chinese, I still carry with me values of turning off the light when one leaves a room, never throwing away food unless absolutely necessary, shopping at thrift stores, using bath water to feed the garden and plants, conserving gas, owning small cars, and so forth, and it's not an issue of necessity but rather choice. I remember while growing up in middle America, how embarrassed I was in my family's non-materialism and conservative habits. I was raised with these habits before eco-consciousness became a buzzword. But the culture has changed in China and for the rapidly growing wealthy class, it's about the bigger cars, bigger houses, latest gadgets, material-focused lifestyle.

If you've been to Beijing, Shanghai, Jakarta, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, it's hard to ignore the thick layer of pollution blanketing the cities juxtaposed with glitzy shopping centers on every block. Air quality wise, Los Angeles on its worst day was never as bad as Beijing on its best. So we have a long way to go in reversing the consumerist trends in large pockets of the earth. Along the way, however, I find myself admiring the Coach bag through a window or plunking down money on yet another long coat, but in a different color. I don't know why. Maybe it has something to do with this from the movie starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep:

"You sold your soul to the devil when you put on your first pair of Jimmy Choo's."

OR this:

"This... 'stuff'? Oh... ok. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don't know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise, it's not lapis, it's actually cerulean. You're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn't it, who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff."

Actually, I've never tried on Jimmy Choo's and it's highly unlikely I'll ever work for the fashion industry. It's more likely I'll go vegetarian before that happens.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

On comma vox

First the comma: Not only is it my favorite punctuation mark, it also exemplifies the pause and reflect nature of blogging. At least, that's what I think I'm doing when I type stuff out and then hit 'Publish Post.' The blog should be titled "Crazy things in my head, typed out for whoever to read" because there's not much focus here on China or women or earth. It wasn't until tonight that I realize people may actually come across this site, especially if they're set up to search key words, phrases, and poems.

Now re: Vox. It means voice. Giving voice to the moments of pause in my life. These moments have become more rare as our family grows. Primary caregivers of high-maintenance dogs and children under 4 should be banned from blogging. Because blogging will always take the place of valuable sleep time.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday Poem - Why I prefer funerals

Some day in the near future when I'm given the choice to attend either a wedding or a funeral, I will most likely choose the funeral. Granted I've made it to many weddings and I remember some of them, and a few I will never forget (and no, I will never forget my own stress-inducing, all-day wedding). Nevertheless, no event provides the existential pause, the soul-churning, life-altering experience that is the funeral.

In case someone is watching, I'm sorry I missed your wedding due to illness or fear of flying with a lap child. Rest assured come hell or high water, I'd rather die than miss your funeral.

A poem from Echoes of Memory by John O'Donohue given at a recent funeral:

Beannacht (Blessing)

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

© John O’Donohue. All rights reserved

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ecofriendly Places to Shop!stmenu_template.main

Sometime soon, I shall purchase this tote.

If I ever endeavor into leggings...

Turning 30 is for wearing dangling earrings.

Just an all-around great place to shoppe.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Part II: taking breaks from thinking

Thinking: Dangerous. Taking breaks from thinking: Dangerous.

I end up going to a tennis match between cross-town rivalries on a day with 40% chance of rain. It rains. And then my immune system is overcome by a viral infection that results in bronchitis complete with malaise and sustained fever of 102. This story has a happy ending!! The fever and my brain are in cahoots, and autopilot for continuous thinking switches on. So this involuntary, uncontrollable thinking mode results in a resolution to all of my problems with work. Literally, figuratively, and paradoxically. Literally, the modus operandi for upcoming work is mapped out. Figuratively, to think required a high fever which meant being absent from work. And paradoxically, taking a break from thinking ultimately lead to painful, agonizing thinking.

Moral of the story is that the only pasttimes worth doing are the dangerous ones.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dangerous Pastime Part I: Thinking

There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist, except an old optimist...Mark Twain
I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else...Winston Churchill, when he was an old man.

After another 3-hour class discussion the other day, I commented out loud that this was another round of tearing apart my motivation to help (by way of existing mechanisms) empower the subsistence-level women of the world. A peer, as she was walking out, commented, "Well, you have to think this shit through." And left it at that.

That's all we do in academia is think shit through. Pourquoi? Is it a defensive mechanism - for fear of being proven wrong too easily? To maintain our privileged station as observers? Do we all possess various combinations of narcissistic, schizotypal, borderline, paranoid et al. personality disorders? For me, it's all of the above, plus the primitive desire to live dangerously. Sure, I could try fugu, but the excitement dividend will always be too low when the quotient is stupidly ingesting incorrectly prepared fish. And sushi is a favorite pastime. Previous pastimes included rock climbing, spelunking, snowboarding, blah blah, but now that I have 1.5 dependents (not including dog), it's only responsible to purchase life insurance for these activities. But who can afford the premium, especially whilst supporting one-and-a-half dependents?

So I resort to the dangerous pastime of thinking. Remember the song from Disney's Beauty and the Beast when
Gaston croons: LeFou I'm afraid I've been thinking,
LeFou: A dangerous pastime,
Gaston: I know.

The danger lies in forever being frozen into inaction because of the discovery that every action will result in negative externalities that outweighs and outvalues the original perceived gain. The danger is being hit by a Prius one day because both me, the pedestrian, and she, the driver were busy thinking.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

dirt+potting soil+pick axe+shovel+miracle gro + muddy dog

= happiness.

Gandhi said, To forget how to dig the earth and tend the soil is to forget ourselves . I was late to campus today having forgotten myself in the yard.

For years, our back and side yards have been covered in fertile soil that's now hardened at about one inch deep. We welcomed our guests to the backyard by going down a narrow concrete path bordered by lots of dirt. I recently decided to do something about this by using a combination of small bark, 150 lbs of smooth river stones, Emerald Cushions, and perennial flowers. This will also reduce the likelihood of Ocean getting his muddy paws all over my increasingly fewer nice pants.

Other plants we've grown over the years: bougainvilla, flax, wild grass, Mexican sage, rosemary, daisies, star jasmine, 6 queen palm trees, lemon and lime trees, plantain trees that are too hardy and grow like weeds, and mini rose bushes. Our biggest mistake was planting ficus trees. The City is currently hacking away at ficus trees on our cross street whose roots interrupt sewage systems and destroy sidewalks. This was the shadiest street in our neighborhood; you could recognize it instantly atop our closest hill and from satellite maps. Incidentally, half the street was able to avoid the ficus chopping probably because a former mayor lives there.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Kids items: strip pole for sale

This is why I loved Little Miss Sunshine

*spoiler alert*

Young girls as exotic dolls are rewarded for looking and behaving the most hyper-sexualized. What can be more of a turn on than erotic dancing?