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what is the sci-fi channel trying to say when they air a twilight zone marathon every new year's? that this is crazy, that this is getting out of control? 2008. jesus. but then again, i say that every year. remember when we said, i can't believe it's the year 2000! and everyone was afraid of y2k. look at all the things you would've missed out on, had computers really shut down for good: myspace, youtube, wikipedia. yes, everything on the internet is useless. computers were supposed to help us get smarter, and they were supposed to solve our problems. but they did the opposite, obviously. we got dumber, and we used computers as a way to communicate our problems on a much larger scale: yahoo messenger, aim messenger, american idol chat, blogs, online checkers.

although, i did get addicted to online checkers at one point. it's really fun when you're losing, and you just don't make a move for a really long time. maybe never. sometimes, the other person will try to out-wait you, or else he'll just leave. when you're stuck and there's no chance of winning, you just minimize the game, and go about your everyday business. sore loser to the tenth degree. but then again, you can't really lose if you don't move.

after new year's, i always wrote down the wrong year when i got back to school. in the upper right-hand corner, i'd write the previous year, forgetting that it had changed. once, i think, i was even two years behind. and the worst part was, this took place in college. yes, the year was 2005, i think, and i'm pretty sure i typed 2003 on at least more than one paper. it still feels like 2003. where's our goddamn flying cars and x-men mutants roaming the streets? i remember the 2009 series comic books, and i thought, wow, that's a really long time away. things will be cool then, i thought.

i knew i was older when i was in college and i went to go tutor some kids at bailey gatzert elementary. they were all about captain underpants, and all i could think was, what the hell is captain underpants. and some kid said, you don't know captain underpants? and i said, no, i don't know captain underpants. he laughed. and then they talked about spongebob squarepants. i couldn't believe all my nickelodeon shows were being replaced. i thought they'd air doug, are you afraid of the dark?, rocko's modern life and clarissa explains it all forever. they should, at any rate. so i tried to watch spongebob squarepants. i had no idea what the hell was going on. he was a yellow sponge that lived underwater, and he had a fat starfish friend. i just couldn't get over the fact that their main character was a yellow sponge. "you like this?" i asked my then four-year-old cousin. "yeah," he said.

okay, i can't really talk, since i was still watching talking babies (rugrats) in sixth grade. okay, maybe a little bit of seventh, too. but come on, there were moral dilemmas and whatnot. angelica represented pure evil. tommy was fearless and bold, and chucky had to learn to man up. phil and lil were bizarre twins with new wave haircuts. and mark mothersbaugh of devo fame provided the music.

i'm seriously defending my watching rugrats on a sunday night in my parents' house in sacramento.

see, y2k wouldn't have been so bad after all.
if you think positively,
you will think positively.

when my dad isn't watching his korean soap opera (of which there are only 21 episodes - that i know of), he's watching joel osteen. for those of you who don't know joel osteen, he's a pastor from houston, tx, who promotes "positive thinking" and all that other good stuff that will earn you a ticket to heaven. i watched a little bit, but joel osteen looks too creepy, almost like clay aiken. he reminds me of one of those guys like patrick swayze's character in donnie darko. you know, the right-wing religious nut who really runs a child porno ring from his basement. i shouldn't say that. joel osteen's probably a good guy. i just don't know why my dad watches him so much. i'm going to ask him. right now. and then i'll post his response.

my dad said, "sometimes he (joel) says something uplifting. or he says something that you can use for everyday living."

i think my dad was annoyed that i had to ask him. i wonder how many times i make people feel bad about what they're watching/buying/listening to. i probably do it more often than i'm aware. i try not to be an asshole; i try not to be bitter.

maybe i should watch some joel osteen.
dreaming, whilst he
sat on a bench.

the old buzzard sat on a bench at the arden fair mall. he was waiting for some family to finish shopping, why else would he be there. they left their bags at his feet, and shuffled away, busy monkeys that they were. as he sat there, on that cold, brown wooden bench, people passed him by. child after child, woman after woman, yuppie after yuppie. he looked inside bath & body works, at the female workers with their smiling, friendly faces, and he wondered why he never had a smiling, friendly face. he slumped in his seat. and his eyes closed a little bit. sure, some people began staring, but what did he care. it wasn't a sound sleep, but more like sitting in the back of an air conditioned car in the middle of summer, going south for a very, very long time. his eyes turned to slits, and he began dreaming, dreaming, whilst he sat on a bench. first he dreamed of the house he could never afford. next it was the dream job that didn't exist. the imaginary wife he didn't have to argue with, and frequently feel inferior to. then he dreamed of a colorful nation of smiling, friendly faces. he dreamed that he had visited foreign lands, and he saw ruins of ancient cities. he dreamed he had hugged more people along the way, which, of course, he hadn't. when he had come out of this dream-like trance, he saw family coming his way. they turned to light, and they became so bright that he had to lie down. then, suddenly, it occurred to him that these would be the last dreams he would ever have.
heating and air conditioning.

i spent last night in some weird kind of daze. i tried going to bed at 9, and almost fell asleep, but not really. so instead, i texted random people because i finally know how to text, and then i read some old journals and wrote an entry. i said something about not wanting to fall asleep anymore in my parents' house on a twin bed with snowman sheets. you aren't supposed to do those kinds of things at my age. that's what society says, anyway. i finished the huge book of hell and started against love: a polemic. i get it, laura. monogamy doesn't work, and it's okay if we cheat. that's what you're going after, right?

actually, i wonder about a woman like laura kipnis. i wonder about people like her, specifically, academics. after reading a couple paragraphs chockful of words that would bring any gre/sat taker's score down, i wonder if it makes them feel superior. like i try to imagine her at a target. and not just any target, but the target off zinfandel in rancho. you know, the "ghetto" target. well, maybe not all people think it's that "ghetto," but you get the point. so here's laura, walking around target, and i wonder what she's thinking. does a woman like laura, an academic, prolific writer even visit places like target? and if she does, what's she there to get? dove soap? biore strips? when the bitchy clerk gives her shit, how does laura react? does she just think to herself, i can communicate on a whole level this person would never, not in a million years, ever understand. this bitchy clerk is so beneath me, she could even spit on me, but i've got degrees at home, money in the bank, and published books on the shelf.

when this happens at a barnes & noble, when she's confronted with a bitchy clerk, does she ever think to come back to the counter and buy a copy of her own book? i think that's what i'd do. i'd pay for my own book, and after i've signed my receipt, i'd sign the book, and make it out to "the bitchy clerk who will never amount to anything other than selling copies of something i wrote." and then i would just leave it there and laugh. i would laugh and laugh and laugh.

these are the things i think about at three in the morning.

i also came up with this poem, although it's not very good. it's not meant to be, if that's what you're asking:

21, had some fun.
22, so much to do.
23, what's in store for me?
24, such a bore.
25, still alive?

then i woke up early and told my dad we should go see juno, which we did. it was pretty good, but i'm biased because they played everything in my cd collection, and even made an anti-sonic youth remark, which i could understand. but even my dad said he liked it. i can't remember the last time it was just me and him seeing a movie. i think maybe it was waiting for guffman. that was over a decade ago.

there was a preview for persepolis, which looks amazing. my dad doesn't like cartoons, though, i don't think, so i'll have to find someone else to bring along. he's gone to movies by himself. he once saw the motorcycle diaries alone. my mom's done that, too. i forgot what she's seen, but she's seen something. me, i've never been to a film by myself. i don't see why i haven't. it's not like you talk to anyone while it's playing. it'd just be weird, i guess. like having to stand while taking a number two. it'd be breaking a habit.

i liked in juno when she said, "i bought another sonic youth album, and it sucked. it was just noise!" not many people laughed, but i sure did. i don't want to spoil anymore. just that one little tidbit.

tonight, maybe i'll convince rich to see there will be blood. there's a midnight showing. why not.
the saddest word in the english language.











inconsolable.
smart nothing.

in elementary school, i believed what people said, what teachers said. that i was a smart kid. to be truthful, i never really bought it. the only thing i knew was that the work was way easy. too fucking easy. either st. ignatius' standards were too low, or everyone around me was just that stupid. so i excelled like i never had before. on timed math quizzes, i always finished first with zero to few errors. i won spelling bees; i memorized definitions like a human dictionary; i did math like a stereotypical asian american student should. teachers loved me. they would always tell other misbehaving students, why can't you be more like james?

i knew what they really wanted, though. i knew that all i had to do was sit still and keep my dumb fucking mouth shut for eight hours a day, and at the end of the semester, i would get a shitty beige piece of paper that read, "high honors." and i actually thought these things mattered. my mom bought me a sundae each time i earned straight a's. around sixth grade, it started getting competitive. noel, edgar, kendall, michael - these were my competitors; they were my enemies; i wished to crush them.

mrs. mangino was my biggest obstacle. i always fucked something up in her stupid science class. she couldn't even teach. she was just some crazy old woman who believed in creationism, and they had her teaching science. so i got one c on a quiz, and that was it. there goes my chance, i thought. and sure enough, when report card time came, there was a little dash (-) next to my perfect row of a's.

minus.

it means you're deficient. you're lacking something. something's missing. it's a negative, a symbol used to indicate subtraction. you're less than what you think you are. you're not going to get what you deserve.

coleman mccarthy, teacher of nonviolence, once said that grades are a form of "academic violence." it's taking me a while to still process that thought. i've read teenage liberation and i've read school is hell, and i still don't know what to think about grades as academic violence.

at st. ignatius, i wasn't valedictorian, the way i always imagined i would be. mrs. mangino's science class always brought down my gpa. i guess the other teachers never gossiped about me in her presence. at that point, i didn't want to be valedictorian anyway, because i didn't like standing up in front of people and feeling terribly important.

i do remember, though, getting our grades toward the end of the year, maybe in sixth or seventh grade. noel and edgar trailed behind me. "what'd you get? how'd you do?" i told them. they made little frowns and said in their pathetic mocking voices, "aww, what happened? how come?" i didn't answer them. i just walked away.

thinking about that moment, i begin to understand the connection between grades and academic violence.

by the time i reached high school, i didn't care anymore. i knew that grades were meaningless, and that i wasn't actually learning anything. that i was, and always have been, doing nothing more than busy work. that my teachers were simply preparing me for the bleak reality of a mundane nine to five. all i had to do was keep quiet, keep to myself, and do the work.

i didn't want to go to an all boys school, but i did anyway. what other options did i have? even at fourteen, i knew the public school system was a joke.

so i went, and for four years, i reached an unprecedented level of boredom and depression. if it wasn't for music, i never would've made it. i'm sure of that. that's about the only thing i'm sure of.

freshman year was a disaster. i received my first c in geometry. i wished the worst kinds of horrible cancers upon my teachers. i won't even go into p.e.

when they saw my first dismal report card, my parents were shocked. "what's the matter?" they said. "why are you doing so poorly?" when i didn't have any answers, they offered solutions. "you need to try harder," they said. "maybe you should go to counseling," they said.

i refused. for the first time in my life, i would learn how to turn myself off and become completely disconnected: socially, spiritually, academically.

i'm not smart, i wanted to say. what is 'smart' anyway? what does it mean to be smart? smart people are the ones who fit in, who know how to play the game. it helps if you're white. it helps if you have money. it helps if your parents are together. it helps if your friends aren't complete fuck-ups. it helps if you don't actually mind doing busy work. it helps if you know how to write what your teachers want to read. it helps if you can deceive yourself into thinking that this system, this educational racket, will lead you to college, which in turn will lead you to a good career, which in turn will bring you loads of money, which in turn will bring you happiness.

it's the simplest math equation. you weren't supposed to think about it. that's why it was a timed test. school + good grades + college + smart decisions = joy.

i didn't study for the sat's. i told myself, if i don't know it by now, i'll never know it. minus. i didn't really research colleges. i just applied to jesuit ones because i liked the jesuit philosophy. minus. i majored in creative writing because i liked to write, and i didn't know what else i could do. minus. i didn't apply for a single scholarship before, or even during, my four years in college. minus.

during my years at seattle university, i heard a lot of people talk. professors, guest speakers, fellow students. the majority of them were white. it's a private school, what else could you expect? i'd listen to them talk and talk, and i'd usually keep quiet. i didn't really keep track of what i owed, until i graduated. i just knew it was a lot, and that i'd rather not think about it. i guess that's how the system works. don't let the poor know they're poor, until it's really too late.

i don't know what to think. i thought college would fix my negative attitude. i thought it would make me more forgiving, more understanding. i thought i'd become more aware of what's going on in the world, or i'd learn to write great stories, make lifelong friends, and do something of value, do something important. and i did get some of that. but i'm just not where i want to be, and i worry that i will never get there.

i can only think of what other people are doing. i can only listen to older people go on and on about so-and-so doing this and doing that. people just a little older than me who are now electrical engineers, lawyers, anesthesiologists, etc. people who've made their families proud, who have something to talk about when they're invited to family gatherings.

me, i could talk about the last short story i read, or else talk about the new sigur ros e.p. or how i feel like my only option in life is to go back to school and accrue more debt, or get some mind-numbing job (if i'm lucky). but, usually i have nothing to say.

because in life, like in school, i've learned to keep quiet.
list of pet peeves.

10) saying that someone or some band "defined a generation."

09) the phrase "get a bite to eat."

08) rubbing my bare foot against carpet, especially if it's old, worn carpet.

07) trying to use a pencil eraser when the pencil eraser is completely worn down.

06) the knowledge that i could, after taking a shower, get into bed and pull the covers over myself while i'm still soaked.

05) taking a nap and then waking up to a bad taste in my mouth.

04) burning my mouth while trying to eat food i already knew was hot.

03) assembling something and realizing i've forgotten a piece, so i have to start all over.

02) how, when watching a movie, or watching tv, my dad will turn the volume down when it gets loud, and then, realizing that he can no longer hear the dialogue, he turns it back up. then down again. then up.

01) violent bowel movements with no familiar restrooms in sight.
end of 2007 list.

the end of the year always inspires people to make lists. that's what pitchforkmedia says, anyway. so, i've decided to make my own list. it's called: the top 18 justifications for global terror.

(sidenote: big brother, if you're watching, please note that i'm being facetious.)

justifications:

18) gilmore girls ending on worst possible note.
i respected you once. what promise, what potential you had. namedropping bands like slint and the pixies. guest stars like sonic youth and yo la tengo. i had to defend you. but suddenly, unexpectedly, alexis bledel began acting with unwarranted arrogance. i don't know what happened to your show. i really don't.

17) deal or no deal.
the genius who starred in bobby's world degrades himself by hosting a game show that includes a bunch of suitcases, a silhouette of a "banker," and a whole slew of blank-staring playthings that stand next to the suitcases the whole time. someone get them some chairs, please.

16) licensed to wed.
mandy moore, you're done. robin williams, you're obviously on crack again. jim from the office, what were you thinking.

15) anna nicole's untimely demise.
dude, who the hell cares.

14) media's coverage of anna nicole's untimely demise.
you're worthless. especially you, msnbc.

13) eagles released first full studio album in 28 years.
don henley, you were never cool.

12) only one film starring anne hathaway all year.
what the shit, anne? washed up already? the only possible explanation is that you showed the goods too soon.

11) to catch a predator.
chris hansen lectures to sexual predators like he actually wants to learn something. in reality, he's putting guys behind bars so he can dominate the market.


10) record high number of foreclosed homes in northern california.
interest only? woo-hoo!

09) sacramento bee's continual reminder of foreclosures.
what are you whining about? less stops for your paperboys equals less pay.

08) jessica alba.
can you do a good movie? just once? and no, sin city doesn't count.

07) eddie vedder featured on into the wild soundtrack.
"socieeetyyyy, socieeetyyyy."

06) presidential debates.
more candidates, fewer solutions.







05) glenn beck.
god, you're an idiot. at least bill o'reilly can annoy me, make me feel nauseous. you can't even do that. i don't know what you do.

04) craigslist flakes.
it took me all year to sell my damn bike. and when i wanted to buy a taylor big baby acoustic guitar, this jerk said i could have it for $220, and then, at the last minute, he said his friend bought it from him. a few days later, he emailed me back and asked if i was still interested. i said yes, but i thought your friend bought it? he never replied. ass-clown.

03) indignation over michael richards' stand-up routine.
come on, you would've reacted the same way.

02) the real housewives of the o.c.
are citizens of the united states really that bored and depraved that they're willing to watch m.i.l.f. porn without the sex?

01) dane cook.
all hail the uber-douche.
letter to god
on xmas eve 2007.

dear god,

i have to say, i just don't get it. there are a lot of things i don't get, and i hardly know where to begin. i'll start with the whole jesus thing, since it is his birthday. now, from what i understand, you really sent him down to fix what adam and eve did? that's what my theology teacher, mr. caslin said, anyway. but what i don't get is why did you do that, if adam and eve was just a made up story? that's what my other theology teacher, father (i forget his name - he walked around like mr. burns on the simpsons) said. so this is what i understand: jesus comes down to die for our sins (and by the way, was that really necessary? isn't that what confessionals were created for?) and to make up for the original sin, the fall of man, all that stuff. but we still live in sin, and we still have to worry about going to hell - that's what all priests say - so what's the deal?

and if you're all knowing, why did your church get such a bad rap? why didn't you send those chi-mos and rapists head on with drunk drivers, or else give them pancreatic cancer before they could do their dirty deeds? i heard you're all-knowing, but you can't see into the future. what kind of a power is that?

mr. caslin also said you're agape, or "unconditional love." so, why all the wars and poverty and shit? were we like some bad reality show you could only watch for a few hundred years, and then you had to change the channel? if that's the case, then i do understand. i can't stand watching anderson cooper report what's going on for more than five minutes. i'd turn my back on humanity, too.

you must be pretty pissed at us. what with all the global warming, environmental waste, and overconsumption. if you're pissed, though, where's the punishment? come on, what happened in sodom & gomorrah was a joke compared to what we've been up to lately. i'm not trying to invoke your wrath or anything. i just don't like surprises, so if you're waiting to drop something huge on us, please give us some sort of warning. i wouldn't like it one bit if i had to wake up to a fire and brimstone shower.

there's a lot of non-believers among us, just so you know. i straddle the fence because if there is salvation, i'd like a piece of it. this girl amy once said, if you are in everything, then aren't you also in her bmw? please don't let her get into heaven.

would you really send people to hell if they didn't believe in you? it's pretty difficult when homes keep getting foreclosed, people keep shooting each other, and artists like james blunt are striking it rich. if you're all-forgiving, then why did you make hell, and why is lucifer down there? i once heard that the only real sin that could lead to hell is if we turned our back on you. can you confirm this? also, could you send us a list of everyone in hell, so we know what we should avoid? that would be helpful. i don't like to suffer, and i really wouldn't like it if it was for an eternity.

why did you give us free will? to make things more interesting? you should've just given all of us the ability to choose good and what's right. a lot of people argue that if you did that, life would be boring. i disagree; i'd like my world candy-coated.

i once heard this story: a man walked down the street and he saw another man penniless and suffering on the sidewalk. the man looked at the bum for a while and then he went home. he said to god, why don't you do something about this poor man, god? why don't you help him? to which god replied, i sent him help. i made you.

i don't really like that story. i think you should've helped the poor man in another way. someone who has to ask all these kinds of questions about you isn't much help now, is he?
how to fake smoking
in order to look cool.

the old bird pulled me away from the guests. she said, "come on, come on; let's talk." i looked at her, and then i said okay. i followed her outside. it was cold, and i could see my breath. "what's so important," i said. she reached into her purse and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. she took one out, stuck it between her lips, and reached deep into her pocket. then she looked at me. "want one?" "sure," i said, "i'll take one."

we sat there, smoking. i hadn't had one in years; it made my throat itch. i pretended like i knew what i was doing, and tried not to cough. the trick is, you don't really have to inhale. you can just suck it into your mouth and then blow it right back out. i did this.

"what's been your problem lately," she said. "what problem," i said, "there's no problem here." "yes, yes there is a problem," she said. "you've been acting like a real immature prick," she said. i was shocked. the old bird never really used words like that. "how have i been anything less than mature," i said. "oh, i don't know," she said, "maybe your constant refusal to join anything, or talk to anybody." "i'm here now, aren't i?" i said. she looked away, and blew out a lot of smoke. or maybe it just looked like a lot because it was so cold out.

the lights were flickering across the street. i could see a big tree in a window and wondered about the family that owned it. what was their mess like? what would the little boy grow up to be? what does the woman feel every morning she gets up? adventure? despair?

"look," she said, "i know it's tough. you did everything you were supposed to do, but life wasn't fair, was it?" i looked at her. her eyes were welling up, turning red. "you were a good kid," she said, "we always had high hopes for you. don't think we didn't." i looked at my cigarette. the ashes were piling up on the tip. i had nothing to say. "what do you think," she said, "what do you think it's like for me, for all of us? we did what we were told, too, you know. don't think you're so goddamned special or something." "i didn't say i was 'special,'" i said. "jesus," she said. "we didn't have half the opportunities and support you've had," she said.

"i don't know what to say," i said. "i thought there would be some kind of reward, or that i'd have something figured out by now," i said, "but i don't. i don't have a clue, or any answer, and i don't feel changed at all." "you don't have to feel 'changed,'" she said. "you don't have to feel a goddamn thing." she got up, and put her cigarette out on the cement. "this is life," she said. "the least you could do is pretend to be happy, at least for our sake." i watched her go back into the house.

i stayed out there for a little while. i smoked a little more, but this time, i inhaled some.

and then i went back inside.
drawing about hard times.
(episode 2)


drawing about hard times.
(episode 1)


dee pimp act.

i had this dream that i was at rich's house and the front door was wide open. i could see downtown sac, and for some reason it was kind of like an island. for some reason, i knew a meteor would come down and we were all doomed. and sure enough, it came down and a giant tidal wave came rushing in. i went into the room where we used to jam, closed the door, and i didn't mind. the water didn't get into the room, but instead flooded the hallway and the backyard. in a matter of minutes, it all subsided.

we used to go to the birdcage to watch cheap, shitty movies we would never pay full price for. we saw deep impact there. rich said, look at the title: it's dee pimp act.

i remember the last christmas i looked forward to. it must've been in high school or maybe earlier, and i left the oldies station on all night. i didn't really fall asleep. i had the light on and i just listened to carols on oldies 101.

i remember a time when i didn't think jimmy stewart was so corny, and how i would've liked to marry a girl like donna reed and make a living in a run-down house. i would never, never have three kids, though. or did they have four?

my mom used to take me to see a christmas carol every year. we stopped going maybe three years ago. it's the same story, i said. and she agreed.

i always wished it would snow here. then i reached an age where i realized it would be meteorologically impossible for that to happen.

i've gone sledding twice in my whole life. never skied, never snowboarded. skiing is a rich, white person's hobby, some people say.

i wanted to drink champagne one new year's when i was fourteen or fifteen. my mom said, no. i think i wanted to hang out with my friends, too, (but not really - i didn't really like them - it's just something you have to say when you're that age) but again, my mom said no. i got upset, went to uncle tim's room and watched chris rock's stand-up. then i didn't feel so bad.

i wish i had gone to see the fucking champs on new year's eve 2005. that would've been a great way to ring in the new year.

i've given up on trying to have a good new year's, i told my cousin. you can't give up now, he said. it's not like you're a hundred.
chain mail.


i just received a chain email from an old coworker/fellow volunteer, teri. i have to say, i really don't understand the purpose of chain mail. does it begin with one really bored person who wants to see how many people he can get to read some crappy thing he's written? why doesn't he just start a blog?

i always found the "bad luck" e-chains pretty funny. they actually include threats like, "if you don't do this, you will have bad luck for seven years." i remember reading some of those when i was younger. i wonder if my bad luck streak has ended, or if those e-chains just compounded. a lifetime of bad luck. why do people do it? i don't get it. are they really afraid of misfortune? does she really think that by forwarding this email to 7 other people, her 2008 year will be prosperous and eventful?

people who make e-chains should at least include something they want a bunch of people to see/read/hear. how about an embarrassing photo of oneself from junior high? how about a failed poem or unpublished story? how about an mp3 of an attempt to cover avril lavigne's "when you're gone?"

damnit. now i want to create an e-chain. if i do, i think i'll include the message:

"if you do not forward this to seven people, then those seven people won't be bothered with your lame emails."

man, it took me a while to come up with that. and it wasn't even good.
dude, who the hell cares.

i'm officially unemployed again. to my relief, randy announced last night that the project was over. on one hand, the job gave me a reason to leave the house. it was part-time, mindless, stress-free, provided zero to little interaction with the humanoids, and required no responsibility whatsoever. on the other hand, it was still work. i don't know what the difference was - i look at the computer screen all day, everyday, anyway. it's probably just a mental thing. i know that i can end this right now by clicking the "post" button, and find something else to do, whereas that job required me to sit still for a solid five hours, and didn't allow me to just walk away (even though i did, at least once to go home, and countless times to use the bathroom and/or get a drink). i guess it all just comes down to what philosopher constanza once said: "i don't think i've ever been to an appointment in my life where i wanted the other guy to show up."

being punctual, i think, at least for me, is the worst thing about working. and it's not even about being lazy, or having someone else dictate where i should be at what time (although i'm sure that's also part of the problem). for me, it's always wanting to just arrive precisely on the dot, and that almost never happens. i'm always too early, or else too late. i can never just arrive on the dot, and that's what i hate the most. and then i get so caught up in this petty workforce mentality that i swear at other drivers, get frustrated at every red light, and find myself panicked when i'm running just a little late. even if it's just for some shit job that i really don't give two shits about. i hate all work for the reason that it transforms people, makes them (us) think that what they're (we're) really doing matters, when, i'd say, 99% of the time, it really, really doesn't.

take my old supervisor, sister liane. how she would clench her teeth and suck in air each time she was worried something wouldn't work out. and each time, one could easily respond with, "dude. it's fucking americorps. who the hell cares?"

two team leaders contemplating for five minutes about whether the response: "the boy is doing chrumpit" should receive a 2 or a 0.

my old starbucks supervisor telling me i couldn't call in sick. "you have to call in before noon," she said. or else what? i wanted to say.

crystal hoobs stressing out over a young professionals meeting we were putting together at the american red cross. get it together, woman.

an irate customer at tower records: "what do you mean alicia keys' new album isn't out yet? i've seen it!" well, you should've fucking bought it when you saw it, sir. because it's not out yet.

every little glitch, every little mistake, or the simplest problem in any work situation, and it's catastrophic. it's the end of the world. even i get so wrapped up in it that i believe it myself sometimes.

idiots.

all of us.
i wouldn't pay for that.


last night's series finale of extras was flawless. it hit a little too close to home, though, especially when maggie breaks down at the carphone place and says, "i've wasted my life. i haven't been anywhere; i haven't done anything," etc. i didn't think the creators of the office would be able to outdo themselves, but they proved me wrong. and because the office and extras is so good, i have to confess something. i've already told a few people this, and their reactions weren't positive, but here it goes. i have to out myself:

i can't stand curb your enthusiasm.

there. i said it. the black man in the audience should've addressed larry david, too, when he said: "sein - feld! that's it!" maybe i just expected too much from larry david. maybe larry david is just too old to make petty, everyday problems entertaining. maybe i don't have a sense of humor anymore. whatever the case, there it is. i said it. and now i have to deal with the consequent alienation it may bring me.

our christmas tree tilts a little bit. my dad and i were never able to center it perfectly. my mom sometimes will walk by the tree and say, "pangit" (tagalog: "ugly"). i don't think it's so bad, though. just a little crooked.

we bought my dad a vest for christmas. he'll probably feign interest for a few minutes, and then decide to exchange later. he always does. it arrived by mail, and my mom pretended that it was a package for meagan. "you should've mailed it straight to meagan," she said. and then she motioned for me to be quiet. i hope that when i'm old that i'll still want to pretend about who christmas presents are really for.

no direction home has finally sparked my interest in woody guthrie. now i want the woody guthrie box set. the wanting never ends, does it.

i went to nia's 2nd birthday party yesterday at a place called bouncetown. i took off my shoes, bounced around, and went down some slides. when rich showed up, he said, "it smells like feet in here."

may was scared to go down the big slide, so we wondered where she was for some time. "where were you," we asked. "i got hella scared," she said. "two-year olds go down the slide," rich said. "you shut up," may said.

uncle mike and tita lorna were there. "no work today?" tita lorna said. "no, no work today," i said. underneath my sweater, i was wearing my microcosm shirt that says: i didn't go to work today, and i don't think i'll go tomorrow, either!

but i think i will go to work today. might as well. i'm not doing anything else.
the lights on agena court.

i was too lazy to write anything tonight, so i chose instead to listen to the sufjan stevens christmas box set. what a wonderful thing that is. it even comes with a songbook, so you can play along with the chords.

rich and i are going to watch the series finale/christmas special of extras tonight, so i don't have time even for a half-ass entry.

but, i hate nothing more than going to a job on monday morning with nothing to read, so, for those of you who read this blog as a means of avoiding actual work, here's a christmas story from two years ago called "the lights on agena court." both peter bacho and larry agreed it was a real "miss." $80,000 for me to find out my stories weren't any good. thanks a lot, college.

for those unfamiliar with agena court, it's a court in rosemont (a.k.a. "hoes-mont") that boasts a lavish display of unnecessary lights and over-the-top lawn decor every december. the following story was inspired by a solitary house on the court that, every year, refused to participate in the christmas orgy. the only explanation my family members could create was: "they're probably jews."

anyway, this story's got everything: awful metaphors, unrealistic characters, bland dialogue, you name it.

note: story & christmas greeting removed morning of january 28, 2008, for obvious reasons.
enough is enough.

this prompted me to write a letter: www.myspace.com/aroarah
they made the front page of the sacramento bee's "ticket" section.

dear chris,

i was just wondering if you had any theories about why sacramento's music "scene" (if you can call it that) is and has always been terrible. also, why do no decent bands ever play here? the last good acts that came through were sonic youth at the empire (july 3, 2006) and yo la tengo playing at harlow's in october of that same year. writer rachel leibrock even stated how the latter was able to sell out three nights in a row in s.f., but couldn't even sell enough tickets in sacramento to book the empire:

(http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/ticket/archives/004296.html)

even when they made the last minute switch to harlow's, the place was only "2/3 full." i think awful mainstream stations like kwod and 98 rock are to blame for this debacle. every time i turn on the station, they're still stuck in 1996, playing nirvana, soundgarden and sublime. when are they going to get over the grunge/alternative era and move on? that being said, i took a listen to aroarah, sunday's featured article in ticket, and i said enough was enough. i just had to write you. these girls aren't talented. they're merely regurgitating the same 90's mediocre rock that should've died off with the rest of those flannel-wearing assholes who sold out their "angst" by means of a half-step tuned down guitar, or else a drop-d tuning, topped off with a boss distortion pedal. how original. meanwhile, i'm forced to drive over 100 miles every time i want to see something of value like the arcade fire, or the magnetic fields, or explosions in the sky. what's the deal? look who's coming to town: blue man group, linkin park, celine dion. is this for real? this isn't ione, modesto, or redding - this is the goddamn capital. so when are going to see some decent live shows?

sincerely,
james
happy people dancing.

the two boys showed up at my door around 9. "we shouldn't hang out here," i said. "my mom's sleeping." "oh," he said. "my bad." "no problem," i said. "i'll just put on some pants and meet you at your house."

when i got outside, they were waiting inside his truck. "do you want to come with me, or will you drive there?" he asked. "i'll just drive," i said. "we'll meet you there, then," he said, and they laughed.

i mailed a letter.

i got there. he handed me a bag. "how much?" i asked. "eighteen," he said. "i'll make it twenty." "no, eighteen's good," he said. i wrote a check out for twenty.

"why isn't she here?" i asked. "because we're not together anymore," he said, and he sat down. "oh." i didn't know what else to say. i looked at his dogs.

"i didn't know you had dogs," i said. "what? these guys?" he said. "i've had these guys forever." "yeah," the other boy said, "he's had these dogs forever." "even in high school?" i asked. "yeah, even in high school," he said.

i took a seat at the table. i didn't wish to stay too long. but then again, i didn't go out much, so what difference did it make.

we watched the fourth quarter of the golden state/l.a. lakers game. the warriors made a comeback, and we were happy when baron davis sank a three. "you'll never see as many asians as you will at a golden state game," the boy said.

we sat around the television, we three asian boys.

"how's the job?" i asked. "it's cool. you know, same old stuff." "what about you?" the other boy asked me. "you still teaching?" he asked. "no, i said. i left after a week." he laughed a little. "what happened?" he asked. i told him about it. "so what do you do now?" "i grade tests," i said. "so you actually give grades?" he asked. "well, no, not really," i said, and then i explained. "man, that sucks," he said. the other boy agreed. we could all agree. we were off to a good start.

"i still have your books," the boy told me. "i have a lot of them." "did you read them?" i asked. "no," he said, and then he laughed. "i don't think i cracked a single page." "you should," i said. "you should read them. especially dante." "i've been looking at dante. i want to read dante," he said. the other boy spoke. "yeah, i heard dante was really, really good." "it is," i said, and i came to life like i hadn't come to life in years. i told them everything i could about the divine comedy. how dante is lost in a dark wood and how he goes through hell, and then through purgatory, before he finally reaches god.

"what is god like?" the boy asked me. "he was just light," i said. the boy nodded. "what else was in heaven?" he asked me. "there were all kinds of lights," i began. it was difficult to explain. it had been exactly two years since i had read it. "but i do remember all the virtuous people, and all the saints were there. and there was this circle of people, and they were all happy, and they were all dancing," i said. the boy stopped me. "whoa. i got kind of creeped out. just now, right when you said that," he said. "i got creeped out when you told me there were happy people dancing. i don't know why. i just got creeped out."

"who was in hell again?" the other boy asked me. "weren't there three people?" "yeah," i said, but i couldn't remember exactly. "one of them was judas," he told me. "yeah," i said, "that's right!" "and then there was the guy who betrayed caesar. brutus, right?" "yes! brutus," i said. "who was the third person?" he asked me. "lucifer," i said. "oh yeah," he said. "lucifer. "who was lucifer again?" the other boy asked me. "lucifer led the revolution against god," i told him. "oh yeah," he said. "the holy war against god. i remember that."

"i've always wanted to read dante," the boy said, "but i just could never get it. i didn't know what the fuck was going on." "i know," i said. "it's pretty rough. i wouldn't have gotten it had i not taken a class on it. but even after taking the class, there's still probably 80% of the text which i still don't understand." "he must've been a pretty smart guy." "more than smart," i said, "he was more than human. the shit he describes is so real, it almost makes you believe that he actually had to have gone through it." i was getting excited. "the craziest part was that he had to memorize the whole thing while wandering the wilderness in italy. he was exiled." "what do you mean 'exiled?'" the boy asked. "there was some sort of political strife going on at the time, and he didn't support the right party, so they said he couldn't come back to florence. he couldn't even see his family again."

they wanted to know more, so i told them everything i could on the subject. i wished that i had known more because i just wanted to keep talking about dante. "even my professor said he'd read the trilogy seventeen, eighteen times, and he would still find parts of it where even he had no idea what was going on," i said. "you have to be really intelligent to get it," the boy said. "no," i said. "you can understand it, but if you want to know all the references and everything, you would have to know greek literature, the bible, and even italian history would help." "you could probably spend," the boy began, but i finished his sentence for him: "you could spend the remaining years of your life reading those three books," i said. and then i added, "and it would be worth it."

i told him the story about father rowan meeting an old student of his, and how the student told father rowan that he spent all day contemplating the paradiso. "man," the boy said. "that's crazy. it must've ruined him," he said. "he was so into it that he couldn't do anything else," i said.

i told them how it was mathematically perfect. how each book contained exactly 33 chapters and how each chapter contained 33 verses, and, to top it all off, all the verses fucking rhymed. the exception was, of course, the inferno, whose first chapter contains his wandering through the dark wood, and where he meets virgil. the entire scene serves as both an introduction and a metaphor for the entire journey he will soon encounter. i didn't know what this meant, or how to properly explain it. it brings the trilogy to an even 100 chapters.

we moved on to other things. who's doing what these days, who got married, who will we be voting for, what books we've read, what movies we've seen, what music we've been listening to.

the boy got up to let his dog outside. when he came back in, i couldn't help myself. "so, what happened?" i asked. "it just wasn't working," he said. "i think living together killed it." i nodded. "yeah," i said. "it's tough." the boy sat back down. "i just felt like i was...married." the other boy spoke. "i don't know what that's like," he said. "but i can imagine." "did you end it?" i asked. he nodded. "yeah. after two years, i should've done it," he said. "i shouldn't have waited so long. to tell you the truth," he said, "i don't think i'll ever get married." he rested his head on his hand, and then he looked at the t.v. "i just don't think i can...live with a girl." "hmm," i said. i tried to be supportive. "yeah, i don't get people our age who get married," i said. "i just don't know how that works," i said. "you know, i wish them the best," he said, "but it just wouldn't work for me."

the other boy spoke. "you know, my parents got married when they were 20 and 18. back in the day, that's what people did, all the time." "yeah," i said. "that's how they did things back then. i just don't know how that works now." "i don't know," the boy said. "our generation,"
he said. "our generation just can't get it together."

after some time, i said it was getting late, and that i'd better go. "what are you doing tomorrow?" he asked. "i don't know," i said. "i might go to work." "might," he repeated, and then he laughed.

we walked out into the cold, and we said goodbye.
civil rights is one thing,
but this is something else.


i just finished watching guess who's coming to dinner. i finally know what dr. smith was going on and on about all those years. it takes place in 1960's san francisco, and spencer tracy threw down like no other in the very last scene. word on the street is that he died six days later. he went out on a high note. katherine houghton's character is a bit naive, and hardheaded, but generally sweet and idealistic. i think that's where we're supposed to sympathize. katherine hepburn overacts a bit, and i'll bet she was intimidating in real life, but other than that, she keeps the story moving. my favorite character, though, by far, is the random delivery boy who dances his way to the door, delivers the steak, picks up dorothy, and then dances back to his van along with her. if i could find a job that could keep me swinging like that all day, everyday, i wouldn't see any reason to ever leave it.
the post office has been stolen.

last night while listening to blonde on blonde, i decided i wasn't going to do anything today. i really wanted to listen to bob all day, the entire box set, close the door, and be completely irresponsible. i was supposed to meet this guy on craigslist about an acoustic guitar; i was supposed to meet the principal of will c. wood middle school for a job interview; and i was supposed to go to work tonight. but, i said, fuck it. that's what bob would've done. my impression of young dylan is that he really didn't feel obligated to anyone or anything. everyone tried to make him the mouthpiece for the liberal left, or else mold him into some folk superstar. but he wasn't having any of it. he would write whatever he wanted, sing whatever and whenever he wanted, and he wouldn't answer any stupid questions like, "what are your songs about?" "why do you sing?" "can i see your left fingertips?" i find his refusal to accept, and overall confusion about societal norms and expectations to be both amusing and inspiring. i finally see why so many people listen to his music all the time.

and don't worry - i called all three to let them know i wasn't going to be able make it today. but i haven't made it through the whole box set yet.

on the other hand, there's time enough at last.
memory almost full.

yes, that is the title of paul mccartney's new album, but this entry has nothing to do with paul mccartney. rather, it has to do with thoughts that i had when i woke up this morning, but was too lazy and stuffed up to get out of bed and write them down. so, i'll try to recapture what i thought was eloquent at 7:35 in the a.m.

i'm going to be 25, and i'm afraid. it's not the usual fear that i haven't accomplished anything with my life, or that i'm unfit for any line of work, or that i have completely forgotten how to make friends. it's just the fear that so much has happened, and that my memory feels full. like if i have any more experiences, or watch any more movies, or read anymore books, i'll just explode. this plethora of information, of images, sights, and sounds - what are we supposed to do with them all? where does it all go?

i lay in bed this morning, thinking about these things. some of them were big, some of them weren't. but i remember a lot, and i dwell on them a lot. like how stephanie tanner lost the spelling bee to the asian kid because she forgot that there's a silent "r" in sarsaparilla. or those times in early summer when the air conditioner would buzz, and we'd all gather around to watch the playoffs, and think and hope that this year, maybe this year, the knicks could go all the way. but, of course, patrick ewing couldn't make those damn free throws. how the filipino women would give me free lumpia and barbecue at the school fair. how claire and i won second place for designing a poster for the book fair (i still think we should've won first). the way we drove down through the mountains to gilroy in the spring, and all the foliage looked spectacular. how i saw snow fall for the first time, while i was a freshman in seattle, and everyone ran outside screaming, "it's snowing!" and we had snowball fights, and people created giant snowmen and giant penises. the smell of alcohol on my uncles' breath every new year.

i remember how, on christmas eve, when i was five, i swore that i heard bells in our living room, but i was too frightened to meet the man himself. how i had the thought that because so many people believed in santa, or god, that they had to be real. i remember when i first learned santa wasn't real because having the same exact handwriting as my mother's was just too coincidental, and even at six years old, i wasn't buying it.

how in driver's ed, for a full week, i stared and stared at the girl in front of me, a girl named heidi, who had shiny brown hair, and soft pale skin, and i'd visualize the perfect conversation starter - i'd come up with something clever, like, "i was wondering, when, or, if, i get my license, do you think you'd like to go out with me?" but because i had acne and poor social skills, this fantasy never materialized.

how, after 9/11, my grandma was terribly upset, and said to me, just before i left for college, "don't trust anyone." it wasn't how i wished to remember her. but just before she died, she told me, "take care." i chose, instead, to remember her the way i did in a dream, where she spoke the mysterious phrase, "you keep it alive." i didn't know, and i don't know what it means. what am i supposed to keep alive?

i remember working at big 5. and sleepovers at alex nichols' house, when he'd always put on the shittiest movies like ernest goes to camp, or else ernest goes to jail. how i went to yosemite for the first time, and i was excited to stay in a room that had stairs. and how i ran down those stairs, pretending i was filming the introduction of some sitcom. how i had to use the bathroom right before mogwai took the stage, and i couldn't be in the very front anymore. i remember playing football in the house, and uncle tim falling through the glass table, shattering it. i thought he would die, and i was frightened to touch him. how i took my one and only swimming lesson at the age of 4. they told us to plug our noses and dive underwater. i must've pressed too hard because my nose bled, and my dad took me home. "that's it!" my mom yelled. "he was there for five minutes! i wasted twenty dollars on that lesson!"

baseball card shows and pogs. remember pogs? what were we thinking? i remember after the first gulf war, how i learned that "we" were bombing the iraqis "'round the clock." and then we played nerf basketball, dunking the ball as many times as we could, all the while saying, "round the clock bombing."

my aunt would take me to the movies. she took me to see peggy sue got married, and i had no clue what was going on. she took me to see problem child and problem child 2. i don't know why she did that.

at the age of four or five, i saw a tiny lily tomlin sitting in a big rocking chair, and i turned off the tv. i was ghost-white. "what's wrong?" my mom asked. "what's wrong?" to this day, i still can't watch the incredible shrinking woman.

after our first "gig" with the crew, we regrouped in the driveway, hating what had just happened. "it's not a big deal," i kept saying. "who cares, it's not a big deal." "right," george said. "then why are you getting so upset."

the last time i talked to pete. how i drove him home, and he said, "why can't you just accept people the way they are. people are fucked up, and people are stupid. why can't you just accept that they're stupid. that we're stupid." he was drunk, and i didn't hear from him again.

aldo and i walked out of the eighth grade dance into the parking lot, waiting for our rides. and how our teacher, mrs. clark, came out to fetch us. "aren't you going to say your 'goodbyes,'" she said. "you're never going to see them again." when she turned around, i gave a casual shrug to be funny. we walked back inside, though, children that we were, but we didn't say anything.

during our senior year at jesuit, eduardo, brian, and i tried to leave a jesuit dance early. ms. sheldon caught us. "what do you guys think you're doing?" she said. eduardo was the first to speak. "we were just going to go home. we're having a terrible time." "well, i'm having a terrible time, too," ms. sheldon said. "you guys got a day." and by 'a day,' she meant detention.

when lolo died, uncle hennessey took us to burger king across the street and bought us milkshakes. i had a vanilla one. at the wake, i didn't know what to do, so i started crying. "are you crying because you're sad, or because everyone else is crying?" my mom asked me. i looked up at her. through the tears, i said i didn't know.

i remember going to disneyworld, and going on some ride that really wasn't a ride. just a people-mover type of thing. but we started going up and up, and i thought we were going to drop, but we didn't.

i've always been afraid of rides. i remember tita bubut taking me to the state fair, and how we were just about to get on the monorail. and every time we got in line, i said i had to go to the bathroom, but once i got to the bathroom, i didn't have to go. she kept paying for the tickets to ride the monorail, but we never got on. i still feel really bad about that. but at least i know i have this abnormal fear of rides.

it might have something to do with recurring dreams about riding on a train or a car to reno. every time i had this dream, we'd be really high up in the mountains, and then something would go wrong, like we'd go over a cliff, or the ground would just give out from underneath us, and we'd just fall and fall and fall, until i'd hit the ground and wake up. i learned later that it had something to do with growing.

on easter morning, how i chucked a hardboiled egg at byron. i didn't even think it would hit him, but unlucky for him, unlucky for me, it did. right in the temple. and then i found him crying behind the house later that day.

confessing to priests, and how i never liked it, but found it completely necessary. i went to the young filipino priest and told him how i stole some baseball cards and watched movies i knew i wasn't supposed to be watching. he told me not to worry about the baseball cards, but just to make sure it didn't turn into something serious later, like lifting cars. i don't remember what he said about the movies. my mom said he became a cross-dresser, and took his own life. i don't know how the two things connect. that catholic guilt, probably.

i read kate fuller's myspace profile, and how i thought the coolest thing about her profile was that in her "about me" section, she wrote, "born a century too late."

when i worked at tower, i felt like i had friends for the first time. nerdy boys that liked to stand around, watch the girls, talk about music, and feel vastly superior to the majority of customers.

going to pasco and getting my car washed for free. meagan's mom had a coupon.

sam exploded once when we were putting together his train set. i don't know what happened. that kid just went off. it was kind of funny, though.

michael galinato got really pissed off when i accidentally hit him with a soaked nerf football. he walked right up to me, and slammed the thing in my face. my nose bled. it was the only time i've ever really been hit.

the way jacob and cody talked about bob dylan in father leigh's class. "i don't like dylan," cody said. "he's too jewish."

after sophomore year, i showed up to an end of the year party at some guy's house that toby dragged me to. laura showed up, and we said "hi" to each other. there was nothing to say after that.

the first time i set foot in amoeba. or when rich and i discovered easy street. how tiffany and i tried to go see pretty girls make graves without inviting mary. how i saw meagan and emily at that show.

joseph and i having a race in the middle of the night. the loser had to finish the rest of the tequila. i beat him by a lot. i didn't have to drink. how dong told me over im, "did you hear what happened to joe?" and i didn't know what to say, or do.

i told alejandro that i couldn't pass a certain level in medal of honor 2, and his advice was: "you just need to go in there, and you need to kill all those nazi motherfuckers!" that same day, i beat the level.

when alex o'hara made the a-team, and he didn't even have to try out. we were all pretty upset about that.

tiffany and rebecca drove to blockbuster, and they said, "we need to make a statement," and their statement was that they would take up two or more parking spaces with becca's car. we rented the shining.

at the santa cruz beach boardwalk, i tried to win my girlfriend a chucky pin because of a story she told me about a doll she got that looked like chucky. it turned out she didn't want me to win her the pin; she just wanted to eat.

on new years' eve, or maybe it was christmas, rich, claire, and i piled into the truck. "parang mexicanos," someone said. maybe it was me. we drove to byron's, and we played board games late into the evening. after a few hours, i told them i should be getting home. i had to wake up early and take a flight back to seattle. "it's still early, come on, man," rich said. "you're not gonna do anything - you'll just be sitting in the airport. stay a while." i said i couldn't. "weaksauce," claire said. i wish i had stayed a little longer.

the first time i knew i liked girls was in preschool. this little girl named angela was carrying a tray full of fake kitchen supplies, and i got in her way. we smiled at each other, and that's all i remember about her.

getting worried that i might not get into college. lmu and santa clara turned me down. "you should've tried harder on your SAT's and done more activities," my mom said. it almost felt like a threat. weeks later, seattle u accepted me. i don't know what might've happened if they didn't.

calling in during batman, trying to win the coveted bat book. lines were always busy; no one ever got through.

watching home alone in the front row with all my cousins. and the week after, how alicia said, "wasn't it hilarious?" all i could think was, are second graders allowed to use words like "hilarious?"

junior retreat when marty sevilla said, "did you go to confession?" i told him i couldn't. that i couldn't handle it. not now, anyway.

during kairos, most boys cried, but i didn't. this is just temporary, i told myself. there's no reason to cry. it's only temporary. i had seen the breakfast club. i knew how these kinds of things ended.

bridget wanted to treat me to vegan scone, or maybe it was a muffin. i really needed that scone or muffin then. i really needed someone to talk to, and be around.

tiffany told me how her roommate got a bunch of c's. "i don't know how you could get a 'c' at seattle u," i said. "you really have to not try." when i got to my room to check my grades, i got a c in dr. earenfight's history class.

those walks meagan and i would take from art history class back to bellarmine, and how i wished the road was longer, narrower.

waking up to my dad playing his beatles records. he was always listening to the beatles.

those epic drives to los angeles. the last time i saw rianne, she was with her friend, and they were watching an episode of punky brewster. we didn't speak. and another time we got to LA, someone was watching bill & ted's excellent adventure on a big screen tv. it was the first time i saw it, and i thought it was a great film.

my mom waiting with me in dr. dentinger's office. how he was a giant of a man, spoke with a deep, no-nonsense kind of voice, and put cold medical devices in my ears and on my chest. i hated going to see him. we could always hear his footsteps right outside the room, and i would dread those footsteps. the loud banging of the big, black boots he would wear.

i left my lights on after mary and i saw kill bill.

i danced (if you can call it that) with bree, anna, and toby on my 21st birthday.

i looked unhappy at an electroclash show at the emp and this girl said to me, "you look bored." "i always look this way," i said. "you smell like vodka," she said. then she walked away.

after a mirah show, anna sarcastically said to me, "you looked like you were having a good time." i remembered that i was sitting down the whole time, my head hung low. i really did have a good time, though, and mirah was awesome, so i felt i had to say something. mary defended me. "he's always like that," she said. "yeah," i said, "i actually had a really good time." "then what do you do when you're not having a good time?" anna asked. "i just leave," i said.

at a rage against the machine show, this guy came up to me, pointed at these three girls dancing in front of me, and he said, "hey, foo. you wanna get right there?" i said, no, and that i was alright.

this, i think, is enough for tonight. they're just a bunch of scrambled memories that i don't know what to do with. all i can do is write them down, and hope that they have some kind of meaning for myself, or for anyone else. i'm trying not to be so scrambled. i really am having a good time.

it's just that...

well, patrick ewing, make your goddamn free throws.
don't swear, don't throw rocks, don't smoke.


8 women is a great french film. augustine is my favorite. the neurotic, virgin aunt who's always irritable, but loving. isabelle huppert does a fantastic job. the first time i saw it was in my french class at seattle u. i sat in the front, and i was shocked when ludivine sangier broke out into the first number. she was doing what i call "the chicken dance" and i was kind of embarassed for her because she looked so stupid doing it. but then, the song was really catchy, and i realized that ludivine sangier was really cool, so it didn't matter what the hell she did on, or off screen.

i really got into french films after seeing amelie. everything just looked so much better there. all the colorful wallpaper, the old buildings, and the wine drinking, and the joviality of it all. bon vivant, i think, is the proper term. i always wanted to be a bon vivant. so there was a point where all i watched were french films, both new and old: la femme nikita, delicatessen, city of lost children, a very long engagement, belle du jour, les parapluies de cherbourg (the umbrellas of cherbourg), dirty pretty things, etc. i liked the way they talked, the way they dressed, the intricate plot lines and absurdity found in their films.

so i took a year of french, hoping i could somehow be a part of this lifestyle, this culture. but it was a stretch, i knew it, and i never really practiced the language.

still, i'd like to visit one day.
slip 'n slide.


one time our uncle ron, or someone, bought a slip 'n slide for a birthday party. having no understanding of physics, i thought i could just sit on the thing and go. i got on it, and inched forward. i was waiting for it to propel me forward, the way things happen on a regular slide. "you have to run and fall down on it," someone told me. i took that person's advice, but still, i couldn't slide all the way down the damn thing the way those white boys did on the commercial. if i remember correctly, no one could - the farthest each person could go was maybe five, ten feet. the adults speculated as to why it wasn't working. "maybe it needs to be on a hill," "maybe we need more water," "maybe the lawn isn't smooth enough." maybe the thing was a piece of crap.
christmas pageant vomit.

in the second grade, during our school's annual christmas pageant, alex nichols vomited while the third graders sang a christmas carol. not everyone noticed, so most of them kept singing, while the rest of us slowly inched away from the steaming pile of throw-up. i only remember christine galinato's expression, how her face soured, and how i knew she wanted to run off the platform, but didn't. i got the stomach flu after that. i remember the precise moment it hit me, too. i was sitting in the back of my dad's van (in the very back - where it was dangerous to sit), and i was eating pink and white sprinkled animal crackers. as i put maybe the twelfth one into my mouth, this nauseating feeling came over me. and then i remembered the vomit, which made it even worse.

i was out sick with the stomach flu for two weeks, and i thought i was going to die. that was it for me, was all i could think. no more cartoons, no more soccer games. i was pissed. my mom called the school to tell vicky that i would be absent, and vicky said only 13 kids in my class showed up. to this day, i still wonder if they all got sick, too. for those two weeks, my entire diet consisted of water and seven-up. and then finally, after two weeks, my mom brought me my favorite meal - a burrito supreme from taco bell - and i ate half of it slowly, worried that i would throw up again. i didn't. i was cured. i was going to live after all.

i think i stayed away from pink and white animal crackers for a good while after that. i really hate to vomit.

i remember pageants well. how we sang "away in a manger" in kindergarten, and how we hand-signed "silent night" in later years. how we all had to dress up, comb our hair, and walk in a straight line. it really wasn't fun. i liked watching everyone else sing, but when it was our class' turn to get up there, i was always ready to shit my pants or pass out. i didn't like all the bright lights shining on me, or all the eyes watching me. i didn't like that we had to stand so close together. our collective nervousness was overwhelming.

we made decorations, too. a little chorus boy created from a hollowed out gourd. a little santa face from an empty glass jar.

my favorite decoration, though, is from kindergarten. or maybe it was even preschool. it's the lid of a can that i put glue and glitter on, and then stuck a snowman sticker in the center. i think it says 1987 on the back.

i don't know why i remember these things.
'tis the season of consuming.

i don't really know who to support anymore. i used to think that supporting your local record store was a good idea, but now i don't really care. after tower died, there wasn't much point. i don't really care if dimple sinks or swims when tower, tone vendor, manic music (previously penny lane), warehouse, tower outlet, and countless others have closed down. yes, amazon, we surrender.

grading those tests last week made me think a lot about how it doesn't really matter what you think. after all, according to professor tripp, "most people don't think." it was funny how everyone had all these solutions on how to fix our youth. "our youth are too fat - they need more exercise!" one would write. and then, another: "our youth face severe eating disorders! bulimia, anorexia - these are our children's biggest problems!" "our kids today are spending too much time indoors, watching their internet pornography and playing countless hours of video games," one would write; and then, the other: "our children are out in society, unsupervised, while the drug dealers and gang leaders are introducing them to a criminal lifestyle."

and then others would write long-winded, detailed accounts about how shows like the real world or the hills were misleading our nation's children into thinking that casual, pre-marital, unprotected sex was an okay thing to do. while i see nothing wrong with this line of thought, it was just funny to see how they could also name the network on which these shows air, and sometimes they'd even list the names of characters and events that took place. and then they'd criticize the show as "morally reprehensible" and "utterly unacceptable." i'm sure they all went home to watch pbs or democracy now after they took the test.

i don't know what i'm trying to say. i guess i don't really see the point of going to stores with young, unhappy clerks ringing me up. buying nothing is obviously the answer, but because of societal norms and expectations, it's not really an option, is it? you have to live among the humanoids, and you have to play the game.

so i went to dimple, and i bought some presents. (does anyone else have these internal dialogues whenever she/he wants to simply do something like go to the store and buy a damn christmas present, or does the majority of the population have a simple off-switch they flip when they're about to hand over the plastic? whatever the case, it's annoying, and sometimes i wish i had an off-switch.) nothing much exciting happened. i talked to david again. "i heard you're working with gina now," he said. "how is that?" "it's, umm. pretty awful," i said. i told him what i do, and he agreed it sounded awful. "i heard some tower people are working at r5 now," he said. "yeah," i told him, "christina and adam are there." he shook his head. "that's...really, really sad," he said, as he opened a box of new cds for receiving.

i went to target to buy my mom's gifts. there were hardly any spaces for parking, and there were a lot of people inside. and this was around noon on a tuesday. don't these people have jobs? after i got her presents, i went to the bike section, and looked at a schwinn pump. hmm, i thought. i could buy this, pump my tires, and then return it. but it sounded like too much work, so i'll just have flat tires for the rest of winter.

in target, a white girl was with an old asian woman. the white girl was talking on her cell phone. when she got off, she told the old asian woman something about a change of flight plans. i wanted to ask, what are you doing with this old asian woman, you young white girl? are you volunteering? i didn't ask.

another white girl named katherine rang me up. i like to look at people's name tags because you don't very often get to ask someone what his/her name is without a follow-up question, or an actual conversation. a simple name tag gives me this: katherine works at target, and she doesn't seem too thrilled about it. katherine will most likely go to college, get herself a degree, and then she will find something she enjoys more than working at target.

i hope that much for katherine.
just throw it all in the dumpster.

today i took all the plastic bottles to the recycling plant, and it wasn't even worth the trip. i made $5.37 for a trunk full of bottles and a few cans. i had to wait in line, and when i unloaded my junk, i realized there were a few cans in there. "you have cans?" the worker asked. "yeah," i said. "where are they?" i pointed at the conveyor belt. "oh, inside. great," he said.

people at the recycling plant are poor and dirty, except for the college kids who come in with their tubs full of beer cans. i can't believe how much beer people drink. there are some good beers out there, but i saw a lot of coors light and steel reserve cans. what a waste of money.

when i got home, i told my parents how much we got. "that's it!" my dad said. "next time, just throw it all in the dumpster." i've tried to convince him for months now to stop buying plastic bottles, and i make an effort not to drink from the plastic bottles. lewis black did a bit on plastic bottles, and i thought my dad would stop buying, but sure enough, he came back with two new packages a few days later. lewis black says, why do people give their money to coke and pepsi for a product that they can get free all the time. why do we go out searching the way our ancestors did for a commodity that's within our reach.

i remember my econ class in high school, and mr. barsanti asked us what evian was. privileged, unquestioning boys that we were, we all shrugged. "naive spelled backwards," he said. when he told us that plastic bottles were stupid, a few boys challenged him and talked about how bottled water tastes better, fresher. everyone should know by now that this is all bullshit. take it from someone who drinks 60+ oz. a day. joey mislang piped up, too: "you could get lead poisioning, and other things if you drink tap!" mr. barsanti laughed at us, and then he called us a bunch of babies. that's how you teach.

i woke up with a headache, and my nose has been running all day. but i'll still go to work.

it's almost over, anyway.
larry is bakla.

during lunch, i noticed my dad's hair is thinning. "kalbo," i said (tagalog for bald). "do you know why he's kalbo?" my mom asked. from this point on, she spoke in tagalog, which made it that much funnier. "when he was working at the store, he would be reading the paper, and larry would curl his hair." for readers unfamiliar with larry, he was a filipino friend of the family, who also happened to be a gay hairstylist. "lolo got mad at him," she continued. "there were two big lumberjack-looking guys who came into the store, and there was pop, sitting in a chair, reading the paper with pink curlers in his hair." at this point, mom and i were laughing so hard, we were crying and we couldn't finish our lunch. my dad sat there, grinning. "he was sitting there, reading the paper, and he had curlers in his hair. larry was curling his hair! and the curlers were pink!"

back in the seventies, my dad looked like the guitarist from bread, with long, black hair, feathered and curly. he also wore long, buttoned-down t-shirts and the tightest pants you could imagine. he was a rock star - no doubt about that - i just didn't know larry would sometimes do his hair.

"god rest his soul," mom said, "but larry really didn't know what he was doing."
the epitome of a white supremacist,
patriarchal, nationalist, capitalist society.

when i saw bell hooks talk at seattle university, she kept repeating the title of this blog entry. i'm pretty sure it's not in the right order, but you get the point. anyway, she was preaching to the choir about how our country is screwed, how the average american is delusional, and how we're all more or less (in the words of godspeed! you black emperor) "trapped in the belly of this horrible machine and the machine is bleeding to death." needless to say, some folk in the crowd needed to hear it, but it was by no means uplifting.

the funniest thing, though, and the reason i need to talk about it, is because that night, she specifically targeted j. crew as the epitome of a white supremacist, patriarchal, nationalist, capitalist society. the reason i found this funny was because i was sitting in front, and i had on my j. crew vintage aviator leather jacket.

i know, i know. i have to explain. i never bought anything from j. crew before. meagan liked going to the store, and normally, i would barely look around, picking up price tags now and then to see how much they were charging for a t-shirt, a tie, a pair of pants, etc. the thing was, i hated all my clothes. especially things i got from old navy. i shopped there occasionally because it was cheap. but then, usually a few days later, i would look at how cheap the fabric was, and how poorly designed it was, and how stupid i looked in that polo shirt, or that windbreaker, and i'd regret that i had purchased it in the first place. tired of looking and dressing like i was still sixteen, i decided that i needed more grown up clothes.

i didn't buy the jacket right away. i get buyer's remorse easily, so pretty much every time i want something, i do the more wasteful, unhealthy thing, which is to leave the store thinking about whether or not i should've bought the damn thing in the first place, and then i dwell on it for a long time, and eventually, if i'm still thinking about it, i go back to the store and buy it. i repeat this process with everything: books, records, clothes.

so i had just seen the motorcycle diaries, and i wanted to look cool. what a lame reason, but that's really the only way of explaining my irrationality. i should also mention that seattle gets really, really fucking cold during the winter, and i was covering myself with weak track jackets and wind breakers. meagan told me i needed a new coat, and she said that it would last me a long time. now the worst part about all of this is that i was a vegetarian at the time, and in addition to that, i had a subscription to adbusters. still, i looked at the damn thing, i looked at the price tag, i tried it on, and soon, i realized that it was the greatest thing i had ever put on.

so i bought it.

i'll have to admit now, and meagan's called me on this, that i tried to never wear it whenever i knew i'd be working with allison, the only other vegetarian in the writing center. i didn't know how to explain purchasing a brand new leather coat from j. crew, while at the same time, being a vegetarian and writing essays about how capitalism is the root of all evil.

i still wear the jacket. in it, i am invincible. it's kept me warm on two winter trips to d.c., and the insulation is amazing. it's a struggle, though. i don't like to buy/own anything expensive because my clumsiness and neglect always leads me to ruin things. but, because of my easily-triggered buyer's remorse, i opt to buy a few expensive goods rather than a crap-load of cheaper things. the guilt of buying something so expensive steers me away from shopping for long periods of time. i would still prefer to find decent clothes from thrift stores, but sometimes i'm just too lazy to pilfer through all the crap. that's when, once in a blue moon, you might find me at a j. crew. when they run out of something, they don't bother trying to revive it. i think that's how all clothing stores should operate.

i'm not delusional. i know more than likely that j. crew has some evil practices, and probably runs a few sweatshops, and yes, their catalogs do epitomize a white supremacist, patriarchal, nationalist, capitalist society
. but shit, what are you gonna do?

at some point, you still have to walk into the cold.

dad would throw the garbage
all across the floor.

well, the cbests are finally done. be afraid of college graduates' writing capabilities. be very afraid. i had to fail more people with kids. one of them talked about how she had four kids. another woman wrote about how she got pregnant at 16, and now her son is 22. i gave her a 2. i felt really bad.

yesterday, i went home early because i was tired, and because i wanted to write "just filling up." it was better in my mind. in my mind.

i called in sick to ctb. in all fairness, it was legit, since i was feeling great discomfort where i usually feel discomfort, probably from all that sitting. i spent the latter half of the day grading cbests while standing. i'll probably need 500 mg of cipro again to clear it up. $75 without insurance. piece of shit healthcare system.

the dark-skinned brother talked to me today. he stopped me by the doorway, and pulled me aside. "you know," he said, "with all these people in walkers, and everyone here being retired, it's nice to see a breath of fresh air like yourself here." i wanted to tell him that i was actually very old and very senile, but i maintained my youthful look by eating oranges and exercising. but you know, i can never speak what my head tells me to. i could've fooled him, though, had i worn my cardigans and newsboy hat, and carried around my pocketwatch. "i just had to pull you aside, though," he said, "and ask why you're here, and not out there working." i told him about mather youth, and as i did, i realized i was really tired of telling that story. especially when i have to repeat the phrase "expelled/suspended students." maybe i should start making something up, like how i was smoking crack in the girls' locker room, and i was fired. ronald was a schoolteacher in oakland for 17 years. he's a good brother.

i fell asleep from 5 - 9 and watched the chappelle show with my mom. i like that she can barely understand what he says, but she still finds the show funny.

i listened to plans in the car. i don't hate that album as much as i thought i did.

i want to cover "chicago" and "king of carrot flowers, pt. 1" in my best, whispering yo la tengo-inspired voice. the thing is, i love to sing, but the sound of my own voice makes me cringe.

just another thing i have to deal with.