Archive | June, 2011

Seizing the NOW

30 Jun

So 1960 and late?

Growing up, my parents kept the radio dial permanently tuned to the oldies station. Even when I eventually realized that the Temptations and Marvin Gaye were not contemporary artists, I willingly conceded all radio rights. The reason was two-fold. First of all, I actually liked oldies music. More importantly though, I didn’t want to explain to Mom and Dad the meaning of “my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard,” partly because I myself wasn’t exactly clear about the definition.

My world crashed when a classmate told me, “Oldies are lame. I listen to ‘newies.'” His harsh but clever words pulled at my insecurities, attacking my fragile adolescent psyche. I decided to seek out the latest hits in order to survive the 5th grade. Without the radio, I was forced to rely on other sources: Fox Family’s Sunday morning video countdowns and of course, “Now That’s What I Call Music” (NOW) CDs.

In case you’re unfamiliar, NOW CDs are compilations of the latest chart-toppers. Not only did these babies provided me with endless hours of listening entertainment, but with the help of my portable CD player, they also allowed me to pose as a sulky, angsty preteen.

Aaron C.'s in the house. Here we go!

Years later, I rediscovered my NOW CDs (Volume 4-10)  on a weekend trip home from college. After listening to Aaron Carter on repeat, I decided to bring my collection back to school with me. (I planned to use the music to accompany a party, an “Aaron’s Party,” if you will.) I forgot to unpack my CD case from my backpack, and when I found it during my morning lecture, I excitedly showed the CDs off to a classmate. I mean, who wouldn’t brag about a NOW collection? When I returned home, my CDs were nowhere to be seen. Devastated, I tried to find them. I frantically tore through my backpack. I retraced my steps back to the lecture hall. I even mass e-mailed my class. All was in vain.

That was then, this is NOW (HA!). To this day, I’m convinced that one of my classmates kept the collection, either out of sheer musical appreciation or to play mind games with me. I find the latter theory more compelling. The class was notoriously competitive, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of my classmates engaged in emotional terrorism. However, years have passed and I was on the road to recovery. This was until a few months ago when my insensitive friend and classmate, Angela had the gall to remind me of my loss by forwarding me this e-mail:

Please take note of my inarticulate babbling at the end of the e-mail. Can't you read the shamelessness? The desperation?

The Weedle Position

27 Jun

The world is a frightening place. I am always afraid, afraid that the commissioned oil painting of my sister and mom running together means I am not actually the favorite child, afraid that my Beanie Baby collection isn’t worth thousands of dollars, despite what my 1998 official handbook suggests and afraid of somehow becoming a cat lady because frankly, felines intimidate me. Talk about being a scaredy cat.

As a blogger, the thought butchering the English language in front of the critical eyes of the blogosphere also strikes fear into my heart. I already know that I most likely harbor many flagrant misunderstandings about the language. This became especially apparent in college. The dorms were each equipped with a peer health adviser who not only distributed band aids, Advil and condoms, but also decorated the bathrooms with educational health articles. One week, the topic was “What does your sleep position say about you?” Now I’m a pseudo woman of science not a woman of pseudoscience, so I felt inclined to ignore this article and the hocus pocus it propagated. But, just as I can’t resist reading my daily horoscope in the paper — my Gemini dual personality can make me somewhat of a hypocrite — I couldn’t help but read the health report.

At the top of the article was a diagram depicting different sleeping positions (see right.) As I glanced over the illustration, I noticed “fetal” labeled under the first position. I love finding printed spelling and grammar errors (which is why I deliberately scrutinize every page of Chinese restaurant menus) so I was feeling pretty smug.   “Fetal,” I thought to myself. “Someone did not proofread th..the the hell?!?!”

It had dawned on me. For the past ten years, I had incorrectly referred to the curled up human form as the “weedle position.” You know, like the bug Pokemon. (I do realize that I referenced Pokemon in my last post but I can assure you, it’s purely coincidental and not at all reflective of a secret obsession.) However seeing the labeled position on the chart, I could clearly see the connection between the fetal position and a fetus’s positioning.

In my defense, it’s a perfectly reasonable misconception. As you can see from my scientific diagram, the weedle’s curvature is highly reminiscent of the fetal position’s form. It’s therefore entirely feasible that a Pokemon was named after a bodily position, a position named “weedle.” Can’t you also imagine someone rocking back and forth in the “fetal” position, quietly chanting “weedle, weedle, weedle”? No? Just me? Then, can I also point out that “weedle” and “fetal” are practically homophones, which could be another source for my confusion?  Come on…wee-dle…fe-tal. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if other people make this mistake.

(FYI, this is the least disgusting picture of a fetus that I could find. You’re welcome.)

If I messed up weedle…I mean fetal position, who knows how many other words I’m unintentionally mutilating? I’m terrified of unavoidable future language fouls.

On another note, I am now also in the market for new friends. I obviously can’t trust any of my old friends, who were either too cruel, too dumb or too indifferent to correct me and for ten years, allowed me to get away with, “Saw II was so scary that I spent two hours in the weedle position!” So, if you have an above average command of the English language and aren’t afraid to show it, feel free to apply to be my friend. The position starts off as an unpaid internship, with potential for full-time employment and compensation in the form of Beanie Babies.

Let the record show that I used to be a good person.

22 Jun

Living at home for the summer, I sometimes have to give in to my mom’s ridiculous requests by doing dishes, showing her common respect, and not operating a meth lab from our basement. Welcome to my suburban oppression. In compliance with her latest demand, I dutifully started to clean my room last night and uncovered my elementary school yearbooks. I, of course, had to abandon my chores and leaf through every page of all seven volumes of my childhood. I evidently have a firm grasp on my priorities.

The fifth grade was the year of the millennium so the entire yearbook followed the theme of “the future.” Completely uninspired, right? I would have dedicated the book to the impending apocalypse or more realistically, to Pokemon. I’m pretty sure that I was ignorant of the Y2K scare because I was preoccupied, trying to convince my friend to trade me her Charizard for three trainer cards, four energy cards and a Weedle. Anyway, back to the future…theme. Mrs. Johnson decided that our class should document “our dreams for the future.” Though I obviously should have aspired to be a stand up comedian (come on, my “Back to the Future” joke was gold), I told Mrs. Johnson that I wanted to teach in a foreign country, because it sounded so terribly romantic. She suggested I join the Peace Corps.

So let it be written, so let it be done. Well…not exactly. My friends taunted me and my parents (unsurprisingly) discouraged me from realizing this dream. At the time, I was utterly baffled because I was under the impression that striving to improve global education was an admirable ambition. I also still didn’t completely understand the mission and operations of the Peace Corps, which further magnified my confusion.

Today, I still have unanswered questions, namely, why weren’t the other kids’ goals ridiculed? In retrospect, my wish was fairly achievable (and not to mention practical), when considering that two of my classmates aspired to be Dr. Doolittle and another had delusions about living in Atlantis. Read the other ones – it doesn’t get much better. Sure, their ideas were cute, but at 10 years old, we were a little too mature for cute.

Maybe I’m being a bit cruel, heckling 5th graders and all. Unfortunately, this is who I have become, and I am now far from the kind, altruistic person that I could have been. Sorry World. 

My father is painfully honest.

19 Jun

I want to thank my dad for always keeping it real,

for telling me that I stink after workouts,

for pointing out that my left eye is bigger than my right,

for never letting me win at basketball, lest I delusively start to think I have a “shot” at the WNBA,

and for always acknowledging my tone deafness whenever I start to sing in the car.

Happy Father’s Day!

A Very Retrospective Birthday

16 Jun

In honor of my 22nd birthday, I would like to share a quote by actress, Ingrid Bergman:

“I have no regrets, I wouldn’t have lived my life the way I did if I was going to worry about what people were going to say.”

Well, unfortunately, I’m not a movie star so I have some, actually many regrets. In particular, I am most upset about a missed business opportunity. I never developed my high school invention, the waffle spoon.

What is the waffle spoon? It’s only my multi-million dollar brain child. Let me explain. With regards to ice cream eating accessories, we have…

the ice cream cone,

the waffle cone,

and the latest creation, the waffle bowl.

Now, the waffle bowl is great because it takes ice cream consumption to the next level, incorporating the best of both worlds. No longer does the ice cream enthusiast need to deal with the messiness of the cone or dreariness of a normal bowl. Instead, the waffle bowl allows users to neatly eat dessert in a fun AND edible bowl. The only problem is, you have to use a spoon and let’s be honest, plastic, metal or silver, the standard spoon is lackluster in comparison to the dynamic waffle bowl. So, what if, there was a spoon counterpart to the waffle bowl, an edible spoon, a spoon born from waffle cones, a waffle spoon.

In case you’re still a little confused, I illustrated the concept. Get the picture? (Get the pun? Heh.)

Some of you naysayers may be wondering, “Won’t the spoon get soggy, impeding its ability to successful deliver ice cream to one’s mouth?” Well, the ingenuity of the product is that the composition of the spoon will be thick enough to avoid disintegration but thin enough to remain edible. Although I have yet to create (or even attempt to create) a working model, I am confident that it will work. I am also certain that it will be successful because seriously, who wouldn’t enjoy an edible spoon?

On second thought, in the process of writing this post, I’ve convinced myself to follow my dream and reconvene the development of the waffle spoon. I just need some investment capital. Any takers?

Obnoxious Obligations

13 Jun

I’m really trying to avoid using my blog as a medium for complaining because well, if I start whining too much then pretty soon, I’ll have one of those emo blogs, resembling my xanga from the seventh grade. So, forgive me as I dedicate this entry to my hatred for graduations.

It’s that time of the year again. I not only had to attend my own commencement last month but a few days ago, I was also obligated to go to my sister’s high school graduation. Now don’t get me wrong. I am proud of my sister’s milestone and I even enjoyed yelling out embarrassing childhood nicknames as she crossed the stage, (maintaining my title as Sister of the Year.) However, despite the relative ease of the 1.5 hour ceremony, I’m just not a fan of the ugly robes, the cheesy, pedantic  speeches and the obnoxious air horns. Sorry! Plus, graduations, by nature, symbolize the ends of eras and life transitions, and I’ve never been one to deal well with change.

This isn’t a recent development either; I’ve always harbored an intolerance for graduations. When my older brother graduated as valedictorian of his elementary school, my father was supposed to make a speech at the ceremony. Unfortunately, he never made it to the stage, because as soon as he left his seat, some brat started screaming her head off. Parents seriously need to learn how to control their children…oh wait, that kid was me. In my defense, the ceremony was three hours long. In what world, does a class of 25 need three hours to graduate?

Now I recognize that I’m probably being more obnoxious than the obligation, itself. But hey, don’t worry. Over the years I’ve somewhat matured and learned to cope. At my brother’s  high school graduation, I was much quieter, and I bet that by the time my sister finishes med school, my behavior will be nearly flawless.

Are you afraid of the dark?

10 Jun

If you really want to give a seven-year-old nightmares, skip the ghost tales and bogeyman threats. Do what my visiting aunt did and tuck the kid in with a bedtime story about a debilitating disease. My aunt’s epidemic of choice? AIDS, of course. If Rent is any indication of history, AIDS was the disease of nineties, and I’m sure my aunt was just trying to keep me aware. She was hardly descriptive but she unintentionally terrified me, robbing me of countless hours of sleep.

Summertime Blues and Little Shop of Squandered Dreams

8 Jun

I am beginning to realize how incredibly fruitless my first few weeks of summer as a college graduate have been. Upon returning home, I promptly ordered CPA exam and GMAT preparation materials. Despite my good intentions, the packages still remain untouched and unopened while my Netflix account reveals countless hours of nostalgic indulgence streaming old episodes of Rugrats.

When my parents used to control my summers, I admit that my days were more productive. Having two working parents, I experienced various day camps, spending my time oil painting at art camp, dissecting squids at science camp and memorizing the books of the Old Testament at Christian camp, which was strange only because my family is not particularly religious.

In an attempt to foster a sense of creativity and a passion for performance, my parents also enrolled my sister and me in a local theater, excuse me, theatre camp. Our teacher loved musicals, all musicals, as evident by her decision to produce the grossly inadequate sequel, Grease 2. As a theatre major at the local university, she considered herself and artist and as an artist, she took many artistic liberties.  She rebelliously altered the script of Grease 2 with the addition of a dorky version of the Pink Ladies known as “the Lavender Ladies.” (Yes, I was cast as a “Lavender Lady.” Typecasted much?) She even dared to change the iconic lyrics of the music of West Side Story to make the songs more PG. Think: “When you’re a Jet you’re a Jet all the way from your first DAY OF SCHOOL to your last dying day.” (For those of you unfamiliar with the song, the censored word is “cigarette.”)

My big break came when I was cast as the female lead in our version of Little Shop of Horrors (see previous image.) The teacher must have recognized my X factor, because she overlooked my pitchiness and overall tone-deafness and gave me the role of Audrey anyway. We children practiced for weeks, trying to master our carefully choreographed routines. I even took the dances to the next level, adding in extra awkward steps here, and a few uncoordinated slips there. After blood, sweat and literal tears, the day of the show arrived and despite my nerves, I learned I had nothing to fear. I could tell the audience loved my performance – those first graders laughed at all of my jokes. Nailed it! I began to fantasize about my undoubtedly successful career on Broadway.  A star was born.

Unfortunately my parents never sent me back to that camp. They probably thought that I had already mastered the craft.

***

By the way, here is a video of my favorite song from the show. Imagine a bunch of elementary school children singing this, with less soul and even less skill.

Sister of the Year

5 Jun

My younger sister, Shelby is so lucky to have me, someone to guide her through the trials and tribulations of adolescence and be her shining beacon. Even at a young age, I took the responsibilities of being a big sister seriously and dutifully taught her the ways of the world.

We used to share a room, and we would lay in bed discussing life, before falling asleep. One night, in the darkness of our room, I decided that I would share with her my darkest secret.

“Hey Shelby,” I began.

“What?” she responded, annoyed.

“Guess what?”

“What?!” Her interest peaked.

“I’m adopted,” I lied.

“You are not,” she replied skeptically. Mama didn’t raise no fool.

“Yes I am!” I persisted. “In fact,” I continued, acting upon a sudden burst of inspiration, “I’m a magic bunny.”

“Yeah right.”

“Am too!” (To this day, I am still just as clever with the comebacks.)

“Oh yeah? Then where are your ears?” my sister sneered triumphantly.

Crap! I panicked. Where was I going to get a pair of ears at this time of the night? I grabbed a blanket, folded the ends up to fashion a makeshift pair of ears. Then, I stuck my new ears behind my head and cried out, “Right. Here.”

Silence.

Finally, Shelby spoke, whispering quietly, “Do Mom and Dad know?”

Of course this wasn’t the only life lesson that I shared with dear Shelby. I’m a better sister than that. I also told her that the radio was filled with tiny people who created the music and terrified her by explaining that the soap bubbles created when washing your hair were housed ticks. Creative, I know. I even joined forces with my older brother, telling her that the Loch Ness monster lived beneath our house and that the noises from the heater were in reality, the snores of the beast. And I obviously told Shelby that she was adopted but that’s so cliché.

Eventually, my sister started to catch on and stopped believing me and my fantastic stories. She is no longer nearly as gullible as her four-year-old self once was, and I like to think that I deserve some of the credit for this crucial development.

Why My Dog Will Never be a Good Citizen

4 Jun

This is Kirby.


(In case you don’t speak dog, “Woof!” roughly translates to “Hello, I’m a dog!”)

Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out ways to sneak him into places where he’s not allowed…malls, restaurants, libraries. I recognize these are places where he shouldn’t be anyway, but Kirby and I, we answer to no one. Sure, I could carry him around in a purse but I fear being judged as one of those girls. Plus, I have a strong suspicion that my arm would get very tired, very quickly.

I figured out that Kirby’s golden ticket into dog-unfriendly establishments is a service dog bandana – he can go anywhere with one of those babies. The problem is, apparently, they don’t just give bandanas out. I researched it and apparently the dog has to earn it. What bull. At 11 lbs and over a year old, Kirby is vastly unqualified to become a guide dog. He’s also somewhat afraid of bathrooms. I’m pretty sure it’s important for guide dogs to be able to fearlessly walk into bathrooms, for obvious reasons.

Therefore, the viable option is for him to try to become a therapy dog. Sounds cushy, right? Wrong! In order to become licensed as a therapy dog, Kirby needs to pass an AKC Canine Good Citizen test. The criteria can be found here:

http://www.akc.org/events/cgc/training_testing.cfm

In short, it’s fairly rigorous and I am fairly certain that Kirby would fail at least half of these tasks, seeing that this is his response to most of my commands:

“Kirby come!”

“Kiiiiiiirby …coooooooome!”


Granted, if you happen to have a treat on hand, it’s a completely different story.

Kirby will beg.


Kirby will lie down.


Kirby will play dead, though I more convinced that he’s feigning illness for sympathy.


Kirby will invade your personal space.



Kirby will even try to do his entire repertoire of tricks simultaneously, sans command. He’s a go-getter. In fact, if the AKC will allow me to hold a Beggin’ Strip over his head throughout the entire exam, then Kirby may have a fighting chance. Unfortunately, this is unlikely the case, so I will need to devise a new way to smuggle Kirby into places. Suggestions?