Thursday, June 26, 2008

Heal Me

Dear No One in Particular,

I like to think I'm a fairly skeptical person. It takes quite a bit of reasoning to get me to believe your argument. I'm also one of those people who believes that there are fake diseases. You know, "illnesses" created by pharmaceutical companies to sell drugs. Diseases that didn't exist 30-40 years ago, not because people were willfully ignorant, but because they simply didn't exist. Case in point: ADHD and its pharmaceutical saviour, Ritalin. I firmly believe that ADHD doesn't really exist, at least not in the strict sense of it being a valid illness. I think that ADHD = being a child. Who wasn't obnoxiously overactive as a kid? Remember your elementary schoolmates -- as they got older, they lost that ability to tackle everything at breakneck speed. It's called getting older. (No doubt, there are a million little pills to solve that "problem" as well.)

At any rate, there are some diseases that are actually 100% real that I can't get behind, simply because they don't sound genuine. Case in point: Uncombable Hair Syndrome. Apparently, sufferers have real-life Barbie hair. I wish I could sympathise, but as a curly-haired girl, I want to scoff and say "Get in line." Also: get a better name.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oh dear God

Dear No One in Particular,


Hope the Maltese puppy was born without front legs. She used to hop like a demented bunny, but since such motion would eventually destroy her spine, she was taken in by a special Maltese rescue, where they jerry-rigged the above contraption.
Apparently, she had a bit of difficulty figuring out how to maneuver her new bionic legs and would tip over to one side when first testing them out. Now, however, she is a master at zipping around like any normal puppy.

Daily Mail has an article complete with adorabibble pictures and video of my new favourite pet. (Sorry, Speedy Kitten. I've always been a dog lover.)


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dear No One in Particular,

A few admissions for you:

I truly enjoy writing, and in the past few years, have put that love on the back burner. As a result, my ability to write anything other than an academic paper has rusted over, like a beloved jalopy too old and too expensive to repair. (See what I mean?) I plan on using this blog as a bottle of WD-40 to help me transform my writing ability into mad skillz.

I have quite a few blog entry-ideas a-percolatin', and with them, hopefully, a more solid direction for the blog. I simply need a bit more time to actually write the damn things!
I have high hopes, for me and this blog.

My breath is bated -- how's yours?


Floss Well

Dear No One in Particular,

My last post was such a downer, I feel that I need to blog about something happier -- the cheerier corner of the Internets, if you will.

I just recently discovered my new favourite website: Mental Floss. Apparently, they have/are a successful magazine. I would describe them as the ultimate cocktail party primer -- the sort of thing Bridget Jones would try to memorise before she makes an ass of herself at a function.
The website is chock-full of interesting lists, facts, and quizzes. It's a veritable treasure trove for trivia-freaks like me. The best part? All the articles and items are written in a wonderful, slightly acerbic tone. Trivia sites tend to be dull and dense, making it difficult to slog through the potential goodies. Mental Floss keeps it witty and entertaining. I could spend hours scouring their archives, only coming up for air to share my new-found knowledge with those around me.

To get you started, here are two articles I particularly liked:
Go forth, and floss!


Monday, June 23, 2008

Tumblin' down

Dear No One in Particular,

The earthquake in China happened a little over a month ago now, which makes it old news to many of us who have grown accustomed to the rapid-fire news days that were ushered in with the new millennium and the Internet age. However, you do not need to do a whole lot of digging to find news being leaked out of China and into the foreign press. For a government so tightly locked down around its people, much information -- the vast majority of it heartbreaking -- is widely available.

I grew up in California, Land of Earthquakes, but somehow managed to -- so far, knock on wood -- escape major devastation. I was a toddler during the 1989 earthquake, one that spared my immediate family -- and just barely, since they could have easily been one of the many that died in the Bay Bridge collapse -- and left my aunt and her two boys homeless when the Marina went to hell.

Because I have a spotty recollection of the devastation that the ’89 quake caused, I have no frame of reference in which to view the horror of the Sichuan earthquake. Few of us do. We are infinitely lucky.

The stories that trickle out of Sichuan province are devastating, in every sense of the word. I have never been an extremely emotional person; however, whenever I hear about the victims of the earthquake, I cry. Not just a few drops, squeezed out of the corner of my eye, but body-wracking sobs, my teeth clenched around my fist.

NPR’s All Things Considered sent two of their best correspondents to China to report on the victims of the quake. Melissa Block’s story on a young couple frantic to find their family in the wreckage was the first that I heard that caused me to break down. I listened to it in the car, on the way to school; I was lucky that the Boy was driving, because by the halfway point, I was an emotional wreck. I barely had enough time to compose myself before class. I urge you to listen to the story -- the raw emotion in Block’s voice really drives home the palpable desperation.

And then there’s Coco Wang. Her wonderful comic strips are the very definition of “bittersweet”: the drawings delicately handle the profoundly tragic subject. She keenly cuts through the heartbreak with humour; her comics make me smile through the tears.

I can not remember another time when I felt so deeply, so keenly a stranger’s pain. I so desperately want to help, to ease their suffering. I wish I could throw money at the situation, donating whatever meagre amount I have in my savings to the Red Cross, hoping that the dollars trickle down to the peasants who have been hit the worst. I have been told that monetary donations are not the best -- but how to help? I genuinely wish to know; if someone more knowledgeable than I happens to read this, please let me know.


Go, go Granny!

Dear No One in Particular,

I want to be exactly like Rosie Swale-Pope when I grow up. The kick-ass grandma is set to be the first person to run around the world. She's suffered frost-bite, snow blindness, a breast cancer scare and nearly 30 marriage proposals and she's still going strong.

I love her. I want to be her. I shall devour her book once it comes out, since I can not get enough of the anecdotes shared in the article.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

News On the March: 22 June 2008

Dear No One in Particular,

One of the best things about the Internet -- in my opinion -- is the constant news updates. Now, some might argue with that, saying that the best thing about the Internet is the porn, or the advances in communication, but I still believe that stupid news beats talking to my family half-way around the globe any day. That's why I'm planning on culling some of the best Internet news and sharing it with you, my commentary added. Here goes edition 1!

(Title is subject to change. It was the best I could think of ... so far.)

  • Man Loses Exorbitant Amount of Weight eating Mickey D's (AOL news): Eat that, Morgan Spurlock. The man lost nearly 80 lbs eating the majority of his meals at a local McDonalds, which he frequents because of their convenient locations. Along with his children, the Virginia businessman says he was inspired by "the story of a blind war veteran who rode a tandem bicycle cross-country." WTF. Really though, who wouldn't be inspired by that?
  • Have you heard about toddler Lakshmi Tatma, girl born with 8 limbs? As the linked article shows, she underwent very successful surgery to remove her headless parasitic twin. The Boy and I watched the Nat Geo special on her, and I have to say, she's absolutely adorable. Apparently, there was quite a bit of backlash from the villagers who worshiped her as the reincarnation of the goddess Lakshmi, but the surgery really saved the cutie-patootie mini-goddess's life.
That's all for now, folks!


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Darlin', oh no (OH YEAH)

I forgot to add to my previous post (and the post-scripts were getting a little nutso), but have you heard of Chester French? Um, probably. They're the newest viral hit, what with Pharell calling them 'geniuses' and signing them to his label.

I have to admit that I'm a bit of a sucker for hipster-pop. I know it's pretentious, blah blah blah, but it tends to be pretty catchy. I feel like a dancer on American Bandstand -- "It's got a great beat, and I can dance to it!" But sometime, all you want to listen to is good pop: infectious, sing-a-long, dance-a-long, insidious pop tunes that play in a loop in your brain until you crave a lobotomy.

Chester French isn't quite that, and I'm not so sure that I'd go so far to call them geniuses. (And no, genius isn't relegated to the above factors. I like other things, too. I just have very specific standards for pop.) They remind me quite a bit of Rooney, but with more doo-wop sensabilities.
If Rooney, Buddy Holly, and the Beach Boys had a musical love child, the resulting abomination would be Chester French. And what a lovely abomination they are.


Everybody's Working for the Weekend

Dear No One in Particular,

Is there anything better than a long weekend? Yes. A long weekend-and-a-half. I have no class tomorrow, since one of my teachers didn't want to come in on a Friday, and my earliest class on Monday is cancelled. Sure, I have a major presentation due on Monday, but I've been going more than a little bit batty, so I'm looking forward to my extended weekend.

The Boy and I have been living on Oahu for nearly 2 years now, and we feel as though we know nothing about the island. We live on the outskirts of Honolulu, so "going into town" tends to be a hassle, since traffic here rivals L.A. Naturally, this avoidance of driving too far in any direction means that our island fever has been greatly exacerbated, and is keeping us from truly enjoying our living situation.
When we visited Kauai, we had great success with the Lonely Planet Kauai guidebook. We found amazing beaches and fantastic food that we would never would have happened upon, had we not had such guidance. Inspired, we promptly bought the Oahu version, hoping it would give us some insight into what there is to do and to eat here.

So far, Lonely Planet has lead us to some tasty local restaurants (hello, Anna Miller's). We decided to put our long weekend to good use and set aside a couple of days to really take in the glory of Honolulu.
We're planning on visiting a highly recommended Contemporary Museum and dim sum restaurant. I love me some dim sum, and I haven't had any in .... years, really.

I'm far too excited about this.


P.S. The world economy is bananas. The Boy and I tried to book flights back to California last night and I pretty much had a heart attack when I saw the prices. $750+, ya'll. Before this, the most expensive tickets we'd purchased were somewhere around $450 -- a $300 increase! And we're booking over a month in advance. I shudder to think what the prices would be had I insisted on procrastinating.

P.P.S. We totes scored, though -- a local travel agent hooked us up with non-stop round trip tickets for $600 each.

P.P.P.S. I just acknowledged that $600 airfare was a steal. Kill me now.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bad Magic

Dear No One in Particular,

I have a feeling that this day has been cursed. I've never had so many strange, bad things happen in a single 24-hour time slot. My problems, let me tell you them:

  • I didn't get to sleep until past 2 am. This is kinda my fault, but I'd rather chalk it up to ...
  • My terrible Guitar-Hero playing neighbour(s). I live in a high-rise apartment building, and one of the assholes who lives in a 2 apartment-radius of my bedroom is a video-game-playing vampire. Seriously, I only hear them playing after 11:30 pm, as though they were confused about what, exactly, "quiet hours" constitutes. Last night, they didn't start until 1:00 am.
  • The Boy woke up with a migraine. I felt terrible, but he's the worst patient ever. I know I complain a lot, but he really takes the cake.
  • I, uh, nearly passed out while practicing rescue breathing. I know I shouldn't be advertising that, but I think it's funny enough to warrant a mention. Of course, it wasn't so funny when it happened ... I blame the strange kneeling position crushing my diaphragm on my poor breathing technique.
  • As I was driving out of the university's parking structure, the oncoming traffic was turning too close into my lane (a really, really common occurrence. I can't tell if the lanes are that narrow, or the drivers that blind), so I cut the corner too short and scraped the hell out of my "rims". It sounded like I had just put my car into a compacter, scaring the living bejeezus out of me.
  • Approximately 10 minutes later, I was rear-ended. Really, I was love-tapped. There was super-minor damage to my car, so it wasn't a big deal. I should clarify: I was driving to Safeway when I was rear-ended. This is important because ...
  • Approximately 5 minutes after I got into Safeway, the power went out. ONLY Safeway's power went out, too, which was the spooky part. I told the Boy we had better go, since it appeared we were cursed.
We did make it home okay, but I have one major problem: mosquito bites.
I'm crazy allergic to insect bites -- when and where ever I get bitten, I have a mad allergic reaction. I once got a bite on my forearm that caused everything below the elbow to swell to double in size. When the swelling went down, a very attractive pus bubble appeared at the bite source. Allergies = helping to bring sexy back.

Yesterday, I famously decided to ignore the Boy when he warned me that the little insect buzzing around was in fact, a mosquito. The bastard apparently confused me with a free buffet and bit my feet a total of 4 times. Naturally, my body LOVED this like I LOVE reality TV, and I now can barely walk. The crowning glory: the bite on the arch of my foot, which makes it look like I've implanted an egg just under the skin. A large, red, itchy, burning, limp-inducing egg.

Sigh. I'm now doped up on Benadryl and really annoyed that my feet are so swollen and furious with me for not taking care of them, I can't get my gym shoes on.

Cursed, I tell you!


P.S. Did you catch the premiere of MTV's Legally Blonde audition-show? Natch, I did. It's like a shriller, WASP-ier version of You're The One That I Want.