Thursday, July 31, 2008

Eyes like Diamonds


Really, really ew.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Survey Says ....!

(yoinked from Heather of Bewitched Style/Tango Pirates)

WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING? The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, lent to me by the Boy’s cousin.



FAVOURITE BOARD GAME? Scrabble or possibly Cash Flow, but only because I won the first time I played.

FAVOURITE MAGAZINE? Nylon or Bust. Speaking of which, I need to figure out what’s going on with my Bust subscription…

BABIES? Are one of those things that are good in theory, but are invitations for disaster in reality.

FAVOURITE SMELL? Freshly baked apple crisp. Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom perfume. Old Spice.



FUTURE CHILD'S NAME? I’m seriously tempted to name my son Giacomo Alessandro, but I know that pretty much no one can pronounce it. Talia Bella for a girl.

FAVOURITE COLOUR? Burgundy, or deep purple.

WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT IN YOUR LIFE? Love -- for others, from others, for myself, to do things out of.

FAVOURITE FOODS: I’m an incredibly picky eater, but: Amici’s pesto pizza, super dragon rolls, Champagne Bakery’s raspberry almond croissants, warm Krispy Kreme doughnuts, fresh summer rolls (no pork) and mango pudding from Out the Door (/The Slanted Door).



WHAT TYPE WAS YOUR FIRST CAR? A turquoise 1978 Ford Mustang named Jack Fairy.


DO YOU EAT THE STEMS OF BROCCOLI? Nope, just the crowns.

IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY JOB YOU WANTED WHAT WOULD IT BE? Good question. I think I’d like to continue to bake, but owning my own bakery seems too stressful. I’d like to be a wandering anthropologist. I love listening to people tell stories, and telling stories of my own. If that’s not possible, then maybe a restaurant reviewer.


DO YOU TYPE WITH YOUR FINGERS ON THE RIGHT KEYS? No, I don’t hold my hands in the correct position, but I type pretty quickly.

WHAT'S UNDER YOUR BED? Good question. I think a bunch of plastic boxes filled with shoes and purses.

IF YOU COULD BUILD A HOUSE ANYWHERE WHERE WOULD IT BE? I would love to continue to live in the Bay -- especially if my house has a view. Victoria Island in Canada would be pretty great.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE ARTICLE OF CLOTHING? A tatty olive green sweatshirt I stole from the Boy.

BEACH, MOUNTAINS OR CITY? All three. (Hello, SF Bay Area!)


WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO BE MASSAGED? Ok, oddly written question. In terms of body parts, my head and neck.


WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE KITCHEN ITEM? Nigella my KitchenAid, hands down.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN AFTERLIFE? I’m not sure how to answer this succinctly. My heart tells me that there is. I need to believe that something happens to us when we die; that there is no void, but something comforting on the other side. My head tells me there is nothing, that there is nothing but a void, yet I shouldn’t worry, since I’ll be dead anyway.

IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE SUPER POWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Teleportation is a damn good answer.

DO YOU HAVE A TATTOO, WHAT IS IT? Yep: the words for “beauty” in Tagalog and Italian on my lower back. Not quite tramp stamps, but there they are.

WHICH DO YOU PREFER SUSHI OR HAMBURGER? Depends on the day and where the food comes from. Ichiraku’s Super Dragon Rolls vs. In-N-Out’s Double Double? Toughie.


WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? I’ve recently become enamoured with breakfast. Strange, I know. I used to HATE breakfast, but I’ve realised there are so many great things to eat first thing in the morning!

IF YOU COULD TAKE A VACATION ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WHERE WOULD IT BE? Oh, I have such dreams! Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Thailand, Bali, Turkey, Israel, Iceland, The Netherlands.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Me So Asian

Dear No One in Particular,

At times, I find myself troubled by the notion that Asians are a "hidden" minority. Wait, maybe "hidden" isn't the right word.

I feel as though every thing that will follow needs to be prefaced with the assertion that this is all my personal opinion (even though this is a silly personal blog that no one -- other than me, that is -- reads). Feel free to prove me wrong; God knows I'm not the most educated on this subject. I'm just speaking from personal experience and observation.

Okay, back on topic.

It feels as though Asians are quietly pushed to the side while other ethnic minorities' issues are given voice. Enter blanket statement: Hispanics (really Mexicans, but to say that Central Americans are being labelled as Mexican instead of Honduran or Guatemalan is just as ignorant) are constantly on the news here in California, because of the illegal immigration issue. African Americans ... well, everyone knows about issues -- historical and present -- that have been aired. But what about Asian Americans? Why is their history pushed aside, not given the same weight as that of others?

Everybody knows about Black History Month, but what about Asian History Month? I have to confess, I didn't know it existed. I remember my high school made the grievous error of attempting to change February into "Diversity Month" or some such celebration. There was a huge outcry from the African American students, one of whom pointed out that February is Black History Month, and it's even the shortest month of the year! Why do they have to share it with other ethnicities? Indeed. God forbid other minorities get the same sort of attention. I pointed out that while Black History is celebrated every year, Asians do not get any sort of fan fare, especially at the school. Naturally, no one really came up with a reply beyond "it's not fair." I know, I'm saying so.

School children learn all about the hundreds of years of African slavery -- with good reason. They should learn, they should know that so much of American history was built on the backs of others. But they should also be taught that Africans weren't the only slaves. They weren't the only subjugated minority. When we learn about the construction of the transcontinental railroad, we should also learn about the Chinese that were forced to build it. When we learn about the California gold rush, we should be taught about the severe anti-Chinese backlash and the anti-Chinese laws that were written because of it.

In slightly more flippant and recent news, there has been an outcry for more black models. Vogue Italia made the bold move (and highly publicized move) to showcase only black models in their July issue. While I think it is wonderful that such an esteemed magazine decided to inject some diversity into their publication, I am left thinking "where are all the Asian models?"

In a sort of response, Allure -- of all magazines, ALLURE -- did a photo shoot with an Asian model! One of my favourite websites, Jezebel, took a look at the spread, asking whether or not it is possible to photograph an Asian model without resorting to stereotypes.

While it is an interesting question, I'm left a little cold with the whole exercise. First of all: it's one model. ONE. Model. Small victory, I guess. But when are we going to get a completely Asian issue a la Vogue Italia?
Second: the whole question of stereotyping is more than a bit troublesome on more than one level. If it was a Hispanic model, would this question be brought up? A Black model? While Allure did a decent job of avoiding the "me so Asian, me so happy" stereotype -- with the notable exception of putting a kimono on a Chinese girl -- would this be an issue with another race? If they did a spread with Latina, would we be on the lookout for pinatas and mariachis? Something tells me no.

So what's with the double standard? Why are Asians kept in the dark, clouded by stereotypes and mystery? I'm tired of Asians being the silent minority. Enough with the fetishism of Asians, enough with life in the corner. I'm calling for Asians to come out of the shadows. We are not perfect, and are far from being a "model minority". We are a diverse group of people, with a myriad of histories and experiences. I'm calling for Asians to step into the light -- warts and all.


Am I Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

Dear No One in Particular,

I'd like to think I am. Smarter than the average 10 year-old, that is. Obviously, I'm more than a little obsessed with the TV show. My mom and I bought the DVD home game for my dad for Christmas last year, and I actually beat the damn thing! So, according to the DVD, I AM smarter than a 5th grader! (Fun Fact: the million-dollar question was anthropology based!) Natch, I play along with the show, and while I do get questions wrong, I'm not exactly flunk-out-stupid.

At any rate, my mother keeps threatening to sign me for auditions to be on the show. She's convinced I could win big. I'm convinced I need to cease to be a repository of useless childhood trivia. Also, I watch Golden Girls -- I learned from Dorothy Zbornak's mistakes, and I know I'm not personable enough to be on game shows. I'm too caustic, too reserved. I have no interesting life stories to babble endlessly on about. I refuse to talk in circles about my answer to whatever 4th grade Social Studies question is lobbed at me.

Now this is not to say that I'm some mega-genius who would kick ass at an idiotic TV game show. (I totes would though. ...just sayin'....) I'm convinced that my nerves would kick in, and I'd be so panicked that I'd forget my own name, much less how to form competent answers.

But what's really stopping me from semi-seriously considering a chance at a cool mill? Is this.

Take it in, in all it's glorious stupidity. Obviously, geography is not my strongest subject. I have no sense direction (which is why God gave us GPS-equipped CrackBerries), so it's really no surprise that I can't reproduce a map from memory. If given a blank map of the US, I could probably fill it out with some degree of accuracy, but wow. I love the fact that past the Mississippi, the country is just a void in which Maine floats alone.

I'm banking on the fact that no future employer is going to ask me to reproduce a map of the US, but it is enough to keep me off the game show circuit. ...For now.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Must be funny in a rich man's world

Dear No One in Particular,

We're in a recession. That much is clear, even if the Bush admin lackeys refuse to say it in so many words. However, I am me, meaning that despite the fact that I know better, I continue to shop. Consider it my personal gift to the failing/flailing economy.

However. Should you decide to make your own contribution, any of these items would make a lovely gift. For me, natch. (What? They're all less than $10!)


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

White is alright?

Dear No One in Particular,

While I have long been aware of the prevalence of skin-bleaching products in south, east, and south-eastern Asia, I was recently reminded of how detrimental such products are by this article on Jezebel. *

Interestingly, this article comes to me only a day after my mother received a huge care package from her relatives in the Philippines, which included an exorbitant amount of whitening products. Her sister sent her not one, not two but SIX bars of whitening soap and two tubs of whitening deodorant. Three of the soap bars are made with placenta -- whose placenta, I do not know, but apparently, afterbirth is a great skin bleach!

The fact that there is such a prevalence is incredibly disturbing. Jezebel links to a number of separate sites and articles that show just how dangerous such products can be. Not to sell women short, but the onslaught of media messages telling us that no matter what, we are not good enough has deadly ramifications.

I can only speak from experience on this subject, and as a woman who is part Filipina, I am no stranger to being told that I am "too dark". Of course, as an American woman -- specifically as an American woman living in Hawaii, where tans are not only de riguer, but mandatory -- I love being tan. Personally, I feel that I look better tan than fair -- I have olive skin, and as I get paler, I look more yellow and thus more sickly. Sure, there are people out there who can rock the lovely porcelain skin, but I am not one of them.
At any rate, as soon as my mother saw me she commented on my skin tone, saying that I look so dark. Really, she said I looked black -- I can't honestly comment on whether or not there is a difference between the two (she was speaking to me in Filipino) but I know that the feeling was there -- I was too dark, and needed to lighten my skin tone.
One of my Filipina aunts slathers herself in sunscreen and drives with a covering on her left arm for fear of becoming too dark. As a child, she had naturally very tan skin, and from what my mother tells me, she was teased A LOT. She also had kinky curly hair, which she now has permanently straightened. I wish I could tell you that she looks good, with her flat-ironed hair and pale skin, but she doesn't. Like me, she is olive-toned, and really, olive =/= porcelain. She looks a bit peaked all the time, but don't tell her I said so.

Naturally, this goes beyond just vanity. There are a myriad of race-related issues surrounding this. My naturally curly, tan aunt for example, was often called "black" (as in African) as a taunt, and, for her entire adult life, has endeavoured to escape that cruel taunt by becoming as white (as in Caucasian?) as possible.
When was it decided that anything dark is bad? Look at the dearth of black supermodels -- at the root of it, the myth that dark = ugly is being perpetuated. We need to stop perpetuating the ridiculous notion that to be considered beautiful, women need to be fair-skinned and straight-haired. You know who else perpetuated that ideal? HITLER. (Kidding, kind of.)

Truthfully, the entire beauty industry needs an overhaul. More models of colour (not just black, but Asian, Hispanic, and hapa!), less skin bleach. More curls, less flat-irons. More acceptance, less hatred.


*Great website, or greatest website?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Here I Am Lord.....

Dear No One in Particular,

If the slightly cryptic Tweets are any indication, I'm home! Back in the Bay, and so glad to be here. This being said, I'll probably have too much time on my hands, so that means more blog posts! I know you, my invisible audience, is all a-twitter with excitement, but really? I'm so ready to flex my creative writing muscles, and Lord knows I have far too much pent-up aggression. Also, I just finished another rather great book by Jen Lancaster, so you could say that I'm inspired. (For the record, her books aren't immediately heart-warming, particularly the first. You really need time to fall in love with her, since it takes quite a bit of effort to get past all the narcissistic posturing and conjure sympathy for her by the time she hits bottom. The second book really capitalises on the relationship you, the reader, has already established with her not as an author, but as a human being. Her writing, for the record? Hi-larious. I love the snarky footnotes, mostly because that's how my mind works: constantly jetting off on slightly related tangents.)

Ok, now that I've gotten my incredibly parenthetical book review out of the way, I need to change out of my pajammers and go to Target! I'm more excited about running errands than I should be, but hey. Spending 5 months approximately 3,000 miles away from Target tends to make one antsy.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

I Don't Wanna Grow Up

Dear No One in Particular,

A few weeks ago, I cited the incredible Rosie Swale-Pope as one of my personal heroes. While I still wish I had her gumption, I am totally in love with Doris Lessing, the curmudgeonly octogenarian Nobel Laureate. Her initial reaction upon receiving her Nobel Prize for Literature was "Oh Christ." When questioned about it further, she commented that "If I may be catty, Sweden doesn't have anything else. There's not a great literary tradition, so they make the most of the Nobel." LOVE.

I can see why Lessing might turn a lot of people off. However, I see her as an elderly woman who simply doesn't want to deal with all of the attention being showered upon her. Mad props, Lessing, for having the moxie to tell it like it is. Far too many people worry about pleasing others, or sounding proper. In my opinion, Lessing cares not a whit about being labeled a "bitch" -- I think she might actually delight in such a label, and then flip off whoever was foolish enough to call her that.

At any rate, I am definitely picking up her award-winning Alfred and Emily as soon as it becomes available in the U.S. It doesn't hit American shores until early August, so I'll have to do some research and pick up another of her books in the meantime. Any suggestions?