Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Quick Programming Note

Dear No One in Particular,

Posting has been nonexistent, and I feel terrible about it. I know I promised that I would be updating with more frequency, but last week was my Spring Break and oddly enough, was one of the worst Spring Break's I've ever had. I'm not about to go into it (this blog has enough navel-gazing as it is); it was a bad week, and it's in the past.

I would like this to be more than just a quick update, but apparently, I have a midterm tomorrow? My professor and his army of T.A.s decided that they didn't need to actually update the syllabus, nor let the students know via mass email, so I'm swamped with test prep right now. I promise I'll be back by week's end.

Before I sign off, I have one question: anyone else watching "Any Dream Will Do"? It's fantastic: dozens of (slightly) fey Brits with panty-dropping accents competing to follow in the illustrious footsteps of Donny Osmond? Solid gold shit, maestro. The show is hosted by Graham Norton, who can be deliciously catty, and the soundtrack is fantastic. They (seemingly) unironically play Eminem and Queen, and whenever Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber appears, they play the Phantom's theme. It's totally worth the cable bill.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Oh, Canada.

[Warning: the following post contains some graphic videos. Click play at your own risk.]

Dear Canada,

First of all, know I love you. I have loved you since I was 8 years old and my parents drove from Seattle to Vancouver and we stayed in a hotel that shared our familial name and the concierge gave us free stuff. I really fell hard when I was 16 and visiting family in Toronto. In fact, I love you so much I considered going to school at U of T, but in a characteristic-Amanda move, decided I didn't want to go through the paperwork of getting a student visa and honestly, do you know how cold it gets up there? So cold, students have to walk through underground tunnels to get to class in the winter. That's darn cold, Canada.
I love you so much that if we were at a party together, I'd dig down deep and pull out the charm instead of standing off to the side, silently judging. That's how much I love you, Canada: I'd put away the bitchface just for you.

I also feel like I should apologise for the one time I went to Quebec City with my family and my mom stole that sign for Les Fetes de la Nouvelle France. I tried to keep her from defacing public property, but she wouldn't listen. I agree that the banner it was a part of did look a little funky after she ripped it apart, so thanks for turning a blind eye and not throwing us in jail. Neither of us look good in horizontal stripes.

Now that we've got the lovin' out of the way (that's what she said), I must confess, I have a bone to pick with you. Generally, whenever anyone says anything bad about you, Canada, it makes me want to take my earrings out and sharpen my nails. But I've come across something that I simply can not defend. Your Public Service Announcements.

This is the first one I saw and I kid you not when it gave me nightmares:

This one, I must admit, made me laugh a tiny bit:

Because when I fall off a ladder into a glass case, the first thing I do is stand up and lecture my horrified co-worker about job safety. No, no ambulance. We need to discuss the semantics of the word "accident". Script writing/acting FAIL.

There are more where these came from:

The two I've posted as stand-alones also appear in the video above. They're all equally awful.

Now I know that PSAs serve to scare sense into people; I saw one when I was about 4 years old about how babies can drown in two inches of water that scared me so badly I made my mom watch me in the bath even though I had been showering by myself for a while.
What bothers me, Canada, is that you show these incredibly graphic, violent 30 second crimes against sanity during primetime. Apparently, the first time the chef-PSA aired was in the afternoon during a hockey game. I don't normally sing soprano in the "OMG WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDRENS" chorus, but really Canada -- what about the children? How could your censors not realise the effect that such grotesque imagery could have on young viewers? Forget young viewers -- people in general! I'm 22 years old and a huge fan of gallows humour, yet I will never get the sound of that young woman's screams out of my head.

I'm sure there are ways to get the same point across with significantly less mind-scarring terror. Back to the drawing board, Canada. You're resourceful and creative. After all, you refer to your currency as "crazy".

Less of traumatizing PSAs, more of these:

Kind of unrelated (I'm sure it's a spoof), but this one is pretty great. It looks like something that would happen to me:

I'm still burning a candle for you, Canada.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Things I Haven't Bought, But Still Love

Dear No One in Particular,

Since I've found myself sans employment and with more free time than I know what to do with, I've decided to be slightly more productive and not wile the hours away by watching Top Model marathons on cable television. Because honestly? Ty-Ty is rotting my brain. The other day, the Boy was telling me a story and I picked up on some random detail and responded with "You know, that reminds me of when I was 16, 17 and a young model in Paris and I was all alone and the girls were so mean, but you know what? I stuck with it and now I'm here and I'm a top model, coaching all you girls to be top models, too, especially if you can smile with your eyes. Who wants a weave?"
Yeah, that was the exact moment I knew I needed a new way to fill the hours.

So I'm going to implement an actual schedule for Blog For No One in Particular. I'll do my best to post something interesting at least twice a week, so there'll be no more month-long stretches between verbose essays on the state of popular culture as regurgitated by the Interwebs.

All righty then. The credit for this post comes from the lovely Inkytwist at Lemon Love. She recently posted a list of things she's got a yen for. So inspired, I decided to create a list of things that kindle the fire of consumerism deep inside me.

Let's go Windows shopping, shall we?

Someone get my swooning bottle!
  • To make a decision about my calling cards. Yes, really. This completely unimportant bit of utter nonsense is still driving me up the wall. I can't make a decision to save my life, and I'm still waffling about the design. Really, this should read: some Xanax and a pin the tail on the calling card game.
  • The perfect pink lipstick.
MAC feeds my drag queen sensibilities.

I'm hapa, which means I have a hell of a time finding flattering makeup. Lipstick, on me, tends to go one of three ways: a) it doesn't show up at all; b) it looks like I've borrowed the tube from a porn star; c) it looks 80's-tastic bright fuschia. None of these are looks I am aiming for.
Cyd Charisse was a goddess. Don't let anyone tell you different.
  • Hugh Jackman. I suffered through that festering sore, Australia*, simply because he starred in it. The least he can do is thank me by showing up on my doorstep. Shirtless. As Wolverine.
I mean, honestly.
Is that swooning bottle still on hand?
  • The new(ish) Lily Allen CD. Yeah, it's been out a while now, but I still haven't gotten it. I adore Lily and her adorable girl/foul mouth shtick.
I love that she needs to stand on tip-toe to smack the paparazzo.
Adorable AND in need of anger management, bless her wee heart.
Nigella is Love.
  • Black ballet flats. For someone who loves shoes, I don't own a pair of basic black ballet flats. I've been looking for a pair for, oh, a year now and I haven't found one that fits my specifications. I want a pair that show off some toe cleavage (ugh, that phrase), are well-crafted, and have some support to them. Any recommendations?
Hello ... is it you I'm looking for?

That'll be it for me. Anything caught your eye? What are you craving? What can't you live without?


*Baz Luhrman is an immensely talented director, but a little heavy-handed with the schmaltz as a screenwriter. Nicole Kidman needs to put the Botox needle down; she's killing her career as she freezes her face.
**Only I'm much shorter, as if you shrunk Nigella in the dryer instead of taking her to the dry cleaners like the care label said.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

You Like Me!

Oh my stars and garters, I've received my first-ever internet award! I wish I could say that I was mildly amused by this, but the truth is I'm unbelievably tickled. I made the Boy come to the computer and gush with me; I'm currently trying to figure out if this can be put on a resume.

A million thanks to Diana of the incredible blog, our.city.lights., for nominating me!


  1. Put the logo on your post.
  2. Nominate 5-10 blogs you like.
  3. Be sure to link to your nominees in your post.
  4. Let them know they have received the award by commenting on their blog.
  5. Share the love and link to this post and the person who gave you the award.
My nominees:
  • our.city.lights: I don't know the protocol for these awards, but I ultimately decided that regardless, Diane deserves to be showered with blog-love. She's incredibly inspiring; her covet-able outfits, legendary camera collection, and thoughtful posts are a delight to read.
  • Daddy Likey: Thinking back, Daddy Likey is probably the reason I started blogging in the first place. Winona's fresh, funny take on all things fashion -- and quite a few things not at all fashion-related -- is a gem amongst the overwhelming "meh" of most style blogs.
  • The Clothes Horse: The Clothes Horse may seem like a run-of-the-mill "what I wore today" fashion blog, but that's far too dismissive. The Clothes Horse has inspired me to really think about what I'm wearing; my predilection for dresses is probably directly influenced by scrolling through the Clothes Horse's enchanting photos.
  • Saturday Jane's Last Semester: Saturday Jane is a new blogger, but she's easily one of my favourite reads. Her posts are at once witty, poignant, and always intelligent. She's going to be a star.
  • Lemon Love: This is another recent find, and it's quickly climbing to the top of my favourites list. I am insanely jealous of her design skills, her artistic ability, and her eyebrows. In general, I am insanely jealous.
  • Lesley Denford: One of the top five most beautiful blogs on the internet. Lesley is an incredibly talented artist, and her gorgeous collages also serve as eye-candy for the blog. Inspiration personified.
  • babyassface: Funniest blog name ever. The first time I read babyassface, I laughed so hard I knocked my computer off my lap, causing my mother to come in from another room and yell at me. Jenny has humour in spades and skin care advice to match.
Thanks again and share the love!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Polling the World

Dear No One in Particular,

I'm graduating from university in May and I realised that, while sprucing up my resume and ordering my cap and gown, I forgot to order calling cards. Since I am a very high-strung little lap dog with an overactive imagination, I freaked. What if, while I'm schmoozing at a party, I meet the curator for the SFMOMA? I frantically pondered. Or better yet, what if I'm magically introduced to someone who has all the right connections to the Smithsonian, and is willing to pull some strings for me, but only if I am able to provide my contact information on a snazzy 2" x 3.5" card? WHAT IF.
How could I possibly let such a not-at-all-fantastic opportunity slide by?

Luckily, I spent my entire day sifting through old magazines, and RealSimple (a highly underrated magazine) presented a winsome answer to my problem: iomoi.com

Now, I am a total novice at this whole calling card business. My only reference point (apart from seeing my parents exchange them with business associates) comes from the Boy's father, who had some printed for the Boy for $20. They looked like they fell off the back of a truck after having been designed by a blind man who learned English only recently as a 4th language. So I have no idea if iomoi's prices are good, I only know they have some pretty products. Please, please let me know if you know of equally stylish, hip -- and above all -- cheap calling cards.

After spending approximately an hour scrolling, hemming and hawing, and after consulting the Boy, my lawyer, and my housekeeper, I still can't make a decision.
So now I turn to you, with open arms, asking for advice. Which one do you like?

Option A:
Option B:
Option C:
Or Option D, something completely different!

I'm obviously looking for something eye-catching and memorable. In my world, this translates to bright colours and/or quirky design. I like the symmetry of Option B, but the pattern of Option A; I'm totally in love with the dapper seahorse of Option C, but is it professional enough? Or does it look like a child's toy?

So, help a girl out and leave suggestions in the comments? I'd appreciate it a million times over.


Monday, March 9, 2009


Dear No One in Particular,

Am I the only one who thinks hamentaschen look vaguely yonic?

That? Is not a man's hat.



Not the only one! Here's a blog that discusses the ridiculousness of tri-cornered hats in ancient Shushan and how the characteristic "hidden" filling of the hamentash mirror the theme of hiding in Esther's story. Another blog links to a Jewish feminist take on the Georgia O'Keefe of cookies.

Also: apparently, if you google the phrase "yonic hamentaschen" this blog appears in the oh-so-covetable 5th position. Needless to say, this will amuse me for DAYS.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Aloha HARD.

I saw this last night and laughed so hard, I started wheezing.

It's funny, but I find myself having similar conversations whenever I'm on the mainland:
Stranger: Oh, you live in Hawai'i? How awesome is it?
Me: If by "awesome" you mean paying $1.50 for a single lemon, it's pretty freaking awesome.
Stranger: But you must go to the beach and surf all the time, right?
Me: Not at all. I'm not on vacation; I have things to do, exorbitant bills to pay.
--conversation ends awkwardly--

Don't get me wrong, Hawai'i's lovely, but living here is not the same thing as vacationing here. The story about the shanty town, complete with meth lab and teenage pregnancy? So true and so prevalent, it hurts.

All that aside, I'm madly in love with The Rock*, even if he is a Samoan man playing a Hawaiian man doing a Tahitian-style dance.

*I know he's going by his "real name", but he'll always be The Rock to me.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

*insert high-pitched noise here*



I'm pretty sure that I wished this majestic creature into existence on my 6th birthday, along with a purple unicorn with a glitter horn. Only in my wildest Barbie-Hello Kitty-Princess-Lisa Frank dreams did I think it would come true! The only way this could be better is if sparkles and rainbows were expelled from its blowhole.

Now. Who wants to buy me plane tickets to Louisiana? Some lucky bastard has seen Princess Fancy Flippers "40 to 50 times in the time since the original sighting". I want to see it once. Just once! So I might die a happy, happy little girl.


[edit:] FIXED IT!

Monday, March 2, 2009

"It needs more air than I am willing to admit."

Dear No One in Particular,

I identify overmuch with J.D. Salinger's characters. This probably says something significant about me; something tragic and obnoxious, no doubt. I'm sure there are better fictional characters to identify with, but I know for certain there are much worse.

Like most young people, I was first introduced to Salinger by way of Catcher in the Rye. I know there's quite a bit of contention over the book, and I'm not referring to the censorship controversy. Most people I know either loveloveLOVE the book or hate it with the fire of a thousand suns. Obviously, I fall into the former category, but I can kind of understand why there are so many firmly planted in the hater camp. Being forced to read and dissect books in school tends to have that effect on many great pieces of literature, and, let's face it, Holden is kind of a dickhead.

Yet what draws me to Salinger is his incredible ability to convey heartsickness in the written word -- more than depression, more than an aching loneliness, Salinger creates characters so complex and so beautiful in their flaws that their deep, deep hurt and crippling fears wind their way off the page and strike right into the heart of the reader.
More than anything, Salinger knows what it's like to feel alienated, confused, and deeply sad; moreover, he knows how that deadly combination can cause one to lash out, seemingly disaffected with the world.

Honestly, while I love Catcher, my absolute favourite Salinger tome is Nine Stories. A collection of -- surprise! -- nine short stories, I've always felt that this is Salinger at his best. (A very close second would be Franny and Zooey.) This is the book that should be taught to students; I've always insisted that should I lose my damn mind and become an English teacher, I would teach "Nine Stories". Just about every story breaks my heart in the best way possible.

My favourite story (possibly of all time) is "A Perfect Day for Bananafish". Bewilderingly, I've found it's easily the most misinterpreted.
My A.P. English teacher assigned us "A Perfect Day" as a reading assignment, and split the class into groups to discuss the story. To my shock and disgust, the most popular comment about the story was "God, he was so creepy!" I have a permanent dent in my forehead from headdesk-ing throughout the entire period. My classmates were in Berkeley, and the point flew so far over their heads, it was halfway to Jupiter.

Perhaps the reason I feel so strongly about "A Perfect Day" is because of my own struggles with mental illness, particularly with depression. I've since sought some help with my disorders, but reading "A Perfect Day" never ceases to remind me of how dark, how deep, and how torturous the pits of depression can be -- especially if you can play "normal". Seymour's relationship with Sybil, contrasted with the abrupt and painful ending, is a perfect "in" to a discussion about the complexities of mental illness. Seymour's mood swings, his obvious alienation from his wife -- all are hallmarks of a man wrestling to keep the demons at bay, if only for an afternoon so that he might hunt for the gluttinous bananafish.

Over the years, I've found myself engaging with the other eight stories in a way that I hadn't been able to upon first perusal. I'm currently re-reading "Nine Stories" and I was somewhat surprised by my reaction to the story "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut". A somewhat satirical story, "Uncle Wiggily" struck home in a way I'd never thought it would. While Salinger paints a sardonic picture of life in the suburbs, his popular theme of heartache and alienation runs just below the surface. There's not much action in the story, forcing the audience to read between the lines, digging deep into the characters to see what makes them tick -- and subsequently, what holds the story together. I found the story to be typical Salinger in that it sought to tackle the problems of diving into perils of capital-A Adulthood, leaving the romance of childhood behind. Main character Eloise's actions were largely motivated by her unresolved grief over the death of her young love, Walt Glass, and the ways that it shaped her as an adult woman. Her issues with her husband ("If you ever get married again, don't tell your husband anything. ... Oh, you can tell them stuff. But never honestly") and her violent outburst at her daughter stem from her heartache over Walt.
I was most moved by the ending, with Eloise imploring her friend to reassure her that she was "a nice girl". I saw this as Eloise's moment of self-realisation; she is able to see how deeply she was affected by Walt's death, and how it further affected her relationships with her daughter and her husband. Walt was ripped from Eloise's life, thus preventing her from connecting fully with those she should have unconditional love for.

I bring this up because I recently checked out "Nine Stories" from my school library and the margins are lousy with notes.* Someone must have done an analytical paper on Salinger and left their thoughts and analyses in the book.
Such notes remind me of how wildly two readers' impressions of a text can differ. The person who scribbled their thoughts in the margins apparently focused on different aspects of the stories than I would have. It's interesting, reading the notes along with the original text; it provides another layer, presents another interpretation I would not have considered otherwise.
I wish I could read the paper that the came from these notes. It would be an interesting read.

So: anyone else a rabid Salinger fan, like I am? Or rabidly anti-Salinger? Comment, please! If you'd like to just talk about the books that you hold near and dear, that'd be wonderful too. I love talking books with people.


*I'm totally guilty of doing this, too. Apparently, I'm not the only one!