Wednesday, September 30, 2009


"Jabberwocky," by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (a.k.a. Lewis Carroll)

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.



I'm having trouble lately blogging. I know, it's pretty dang obvious.

There are thoughts in my head, but rather than the orderly swirl that they are usually in, my thoughts are in some weird, Adderall-induced blitz. I don't have ADD or ADHD or whatever. I don't take Adderall, so my thoughts shouldn't be all cracked out. Yet they are.

It seems almost like my brain and my body are moving at different speeds, and by the time I reconcile the two, the day is over and I'm spent.

I don't know if it's the weather (seriously, LA, can I have my normal "autumn" weather back, please??) or if it's the job (it's not the job) or if it's my friends (this seems most likely), but something is making my brain smooshy.

I'll figure it out.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Dear John, 3 Years Later

I don't really know what to say here.

I hope that you are faring well, that you are healthy and happy.

I hear random tidbits of news about you- I know you are up north, working and living, seemingly very well. I am honestly so happy for you. I never wanted to make you unhappy, and I never wished you anything but the best. Better than me.

It's been a very long time- three years. In three years, you've turned 30. I've had a quarter-life crisis. We've both switched jobs. We've both moved. We've both been living and motoring ahead, far away from the reach of the other. In those three years, you were never far from my mind, though you may not believe it.

I still remember, at the end, those flowers that you sent me at work. I was working those insanely long hours, and you were endlessly patient. I got out of work at midnight or later, cranky and whiny and just a mess, and you so adeptly handled it, handled me. I remember the exhaustion when I got those flowers. And I remember just falling apart and crying. It was the sweetest, most amazing gesture, and so wasted on me.

I do regret that my 24th birthday was spent in tears, but since it was my own doing, I have no one to blame but myself. I regret wasting your time. I took up so much of it, time that you could have spent doing better and more worthwhile things, meeting better and more worthwhile people.

For the precious two and a half years we had, you were everything. You were the best friend that I have yet to replace, the kind of friend that is not only unconditionally supportive but also brusquely honest, a rare combination that I have not seen since. Those years were so formative for me. They were years that helped me to become this person that I am now, this person that I think I might like.

In November, I still think of our day. Every year, without fail. I have a little pang and wonder where you are, what you're doing, if you have even given the day a passing thought. I hope you do, so that it's still remembered, but I also hope you don't, that you have found a new day that usurps whatever that day in November meant to you.

I drive by Johnnie's Pastrami and think of you and your love of mayonnaise.

I see someone tall in a baseball cap and think it could be you.

I watch movies and wonder what we would have said about them, two of the most critical movie-goers in the history of cinema.

The transition from the 101 to the 5 will forever remind me of you.

9 mm Berettas make me wonder if your collection has grown.

Tikis, Disneyland, comic books, certain types of food, some of our mutual friends, white Russians, blue Col-Erase pencils, giant Dell laptops, my iPod shuffle, Nixon watches, horchata, cheesecake with strawberry sauce, that crazy cat, and the house I recently moved back into? They all bring back memories of you.

All this to say, I am thinking of you. I remember all the good, and the bad gets fuzzier with each passing year. I hope it is the same for you, that you aren't angry or upset about anything that transpired. You've seen the absolute best and the hideously worst in me, and I hope you don't judge the bad too harshly.

Someday, I'll work up the courage to ... call. Or e-mail. Perhaps just drop by when I'm visiting your work. But for now, this will have to do. You know I have a confrontation problem- that, at least, hasn't changed in the past three years.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Always, Always, Always Greener Grass

I don't know that the title of this post is apt, because what I'm currently feeling is "always, always, always want what I can't have, even if I didn't want it when I could have had it." But that's just a tad bit long for a post title, and we can't have that.

Perhaps that title should be amended, to "always, always, always want what I can't have, especially if I didn't want it when I could have had it." It's certainly true.

I generally feel that I have a very tight rein on myself. I'm a Gemini, and while the rest of it is pretty bogus, the bit about the duality is spot on. I have two sides, I have two minds, I have to hearts and two tongues. I am two people, constantly at war with one another.

At work, I have to let my right brain dominate. I'm very Type A, decisive, forceful, loud, obnoxiously so when I want to be, and I get my point across clearly. (I think.) People have told me that they don't understand how I can be so confident.

Because I can fake it, that's how.

At home, I am a wreck. We'll leave it at that, because to describe any further would just depress me (even more).

I don't need any external forces making my dichotomy any harder to handle. Especially when already weakened with a nasty fever and sore throat (sore like it's never been sore before, I have no idea what's going on).

Luckily, the physical symptoms have waned. It's all about my mental stresses now. And while I know you don't read this (I don't tell my friends I have a blog, is that weird? Maybe I just like my privacy, leavemealone), I'm going to put this message out there for the universe to right the wrong that you have done me:


As sarcastic as I am, I like to be happy. I like to think that there is fun to be had, I like being around fun people, I like to do stupid things. So please let me stick with the stuff I like, instead of being constantly sucked back into your weirdness and drama and unintelligible nonsense.

My brain is oozing around in my skull right now. Time for caffeine, methinks. Or a lobotomy.

I have to say, during my sick day on Tuesday, I watched "I Dream of Jeannie" and "Bewitched," and I really miss those shows, despite their misogynist undertones and shockingly horrible make-up. Oh, blonde magical women, where have you gone?? Why is it all vampires all the time now?? (I haven't read or watched "Twilight," but am SO SICK of those two. Robert Pattinson (Patterson?) and Kristen (Kirsten?) Stewart? Please go away.)

Now that I'm thinking of T.V.:

- "Bored to Death," on HBO, is really funny in a kind of sad way. I feel like it's trying to be "Adaptation," perhaps. Charlie Kaufman can't be touched, but it's still enjoyable. The director has worked on "Mad Men" and "The Sopranos," and it shows- he knows what to do with HBO fodder.

- "Eastwick," on ABC, was surprisingly funny. What's with networks not advertising their new fall shows? I haven't seen any billboards for this one! Similar but different from "The Witches of Eastwick," with a less-stellar cast (though with Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon, and Cher, what would a MORE-stellar cast be??). I'll tune in next week, see how it progresses.

- "Project Runway." Not really liking anyone yet. They're all annoying.

- "America's Next Top Model." I can't help it. It's like watching a car accident. But now with short girls. The only one I remember is the redhead (Nicole?), the others are all ... blaaaaaah.

- "Entourage," on HBO. So much better this season, mostly because Vince is only present about five minutes of every episode. Less Vince, more Eric, please!

- "Glee," on Fox. LOVE.

Yeah, I watch a lot of T.V. I think ... mostly ... it's because of the DVR. I blame the DVR, totally and without regret. Skipping commercials, there when I'm ready- it's like a husband, only all it deals with is T.V. shows!

Tippety-tappety-typing about T.V. shows has de-stressed me somewhat. Thanks, blog. I knew you were useful for something!


Friday, September 18, 2009

Tim Burton is My Hero

MoMA is putting on a retrospective for Tim Burton (previous link is for the gallery exhibition, this one is for the film exhibition) from November 22, 2009 through April 26, 2010. I really, really, REALLY want to go! This show will be over by then, I have friends in New York ... I'm crossing my fingers and hoping the stars align to make it happen.

So Mr. Burton art directed a photoshoot for Harper's Bazaar (photos below). Whether it was for publicity ("Alice in Wonderland" comes out on March 5!) or ego-stroking, the results are fabulous. I think Hayao Miyazaki is completely in touch with the child's dream-state that we all have, while Tim Burton is in tune with the child's creepy-crawly nightmare-state that we all have. I love them both for it.

Left: Louis Vuitton (dress, hairpin, and necklace), Gucci (belt and booties).
Right: Jean Paul Gaultier Atelier (gown, by special order), CC Skye (cuffs), Yves Saint Laurent (pumps).

I think it's a play on "Alice in Wonderland," perhaps the Mad Hatter, who has orange hair in Tim Burton's version. I love the giant bones. I love the moody sky with the bright flowers.

Atelier Versace (dress), Alexis Bittar (necklace), Giorgio Armani (gloves), Louis Vuitton (boots).

Don't the props look like imaginings from "The Nightmare Before Christmas"? While I love the photos, I don't like the flat lighting, I feel like it should be moodier. And the clothes work, but are not ever, EVER pieces that I would want to own. Or even try on.

Left: Salvatore Ferragamo (coat), Tao Comme des Garcons (dress and shoes).
Right: Rodarte (jacket and gloves), Phi (pants), Nicholas Kirkwood for Rodarte (boots).

Probably my favorite photo. I think that Edward Scissorhands looks fantastic, broken, frail, all the things that made the character so weird and lovable and repulsive. Moody sky and red, red flowers really help this one, though again, I'm not a fan of the flat lighting.

Left: Yohji Yamamoto (pajamas and slippers).
Right: Oscar de la Renta (gown), Calvin Klein (bra).

A lovely cross between "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Alice in Wonderland," with Tim Burton as Jack Skellington as Santa Claus and a woman in the role of the Knave of Hearts. Aesthetically, this looks like it could be in "Alice in Wonderland."

Nina Ricci (gown with jacket and boots), Carolina Amato (gloves).

Perhaps this one is the Queen of Hearts? With a little "Corpse Bride" thrown in? I love the orderly rows of flowers and the incongruously giant skeleton. No garden is complete without an enormous skeleton dangling over the roses!

As far as clothes go, I love the gown. It's definitely a gown and not a dress, and while ruffly, not reminiscent of flamenco. I like gowns with jackets when done right, it's a nice contrast.

Giorgio Armani (sequined top and gloves), Emilio Cavallini (lace bodysuit), Rigby & Peller (briefs), Yves Saint Laurent (shoes).

Nothing to say. I don't like the clothes or the backdrop. I do like the ribcage, but that's not enough to save this one for me. The fact that someone actually made a lace bodysuit makes me sad. Please, please, can we leave the 80's where they belong? In the past?

Jean Paul Gaultier (jacket, top), Balmain (jacket (bottom) and skirt), Shona Heath (headpiece), Wolford (fishnets), Nina Ricci (boots).

I know people don't agree, but I love these shoes. Well, the idea of these shoes- I like that they have no heel, for some reason. Fashion is magic!

I even love the ratty bunny ears, with the orange hair poking out.

What I do not love is the model's left hand. It looks like something is protruding out of her middle, alien-esque and supremely unattractive.

Tim Burton, able to make fun of himself. I like the clown costume, it looks like a toy from "The Nightmare Before Christmas." I love that movie.

I also like how it looks as if Tim Burton's just slain the skeleton he's standing above.

The backdrop was ugly in the previous lace bodysuit picture, and it's still ugly now. What is the point of that thing?

Chanel (dress and hat), Atsuko Kudo (latex stockings).

I don't like this one. All the beiges and yellows clashing with the orange hair ... and washing the whole photo out. Ugly. There's a haute way to work with twigs and weeds, but this ain't it.

I kind of want some latex stockings, though. How they would be taken off, I have no bloody blue.

Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci (dress and sandals), Philip Treacy for Alexander McQueen (headpiece), Gerbe (tights).

I love the mummy but not the ... emu person thing. I love the peachy-pink roses, the skeleton-as-purse, and the fact that even mummies can accessorize.

Alexander McQueen (dress, hat, boots), Giorgio Armani (gloves).

This one is so outlandish that I love it. I think she's the Queen of Hearts? Perhaps in mourning, after she chops off her husband's head?

Dolce & Gabbana (dress, bra, briefs), Cornelia James (gloves), Wolford (tights), Yves Saint Laurent (shoes).

This has a lovely, almost sephia look to it. The blacks are dusty, the roses are peach rather than red. Even the hair is less violently orange. It's a Tim Burton version of a vintage portrait, I think.

Ralph Lauren Collection (cape and gown).

"Corpse Bride" and her skeletal husband. Beautiful.

Plus, she has a CAPE. Is there anything better than a CAPE?? (Unless you're a superhero, of course- Edna Mode would not approve!)

I like to be inspired, and while words are always good (I read a lot for this express purpose), there's something about photos that serves a completely different part of the brain.

I love that I am working on Tim Burton's movie right now. Hopefully I remember this a few months from now when I'm at work around the clock!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fixing! With Potential!

The word "potential" is so dangerous. "Potential" implies hope, optimism, and a future. "Potential," to me, is the equivalent of buying property.

When a friend begins dating someone new, what's the word used when trying to politely tell her how you really feel about the loser? "Oh, he has ... potential."

When a friend starts looking for an apartment to live alone for the first time, but can't afford anything in a nice neighborhood so ends up in East L.A., there's that word again. "It's so ... cozy! And it definitely has ... potential."

When in a bar with a desperate friend that needs a rebound or has such myopic beer goggles on that her judgment has flown completely out the window, she will invariably pick that one dude in the place that has nothing going for him but potential.

Those are a lot of associations to pack into one word, albeit a three-syllable word.

One of the most evil crimes that potential has committed is that of the fixer-upper. You know- girl meets boy. Girl thinks boy has potential, but he needs a little shine around the edges. She wants to fix him, because he has so much potential! He could be so great if only he applied himself! She will be the one that polishes him to a spit-shine and makes everyone else realize that this boy? He is perfect! He has lived up to his potential!

Oh, the dreams of the obliviously stubborn. They're fun to mock, aren't they?

I don't understand this compulsion to fix others. Why are you dating that person if you want to fix them? They are the same person that you met and decided you liked. Why are you trying to change that? Wouldn't that mean that the person you met isn't the same person anymore? Is this just another form of self-sabotage that we all indulge in because we want our relationships to fail because really, deep down inside, we're all terrified of commitment?

In a word, yes. Whether women do it because they genuinely want to help or because of some misguided mothering instinct, we are all guilty of it at some point in our lives. Nagging is never a good word.

Men aren't exempt, though. While women try to "fix" the way their men behave, speak, dress, keep the house, chew food, or fold laundry, men try to "fix" women by "fixing" problems. Typical conversation:

Woman: Arrrrrggggghhhh!
Man: What's wrong?
Woman: I hate my job, there's this guy that just--
Man: So quit.
Woman: No, that's not what I'm saying, there's this guy that says--
Man: Want me to beat him up for you?
Woman: Arrrrrggggghhhh!!
Men don't understand the concept of whining for sympathy. They don't exercise it to the extent that women do, so they can't possibly see the use in complaining when there's no plan of action following the gripes. "This dude at work sucks. Let's go slash his tires."

Women, rather than resorting to fistfights or even catfights, will try to talk through their frustrations and anger. Both genders can't be gung-ho and macho, after all. We'd be a civilization at war with ourselves then, even more so than we already are.

I find the idea of "fixing" a spouse or significant other to be quite funny. Like "potential," "fix" has so many connotations in my little brain.

A woman can "fix" a man by chopping off a certain part of his anatomy (hopefully figuratively, but we all know it's happened literally before).

A man thinks he can "fix" a woman with the same ease as he can "fix" a broken sink. Neither ends well- tears, screams, appliances flung across rooms with brutality in mind, and a call to a professional (plumber or best friend) are always necessary.

People try to get their "fix" from whatever they are addicted to. And everyone is addicted to something- think that having 60 pairs of shoes is normal?? No. Think that your collection of 200 DVD's is typical?? No. Of course, there are the usual addictions as well- alcohol, drugs, chocolate.

I've decided that, for myself, I will continue to complain heartily to my girlfriends (I'm sorry, girls). They know what to say to me, how to talk me down. I will complain to boys only about things they understand and can deal with, such as traffic (seriously, boys, why do you talk so much about traffic?? Is it the cars? Because you all love your cars so much??), drinks being too weak, or how lame that restaurant/bar/club is.

As for men- since I am not one, I have never been privy to a real conversation between them. I assume that those discussions aren't so much talking as sighing about the antics of their women.

Hey, at least there's one thing we can all agree on: duct tape fixes everything.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I have changed significantly over my lifetime. I know for a fact that I was one of the most painfully shy children ever born. I flamed into a giant pair of blushing cheeks whenever anyone not in my family addressed me, whether it was at school, in a store, or even in my own home. I had very good grades except in any class involving public speaking. I didn't even like to be in a concert, surrounded by other kids holding instruments, because I thought I could feel someone in the audience staring at me, criticizing me.

Near the end of my junior year of high school, I remember watching one of my friends during math class. She joked with the teacher, something inconceivable to me. That was a small but very momentous minute of my life: I knew that in order to "succeed," whatever success meant to me at the time, I had to get over my fear of people and fear of being judged.

From junior to senior year, I tried to break out of my shell. It was easier than I expected, mostly because my high school went from seventh through twelfth grades, which meant I had known most of my class for that entire duration. My graduating class was only 165 people, which isn't a hugely intimidating amount. In retrospect, I am so glad to have made the conscious decision to stop being shy in high school rather than in college.

College, at the Art Institute, was a whole different creature. The weird students, all older than me, and their bizarre clothes, hair, shoes, piercings, tattoos, they overwhelmed me. I regressed a bit, turned inward again. My friend, who I recently moved back in with, helped me turn outward again. She brought out the brashest, brassiest part of me. I banished my demons once more and joined in with "regular" society.

Every time I start a new job, I start inching my way back to that shy student. After a few months, I start poking my head out of my shell and try to fight back my trepidation. Okay, to be honest, it's not a few months, it's usually a year. Yes, I need a YEAR to get over my crippling fear of people. Don't judge me!

I always manage to get help in socializing myself. At my first job, it was Carlos. He influenced and colored my life more than anyone else so far, excluding family. He put me at ease, made me laugh, helped me befriend everyone else there.

At my second job, it was Carlos.

At my third job, it was Carlos.

We worked together a lot. Weirdos, both of us.

I don't know how he did it, but he just slid into my life, past my defenses, and made himself at home. I have not been the same since we parted ways- even though it was my choice, the feeling that remained was decidedly not selected by me.

During my third job, I met people that I remain friends with today. They are close friends that will meet my children, should I ever have them. They have been with me through a lot (mainly the dissolution of my professional relationship with the company- it was like an acrimonious divorce, but I didn't get alimony), holding my hand, providing shoulders to cry on (read: rant and rave), handing me drinks when words and screaming weren't enough. They saw me through my eventual disenchantment with this industry, which I believe is akin to a little girl slowly realizing that Prince Charming? Really just Joe the Plumber with a crown.

I credit my friends with a lot. They deserve it.

My problem lately is that I don't have such a friend at Sony (yet). I know that person is around ... somewhere. But where? And why aren't they here yet? Though I have been here since last November, I still feel like the new kid in school, the foreign exchange student that doesn't get the inside jokes and doesn't know the lingo.

The most disappointing thing, to me, is that I thought, up until a couple weeks ago, that I'd met that friend. It was a sufficiently funny story- we met in Santa Monica, nowhere near work, and discovered that we worked for the same company- coincidental, accidental, unconventional. I like to meet people in odd ways, have a strange conversation with them, hit it off.

We did usual friend-like things in the usual places. The friendship was progressing swimmingly. I thought to myself, 'Hmm. This might be the person that helps me get over whatever remaining fear I have about Sony. Good, it's about bloody time!'



Nope, won't work. I don't know what happened, exactly. But I don't think we're friends anymore. I know some people get into a new relationship and completely disappear; I'm happy that I don't generally have friends like that. Maybe this one is like that? If that's true, it's better to know now than find out later, after we've become closer friends and abandonment-via-dating would hurt me more. It's still left me perplexed, though.

And, in a way, this experience has made me a bit unhappy at work. I don't know what to do when I'm either fighting with or just not getting along with people that I see in the workplace. It confuses and frustrates me, which makes me angry, which then makes me lash out at others (ahem, such as my sister or my neighbors).

Anxiety. This all leads to anxiety.

Anxiety, I think, leads to heavy drinking, which is the cause of many bad things. I'm not at the point of heavy drinking (yet), but contemplating it. Idle thoughts about tequila are not healthy.

It's amazing how much of an influence friends can have. Family, it goes without saying- they are blood relatives, know you better than anyone else possibly can, and are able to push your buttons effortlessly. I know this from experience- having a sibling just a year younger than me taught me a lot. But I didn't expect that my friends would have this sort of pull over me. It surprises me every single time.

Luckily, one of my Rhythm + Hues friends decided that we needed to have a little time together and pulled me out of my self-pitying mope. He is fantastic and I love him to death, and he was exactly the dose of wonderful friend that I needed yesterday to restore my faith in people and give me my mojo back. (If you're reading this, I cannot for the life of me find your blog! What's the URL??-- edit: here's my lovely friend, here! And his lovely artwork!)

Between the Frenemy and the Almost-Friend, I'm sure there will be banshee-wails and/or beaming superlatives blogged soon.

Meanwhile, someone pour me a drink.


Monday, September 14, 2009

R.I.P. Fawziya Ammodi

I believe, for the most part, that I know what cultural differences are. I think that I recognize them fairly readily and am pretty accepting of viewpoints foreign to me. Coming from two opposite cultures helps, of course, as does the fact that I have been educated (as well as the U.S. could provide) and take interest in a wide range of topics.

One thing that gets me every single time I see it is oppression via brute force. In this day and age, with the iPhone providing stock market stats, CNN blaring news 24 hours a day, and the internet promising instant access to everything and anything, I find it amazing, impossible, that people are still tortured, forced into unhappiness, or even killed. I find it amazingly appalling that these victims are being used and abused by their families rather than sworn enemies or escapees of insane-asylums.

The issue of child brides has been around for years and years, and I know that there are many countries that still cling to this (antiquated and horrible) tradition. It first came to the forefront of my buzzing little brain last year, when I read an article about Nujood Ali, who was just ten years old at the time.

Nujood's parents married her off in February to a man in his 30s whom she describes as old and ugly.

Her parents said they thought they were putting her in the care of her husband's family, but Nujood said he would often beat her into submission.

Nujood then turned to her family for mercy.

"When I heard, my heart burned for her; he wasn't supposed to sleep with her," said Nujood's mother, who asked not to be identified.

But, initially, she also told her daughter she could not help her -- that she belonged to her husband now.

Nujood's father, Ali Mohammed Ahdal, said he is angry about what happened to his daughter. "He was a criminal, a criminal. He did hateful things to her," he said. "He didn't keep his promise to me that he wouldn't go near her until she was 20."
I can and do blame her parents for what happened to their little girl. She was beaten, tormented, and raped by someone old enough to be her father. She was abused at a time in her life when her biggest worry should have been grades at school and games with friends.

Her father makes me laugh. Really?? Your ten-year-old's thirty-something husband PROMISED you that your daughter wouldn't be touched for an entire decade? You're shocked, SHOCKED, about your son-in-law's conduct? Your son-in-law who is probably your own age, if not older??

What is the mentality of such a culture?
Many times girls are forced to marry older men, including some who already have at least one wife, Oxfam said. According to tribal customs, the girls are no longer viewed as a financial or moral burden to their parents.

"There is always a fear that the girl will do something to dishonor the family: She will run away with a guy, she will have relations with a boy. So this is always the phobia that the families have," said Suha Bashren of Oxfam International.
Is that not ridiculous? For fear that their daughters will "dishonor" their families, they are married off before even going through puberty. For fear of something that hasn't happened, may never have happened, these girls are being put in terrible situations.
In Yemen, there is nothing new or extraordinary about Nujood's story because children have been married off for generations. The country's legal minimum age for marriage was 15 till a decade ago, when the law was changed to allow for children even younger to be wed.

But what is most unusual is that this young girl took such an intensely private dispute and went public with it.

Nujood said she made up her mind to escape from her husband, describing how on a visit to her parents' home she broke free and traveled to the central courthouse across town and demanded to speak to a judge.

"He asked me, 'What do you want?' And I said, 'I want a divorce.' And he said, 'You're married?' And I said, 'Yes,'" she recalled.

What unfolded in those few days in April gripped the country on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

Nujood got her divorce, but based on the principles of Islamic Sharia law, her husband was compensated, not prosecuted. Nujood was ordered to pay him more than $200. The human rights lawyer who represented her donated the money.

But for this determined spirit, it was still a sweet victory.

"I did this so that people would listen and think about not marrying their daughters off as young as I was," she said with a shy smile.

Now back at the family home, she said she won't go outside to play -- that all the attention bothers her. Some still condemn the young girl for speaking out, believing that she shouldn't have challenged convention.

Human rights advocates said it will take more than a generation if this practice is to change in Yemen for other children.
Yes, yes, I'm sure there are the "good" examples. Girls that are married off to men twice their age, too young to be in love, but at least they aren't raped or beaten. What an ideal life for every girl to look forward to! What great playground conversation!

"My husband hit me yesterday with a cricket bat, at least yours doesn't do that to you."

Wow. That's the life I always envisioned for myself. Fairytale ending to a very short life, no?

The reason that I looked up the story about the 10-year-old divorcee was an article about Fawziya Ammodi on today. Fawziya, a 12-year-old, died during childbirth. Another Yemeni girl, too young to drive a car or have a drink (and hoo boy, would I need a drink if I was in her shoes), stuck in a terrible relationship. I cannot imagine that she willingly consummated her marriage to a 24-year-old man.
While it was not immediately known why Fawziya's parents married her off, the reasons vary. Sometimes, financially-strapped parents offer up their daughters for hefty dowries.

Marriage means the girls are no longer a financial or moral burden to their parents. And often, parents will extract a promise from the husband to wait until the girl is older to consummate the marriage.
This girl was in labor for three days and bled to death. That is no way for anyone to die, much less a child bride who had to grow up far too fast.

What really breaks my heart is the fact that this little girl, had she and her baby lived, would have been a child trying to become an adult and become her own person while she raised a whole other little person. How is that possible?

I cannot even fathom me, at 27, having a baby right now.

What else has to happen, who else needs to die, in order for something to be done about this? Not just in Yemen, and not just for the abused girls. Any girl, any person, should have a choice and a say in what happens to them. That's all I want for people. Choices and opportunities.


Monday, September 07, 2009

Happy Birthday, 엄마!!

September 5 (this past Saturday) was my mother's birthday.

Happy birthday, 엄마!

Best momma ever, mine.

Her own birthday, but she cooked up a feast for us all. I provided the cake and she did the rest, including one of my favorites, jap-chae (잡채, sometimes spelled chapchae or jabchae). It's a noodle dish, generally eaten at room temperature. (I didn't take pictures of the other dishes, as they're just, you know, ordinary.)

For Saturday's version, spinach, onions, imitation crab, and eggs were included. There's usually some kind of meat and sometimes kamaboko, but not this time. When I make jap-chae, I add whatever's handy. I thought the red onions and the green spinach made for a very pretty dish.

The original plan had been to go for a family outing to Disneyland. However, due to some unforeseen circumstances (26 houses in the area lost power and my parents were kept up all night long while workers tried to fix the problem, with every dog in earshot barking their faces off), the parents were very tired. We opted instead to go to Downtown Disney and watch "G-Force."

Why a children's movie, you ask? Well, my beloved mother is easily frightened and generally only likes funny or dramatic movies. She didn't want to watch anything else that's out right now, so "G-Force" it was!

It was actually really cute, though the edit was different than I remembered it being (when did the cuts get SO SHORT??). The parents enjoyed it well enough. Perhaps Dad didn't, but he knew better than to grouse on his wife's birthday!

At Downtown Disney, taking a breather in the shade- it was hot!

Father of mine may not have picked out the flowers, but at least there WERE flowers in the house. Several different kinds, but my favorites were these very vibrant orange lilies.

I'm finding that I like bright colors more and more (in my old age), where I used to only really like white, black, and grays.

Delicious cake from Honey Bakery, which makes the best. cakes. EVER. If I ever get married, I am getting my cake from Honey Bakery, even though they aren't the most ornate or beautifully decorated things.

It's Labor Day here in the States today, but I don't get a reprieve from work- here I am, blogging and drinking coffee at my desk.


Friday, September 04, 2009

What?? Huh?? Confused!

I find myself on this crazy up-and-down path lately, and it's making me a little queasy.

Trying to blog something (anything) while in this headspace is like ... what I imagine it would be like to try and shave a cat that's hopped up on Red Bull and catnip. Not good, in other words.

The gist is basically that I am amazingly unmotivated (professionally as well as personally) and would like nothing better than to stay, all day long, snuggled up on the Tempurpedic that I am currently sleeping on, surrounded by twelve pillows, my sketchbook, fourteen books, and my phone. Doesn't that sound delightful? No TV, no music. Just me, wallowing.

BUT NO, I am at work, struggling to keep myself going, struggling to keep moving forward ("just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swi-i-i-i-iming"). There's a really disturbing paradox at play here, which I believe many Koreans (Asians in general, perhaps) have experienced and will continue to experience:

I want to do nothing. Yet I want to be recognized for doing something. Therefore, my two conflicting desires work against one another as I am caught in the middle, fighting like a fish in a net.

The way that I appease both sides of myself is pretty simple- spurts of time during which I work very, very hard and other times when I do nothing. Nothing, I say. Nothing at all but breathing.

I'm not talking phases here, I'm talking literal spurts of time, from ten minutes to a few hours. I can't seem to keep up a consistent middle-ground pace, so I bounce (frenetically) from one extreme to the other. It's crazy.

This ping-pong action describes not just my physical habits as of late but my emotional state, as well. I'm maniacally up, then maniacally down. I imagine that this is what a pregnant woman must feel like, helpless in the face of mood swings that feel like inevitable natural disasters.

The worse part? I have NO EARTHLY CLUE as to why I am vacillating like this! I didn't used to be this way, I promise.

Until I figure out how to even myself out (perhaps a lobotomy?), I'm sure blogging will be spotty. Much like my mental health.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair

Literally- literally- the instant I hit "publish post," my best friend texts me. I should never say that "I have nothing exciting going on in my life to report," because it's like the universe and God want to prove me wrong.

My friend has been up in the Bay area for a month, and I have missed her terribly. There were a few reasons she left L.A., including (but not limited to) her family (she grew up in the suburbs of San Francisco) and her boyfriend (he works up there, they've been doing the long-distance thing for one year out of the two they've been dating- I introduced them, I take full credit, thank you very much).

I've been holding out hope and secretly praying that something happens to make her come back here. Perhaps she moves in with the boyfriend and he turns out to be a slovenly wreck. Perhaps her entire family decides to up and move to L.A. (fat chance). Something. Anything.

But no.

She has been offered a job up in the Bay area.

She is abandoning me.

This is atrocious.

I'm going to be left with very few friends at the rate this is going! What if I'm left with no one but the Frenemy??

My other best friend (I have two, plus one sister) is going to start her master's next year, probably in San Francisco (what is the appeal of that city, people?? STAY HERE!), at which point I will be inconsolably bereft.

Depressing thoughts, far too heavy for a Tuesday afternoon while the hills around L.A. are burning down.

I'll have my sister and my mother, and even the Frenemy, if she ever decides to start speaking to me again (still no word on that front). My two best friends, though, will not be here.

I don't know what "best friend" means to guys, but for girls, it's a sacred title. Okay, not "girls," but really "me."

I'm a great acquaintance. I'm good at organizing parties, corralling people in restaurants and bars, and making inane small talk at concerts. Several couples have met because I introduced them to one another or they were at a party that I invited them to. (You know what they say, the shoemaker's daughter runs around barefoot?- the matchmaker's always single.)

But I'm not good at making real friends. Real, lasting, "be a bridesmaid when I get married" friends. I have one for life, one that I will never doubt- my sister. Growing up with someone just a year younger than me provided me with a lifelong cohort, for which I am eternally grateful. I really do feel sorry for my parents- I was only six months old when my mother got pregnant again! Because of their suffering, however, they gave us a closeness that a bigger age gap may have made impossible. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)

I didn't meet my best friend (that still lives here for the moment- incidentally, we're living together this week) until college. We were two of the very few girls majoring in animation, and while we weren't fast friends (I thought she was crazy, she thought I was boring), we became very close friends, able to complete each other's sentences and generally thinking the same things at the same time.

(Weird that if I had said the above about a boy, it would have been gag-inducing, yet when it's about best friends, no violent physical reaction.)

That was back in (gulp) 2000, and we've stuck with each other through the drama and insanity for the past nine years.

My best friend that's moved far, far away to the cold and foggy world of S.F. I met while we were both working on "The Golden Compass" three years ago. She and I ended up working together and living together- we didn't fight, still haven't fought. Amazingly drama-free.

Just thinking about being without these friends is making me feel vaguely nauseous and lonely.

Maybe I need a pet.


Happy September!

Alice in Wonderland” is going swimmingly, thank you for asking.

Funniest thing that I type on a daily basis: “balls reference.”

Weird, no?

Best thing I've heard someone say this week (and it's only Tuesday!):

"I'll get you some of those ass files, they should help."

That is all, carry on! I have nothing exciting going on in my life to report. (Unless anyone really needs to read about my whining insecurities, which, let's face it, don't even interest me.)