28 September 2005


I am sad to say that I lost the "name the dining center" contest at my music school. "Beeth's Oven", the strongest entry I submitted, wasn't chosen. Sometimes, when caught in the clutches of extreme self-pity, I like to imagine the worst possible situation. I think this ill event mandates such grieving. I bet my ballot was thrown on the ground, stomped on, and belittled in front of all the cooks, the workers, and heck, even the vegetables and the cereal bar. Or, maybe, as my therapist assures me, the cooking staff "just didn't get it". Either way, my tears could fill a river (see above).

The dining center wizards picked "Cadenza Cafe". I know, "Cadenza Cafe" - it's foolish, it's nonsense, it's generic, it's ridiculous. That's what I think too. Curiously, the winning entry was submitted by a cafeteria worker, so I'm pretty sure the contest was rigged.

It appears to be the beginning of the end for our school's eatery. First, they replaced the solid colored plates with plastic rainbow plates, and then proceeded to paint large black electric guitars, french horns, and music notes all over the walls, so as to make the servery look more "cool". They got rid of the belgium waffle machines with the treble clef embosser in the middle. Not only do our coffee mugs not insulate, but I'm convinced they actually suck the heat out of the drinks. There's no more hummus in the salad bar at all. I have to beg for soy milk. Crawl on the floor for a Boca burger. Riot for romaine. And, to top it all off, they named the dining center "Cadenza Cafe".

May you rest in peace, "Beeth's Oven". You shall find a cafeteria worthy of your name.

25 September 2005


One night this summer, my friend Tami, four of her other friends, and I took the ultimate plunge. We drove to Atlantic City to "live it up". It might not have been my first choice of places to go, but I hadn't seen Tami in awhile and wanted to spend as much time with her as she was moving away. I had never been to a casino before in my life.

So, we arrived at our first casino at around 11.30 p.m. We ventured in, and before we reached the floor, I looked to the right and saw a line of red chairs. In them were seven people, waaasted, slumped over, and trying to sober up. I was tempted to take a picture of the scene, but before I was able to get my camera out, Tami had the same idea, whipped hers out, and shot a picture of the drunkards.

We walked onto the floor, and I could not believe my eyes. The sounds of all the slot machines coalesced into a low, mesmerizing hum (somewhere around a middle C). This, combined with the blinking lights, made me feel as if I was in a psychedelic sound and color field created by some 20th century abstract film guru. We passed by one lady who sported a sequined vest of poker chips and playing cards. She even had a hat to match. I really wanted to capture her fashion statement on film but was too busy staring at all the fancy light fixtures. So, again, Tami took a picture, and then we ran away.

We moved on to one of Donald Trump's casinos, and I was "feeling lucky", so I was tempted to play a $0.25 slot machine (I was only going to put a quarter in). Then, I remembered how greedy and self-absorbed I think Donald Trump is, and I didn't want him to see any of my money. So, instead, I abstained.

The amazing thing is that they serve you free drinks throughout the course of the evening at the casinos. I took full advantage of this by ordering coffee, two black russians, and one white russian, for diversity. I was pretty excited about not supporting Donald Trump's casino while concurrently lapping up his liquor reserves and tipping the nice waitresses instead.

Other highlights of the night included :

I saw a dealer who looked just like the tall creepy man from Charlie's Angels (see left).

A crazy man stole 10 dollars from Tami's purse. He was wildly intoxicated and completely denied the whole thing. We called security over, and he handed over all the money, still denying the incident.

We met a security guard who told us that Trump is not allowed to gamble in his own casinos in New Jersey. HA.

There were men pushing people around in rickshaws on the boardwalk. I can't remember the last time I've seen a rickshaw. This sight was very intriguing to behold after my intimate encounter with the complimentary drinks, courtesy of Mr. Trump.

23 September 2005

Beeth's Oven

The string players said they were "practicing their orchestral excerpts", but we all know that's a lie from the pit of hell (or from the pit of the orchestra). The singers said they were on "vocal rest", but that wasn't true either. The pianists said they were practicing for the upcoming concerto competition. That too was a decoy. In their practice rooms, the composers were scribbling on staff paper what looked like musical notes. But, they weren't musical notes at all.

This week, all the music students were scheming. Scheming and dreaming. But, mostly scheming.

You see, we had a "name the dining center" contest at my music school. The winner gets an iPod, so the stakes were pretty high. Seeing that none of us have money to buy an iPod, there were a myriad of entries for the contest. Everyone tried to pass it off as if they weren't even thinking of submitting. But, we all knew better. The ballot box was bursting at the seams.

My friend, Jared and I took the liberty to peruse through the ballot box to see some of the entries. We figured tonight would be our only chance, as today was the last day of the contest. So, like surreptitious nimrods, we crept up to the table and dismantled the box after dinner.

Here are some of the entries we found :

D.C. al Fine (D.C. for "dining center")
Jermaine's House of Funk (Jermaine is one of the dining center workers and always plays funk music)
The Passing Tone
Bach's Bistro
The Maestro's Baton
Encore Eatery
The Green Room
(I like to refer to this one as "The [why does it look] Green Room")

My friend Cory made these up after the contest ended, unfortunately :

Kodaly's Kuche
Haydn Go Leek
Josquin't Wait to Eat Some Greens
Schnittke's Schnitzel
The Serial Bar

I made these up after the contest ended, too :

Lights, Camera, Food!
Telemann's Tandori
Rhapsody In Stew
International House of Prokofiev
Messiaen's Mess Hall
Schoenberger's Grill

I actually submitted a few, but I really think my best one was "Beeth's Oven". I sort of have high hopes of winning, but I can't be too sure. These contests are really competitive. Last year, I entered a "name the fish" contest at a local coffee shop. The unnamed fish was a bright orange beta, so I thought I'd name it "Beta Carotene". All the workers at the shop seemed to like it, but I'm pretty sure it was all a facade, because I never did get a phone call saying that I won. It was all laughs and smiles until they dismissed my entry.

I know the competition's stiff, but I'm holding out on this one. Beeth's oven is pre-heated and ready to bake.

22 September 2005

Seacrets of the Deep

18 September 2005

133 Things

Because after I hit 100, I just couldn't stop.
  1. I can drive from Philadelphia to Boston without using the bathroom once.
  2. U2 is my favorite band.
  3. I enjoy moaning when I stretch.
  4. I think that autumn is my favorite season.
  5. I like saying autumn instead of fall.
  6. I can fall asleep anywhere, anytime.
  7. I want to be a better listener.
  8. I enjoy saying, "let's be honest."
  9. I don't have any allergies.
  10. I collect glass with etched polka-dots.
  11. I think polka-dots look very happy.
  12. I get a sore throat almost everytime I move or travel.
  13. I don't usually swear, unless I say "badass", but that has a good connotation.
  14. Hosebeast, superfluous, and fastidious are some of my favorite words.
  15. I've never smoked a cigarette or taken any drugs.
  16. I love dry red wines.
  17. I usually don't like to whine.
  18. My right ear is slightly higher than my left ear.
  19. I'm really good about keeping in touch.
  20. I wish I was European.
  21. I am 100% Asian (half-Russian, half-Pakistani).
  22. I like black russians, as in the drink. I don't know any Russians who are black, but I'm sure I'd like them too.
  23. Sometimes, I walk into a store and pretend I'm British.
  24. Sometimes, when I say "sometimes", I really mean "always".
  25. I have a crush on Sting, Pierce Brosnan, and Viggo Mortenson. I always will.
  26. Once, I had a crush on a guy with a mullet. But, it wasn't in the 80s. It was maybe in 2002.
  27. I like to think I was one of the fans who helped Mariah Carey come out of her breakdown.
  28. I play the piano, but I really wish I had learned the violin or 'cello.
  29. Somebody stole my wallet when I was in Quebec in seventh grade. They got away with forty dollars.
  30. I am slow to anger.
  31. One of my all-time favorite songs to sing along to is Jill Scott's Golden.
  32. I obnoxiously harmonize to most songs I hear when people aren't around.
  33. I buy things based on product design.
  34. I believe in intelligent design.
  35. I love dogs and think that cats are OK.
  36. I would attempt to do a lot more if I knew I couldn't fail.
  37. My initials backwards are "ASS". So are my dad's.
  38. I try my best not to wear logoed clothing.
  39. I'm an ESTJ.
  40. I dumpster dive and trash pick.
  41. I believe that it's the moral responsibility of the majority to raise their voice for those in the minority.
  42. I hear sounds kinesthetically, as tactile gestures.
  43. One of my favorite lunches is chicken salad with swiss on toasted raisin bread.
  44. I love the ocean.
  45. I live wholistically.
  46. Sometimes, I accidentally wink at people.
  47. People often ask me if I'm Greek.
  48. One of the most exciting things to me is knowing what gets others excited.
  49. I have an embarrassingly low alcohol tolerance level.
  50. I am impatient.
  51. Coffee owns parts of my brain and maybe my soul.
  52. In third grade, I lost a sterling silver and turquoise turtle-shaped ring on the hill by our school playground. I still think about it every once in awhile.
  53. If I could do one thing forever, I'd probably travel.
  54. I want to be a better listener.
  55. I've never had a headache.
  56. I tear up when I hear Horowitz play Schumann or read "The Giving Tree". The latter reminds me of my grandfather on my Russian side.
  57. My Russian grandfather was the most giving person I've ever met.
  58. One of my favorite things to do is consolidate.
  59. I laugh in my sleep.
  60. I am an idealist.
  61. I am very extroverted but cherish time with myself.
  62. For me, fetal position is the most comfortable position in the world.
  63. I love puns.
  64. My dream is to one day be associated with The New Yorker.
  65. I think that people who are passionate about what they do are wonderfully contagious.
  66. I am too easily impressed with titles and degrees.
  67. I love people-watching.
  68. I like to think that I have a good sense of style.
  69. I've read commencement speeches at all three of my graduations thus far (eighth grade, high school, college).
  70. I forgive easily, but I've also learned to be careful.
  71. I've been told I have good pheremones.
  72. I am extremely ticklish.
  73. My sister can tickle me from across the room.
  74. I've never had a pedicure.
  75. My wildest dream is to sing the descant to every verse of a hymn one week in a church service.
  76. In high school, I consumed too much beta carotene in a short amount of time, and I turned orange.
  77. I don't have a TV at school, so I plan my workout schedule around Ellen just so I can go to the gym and dance with her on the elliptical machine.
  78. I am highly organized. Some examples include:
    1. My living space
    2. My documents
    3. My glove compartment
    4. The fact that I'm saying that I'm organized in outline form
  79. I seek the good in people and believe it's there.
  80. Like Bono, I believe in grace over karma.
  81. I shook Bianca Jagger's hand at an Amnesty International protest.
  82. My sister is my best friend.
  83. I value functionality, but I love fancy things too.
  84. I got 10 stitches in my forehead when I was hit with a field hockey stick during practice by a girl named Tara. My sister told me that I was "going to die".
  85. I used to dislike Rufus Wainwright, but now I think he's amazing.
  86. Some of my favorite color combinations are : turquoise + brown, orange + grey, light pink + brown, chartreuse + pale yellow, olive green + turquoise, and deep red + pale blue.
  87. I read graphic design blogs.
  88. I always give credit where credit is due.
  89. I love a good bargain.
  90. People at school think I'm a singer.
  91. I feel egocentric writing 133 things about myself.
  92. But, I kind of like it.
  93. My favorite quote is : "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." Aesop
  94. A close second is : "Take it easy, but take it." John Cage
  95. I truly believe that if we loved our neighbor as ourselves, our world would be a better place.
  96. I can trace my musical lineage to Beethoven. So can most pianists.
  97. I smile a lot.
  98. I'm smiling now.
  99. I love watching rainstorms.
  100. I bought my car solely for its moon roof and stereo system.
  101. I once had a reoccuring dream about the "Wheel of Fortune" wheel and Native Americans.
  102. I used to be obsessed with dolphins.
  103. I've never picked my nose and eaten it.
  104. I've picked my ear and looked at it though.
  105. I like lemon anything.
  106. I love most people.
  107. I've never heard anyone with a better sense of rhythm and groove than Ruben Gonzalez.
  108. I think VH1's "I Love the 80s" and "I Love the 90s" are the most brilliant series of shows ever created.
  109. I really wish the 80s would last forever.
  110. My current favorite 80s-sounding tune is Modest Mouse's 2004 hit, Float On.
  111. I hate it when people write "80's" as if the 80s were possessive. It's not. It's just a decade, typically utilized in adjective or noun form. I hate it when they do it for "Cds" too.
  112. I try not to act it, but I'm sort of nerdy.
  113. I love 85% cocoa dark chocolate.
  114. I used to really be into NBA basketball.
  115. I enjoy the smell of rubber cement and gasoline a lot.
  116. Growing up, I attended Russian Orthodox Church with my mom, went to a Quaker school, and attended mosque on holy days with my dad.
  117. Peter Jennings was my all-time favorite journalist.
  118. I don't think that blondes have more fun.
  119. I wanted to leave change in a tip bowl that read, "If you fear change, leave it here." But I didn't.
  120. I like it when I blow my nose once, and it all comes out at once.
  121. I love shoes and purses.
  122. Sojourners, Oxfam, World Vision, and Amnesty International inspire me.
  123. In first grade, I asked my teacher Mrs. Flynn how to spell "I".
  124. Interestingly enough, I went to the grade above me for reading class in elementary school.
  125. I really do think that The Onion is "America's finest news source".
  126. I once used Aveda's Firmata hairspray as perfume because it smells so good.
  127. Sometimes I procrastinate.
  128. When I attempt to not procrastinate, I remind myself that not everything in life has to be an emergency.
  129. I believe that life's better with integrity.
  130. I'm trying to bring back the word rad with a vengeance, and it's sort of working.
  131. One of my favorite songs to wake up to is Sting's A Thousand Years.
  132. I google myself.
  133. I love using a bag from the summer and finding beach sand in it.

15 September 2005

They'll Never Tear Us E-Part

So, I got a new e-mail address, and I've had to unsubscribe to so many things, such as newsletters, advertisements, current event updates, etc. I mean, I'm signing up for them again under my new e-mail account, but it's still sort of sad to see them all go. It's like saying goodbye to that car you've been driving all the way down the highway with. And, all of the sudden, they turn off the without any warning. No signal, no short horn beep, wave out the window, wink, no nothing. Well, this is the same thing. It hurts to see those messages, "We're sorry you won't be shopping with us anymore." I just want to reply back, "Yes! I will continue, just under a new guise." But, the automated e-mail tells me that I cannot respond back. Behold, I grieve.

Here were some of the e-mails that graced my old inbox :

We have received your request for unsubscribing you from the jcrew.com email list. This was especially hurtful, as it was just after they sent me an e-mail inviting me to "meet the tweeds". I really wanted to meet the tweeds, but I just didn't get a chance. I'm not even sure that I wanted to anymore, though. The breakup between J.Crew and me was rather abrasive.

You have been successfully unsubscribed to The Onion Weekly Dispatch! We are sorry to see you go. Do not reply to this message. Even if I wanted to express some sort of explanation such as, "I'm changing my e-mail address," they'll have none of it. They don't even want me to reply.

Thank you for your unsubscribe request. Red Envelope was happy to see me go.

For Sojourners, the creator of my favorite weekly publication, I wrote in the subject line - "Remove - I changed e-mail addresses and signed up from there - Thanks!" - because I didn't want them to get the wrong idea.

Crate and Barrel - Your email address will be removed from our mailing list. Please visit us again soon at www.crateandbarrel.com. If you have any questions, please contact us. My question: "Do we really have to end it like this?"

West Elm - This is to confirm your request that you do not wish to receive promotional email messages from us. Me: "I really do! Just at my other account."

Banana Republic was really big in that they gave me the option to unsubscribe. Now, that's freedom for the consumer. While we enjoy letting you know about the latest arrivals and events at Banana Republic, you have the option to unsubscribe. Your e-mail address has been removed from our list, but we hope you'll continue to visit us at BananaRepublic.com.

Another "thank you" for removing myself from the mailing list. Target said, Thank you. We have received your request.

13 September 2005


This summer, some friends and I were talking it up, and before we knew it, we mounted a conversational chariot and drove right into the Mount Olympus-sized topic of Greek culture. Oh, we spoke of The Iliad, the Adriatic Sea, gyros, the Trojan horse, ionic columns, bronzed skin, the Cyclops, hummus, the usual. We ruminated over how the heck Zeus bore Athena from his head by himself.

Then, with a straight face, I informed everyone that the only difference between the Greek and English written languages is the font. I had the distinct pleasure of being taken seriously for at least seven seconds before I laughed aloud out of fear that a large eagle would come down and start devouring someone's liver.

11 September 2005

Four Years Ago, Today

In memoriam.

10 September 2005

Get Way Up On That Dance Floor

Last week, I caught someone dancing in the elevator as the doors opened for me to get on. He seemed a bit embarrassed that I saw him, and he started to stop, but I encouraged him to keep going. He did, and I joined him until he got off at the eleventh floor. And let's be honest, I crazy danced all the way to the fourteenth floor, where I got off. Because sometimes, you just have to dance.

08 September 2005

Environ[mental] Concerns

It is hard to wrap one's mind around the horrific turmoil of Hurricane Katrina. The devastation is awful, it being the second deadliest hurricane ever to hit the US, next to Hurricane Gavelston that rocked Texas one hundred and five years ago today and killed an estimated 8,000 people. However, not all casualties are accounted for, and Katrina could very well be the most deadly natural disaster to ever hit America.

It is the first natural disaster since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake to devastate an entire city. The mayor of New Orleans mayor C. Ray Nagin, ordered a first-time mandatory evacuation of his city. The problem is that 25% of the residents of New Orleans don't have access to vehicles. 23.7-28% of all families live below the poverty level (the city has a 50% child poverty rate), and these are the residents who rely on public transportation the most - something not available to them at a time of disaster, even if they had the money to pay for it. The elderly could've been too weak or frail to leave. The poverty issue was detrimental in this situation - the poor's means of transportation out of the city were shot due to the storm or lack of money. Their houses are also less sturdy, as they can't afford to live in the highlands like the rich. As columnist Eugene Robinson noted in The Washington Post, "To be poor in America was to be invisible, but not after this week, not after those images of the bedraggled masses at the Superdome, convention center and airport. No one can claim that the post-Reagan orthodoxy of low taxes and small government, which does wonders for the extremely rich, also inevitably does wonders for the extremely poor. What was that about a rising tide lifting all boats? What if you don't have a boat?"

Some residents who had vehicles chose to stay, as they had withstood other hurricanes in the past, such as Hurricane Camille. Katrina was indeed a culprit, but her damage wasn't nearly as widespread as what happened only shortly after she hit the coast. It was the levees of the lake breaking last Tuesday that allowed the lake to seep into New Orleans that reeked the most havoc. The fact that Katrina's fury didn't infect all areas could account for people still not the city to stay in New Orleans. And this is potentially why there were so many people still in town when the levees broke. And, it is this flooding catastrophe that have could've been prevented.

I share the frustration over the lack of supplies and relief reaching the people who need it the most. I mean, it's over week now, and people need not be starving and suffering. I blame Katrina, and I am disappointed in the US government. Not so much in the latter's response to the relief efforts (although this certainly is cause for speculation), but in their lack of action prior to the hurricane.

So often, issues concerning the environment get pushed under the rug. We'd rather spend money on enlarging our already ridiculously pregnant military, giving the rich more benefits, or finding ways to cut food stamps. In reality, environmental problems can come back to haunt us. The amount of smog that floats over Los Angeles creates health problems that inhibit children from playing outside during certain parts of the day. As Sarah notes in her blog, the polar icecap melting around the North Pole reflects 95% of the sun's heat, but the ocean water around it after it all melts will absorb 90% of that heat. Interestingly enough, when storms such as hurricanes travel over water that warmer than usual, they can intensify very quickly. Katrina was flowing over the Gulf of Mexico which was heated two degrees above its average temperature. Again, it wasn't necessarily Katrina that directly caused all the damage, but the flooding as a result of her passing.

New Orleans is a city nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River. It sits below sea level, and the wetlands that used to surround the city provided a natural buffer against the potential of such flooding. However, at an egregious rate of twenty-five square miles a year (the size of Manhattan), wetlands have been destroyed for the sake of building malls, homes, and roads, leaving cities such as New Orleans extremely vulnerable. The flooding in the South is just another example of a lack of environmental stewardship and concern.

I now refer you to The Cognoscenti, one of my favorite blogs. Graham, its author, has an incredible take on this and all situations in general. Give it a read; you won't regret it. What he's been saying the past few days makes the most sense concerning where our frustrations and attentions shouldn't and should be focused:

"As I said in my last entry I feel very strongly that criticism...Especially politically motivated shots at the President, is counter productive at a time when the nation needs to be united. People are still stranded in New Orleans desperately requiring political leadership."

Concerning the flooding though, Graham notes:

"Despite repeated warnings that a catastrophic hurricane could hit Louisiana, the Administration and Congress denied full funding for hurricane preparation and flood control. Recently released figures show that $27 million was requested by the US Army Corps of Engineers to pay for hurricane protection projects around Lake Pontchartrain, which was countered by the Administration with a miserly offer of $3.9 million. Congress eventually provided $5.7 million. Michael Parker, a former Republican Mississippi congressman who headed the US Army Corps of Engineers, from October 2001 to March 2002, has said of the funding shortfalls, 'I'm not saying (New Orleans) wouldn't still be flooded...but I do feel that if it had been totally funded, there would be less flooding than you have.'"

Graham links to a transcript of of Tim Russert's candid Meet the Press interview with the Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff. The latter claimed that the administration was surprised by the breaching of the levees.

MR. RUSSERT: I want to stay on this because this is very important. You said you were surprised by the levee being broken. In 2002, The Times-Picayune did story after story - and this is eerie; this is what they wrote and how they predicted what was going to happen. It said, and I'll read it very carefully: "...A major hurricane could decimate the region, but flooding from even a moderate storm could kill thousands. It's just a matter of time. ...The scene's been played out for years in computer models or emergency operations simulations...New Orleans has hurricane levees that create a bowl with the bottom dipping lower than the bottom of Lake Pontchartrain. ...The levees would trap any water that gets inside - by breach, overtopping or torrential downpour - catastrophic storm. ...The estimated 200,000 or more people left behind in an evacuation will be struggling to survive. Some will be housed at the Superdome, the designated shelter for people too sick or inform to leave the city. ...But many will simply be on their own, in homes or looking for high ground. Thousands will drown while trapped in homes or cars by rising water. Other will be washed away or crushed by debris. Survivors will end up trapped on roofs, in buildings or on high ground surrounded by water, with no means of escape and little food or fresh water, perhaps for several days."

That was four years ago. And last summer FEMA, who reports to you, and the LSU Hurricane Center, and local and state officials did a simulated Hurricane Pam in which the levees broke. The levees broke, Mr. Secretary, and people - thousands...

SEC'Y CHERTOFF: Actually, Tim, that...

MR. RUSSERT: Thousands drowned.

Graham also refers to Senator Lanrieu from Louisiana. In The Guardian's news blog, writer Mark Oliver sites a Washington Post article which reports: "Two months ago, Senator Landrieu told an audience of congressional staffers and scientific experts that more federal funds were needed over the next 20 years to restore Louisiana's wetlands. She 'warned that intentional rerouting of the Mississippi river over the past century, coupled with rising sea levels due to climate change, had eroded Louisiana's natural buffer against massive storms'.

'This is not Disneyland. This is the real deal,' Landrieu said, and in the event of flooding, 'The French Quarter could be under 18 feet of water. It would be lost forever.'"

I conclude that that if we had made the environment a priority, then things would be a bit different in New Orleans. Reconciling a situation that we ourselves made negative by such actions as causing climate changes via global warming that create high sea levels and more impetus for Katrina, destroying our natural wetland buffers, and rerouting the Mississippi River - is our duty and responsibility. I mean, it's as simple as cleaning up a glass of juice when we spill it.

My thoughts and prayers are with anyone affected by the tragedy.

06 September 2005

Paula Cole

I feel very connected to Paula Cole. I mean, we're not related or friends or anything, but the connections are just a little bit too creepy to write off.

First off, I know someone named Paul Coleman. And after my trip to Texas, I have a pretty good idea as to where all the cowboys have gone. I too believe in love to be the center of all things, and today, I was in line at the bookstore, and I just didn't wanna wait. When I worked at a coffee shop, we actually changed all the lines to Where have all the Cowboys Gone? to fit in with our environment. The award winning song transformed into Where have all the Lattes Gone?, and we sang lines such as, "I'll go make the mocha, while you take out the trash. Where is the blender lid? Where is the whipping cream?...Where have all the lattes gone?"

Paula took voice lessons from the same teacher as my friend in Massachusetts. Last summer, I lived across the street from the house she grew up in, and my window conveniently looked right into her front door. My host family showed me pictures of their kids in school plays with Paula. I met her mom and we talked a bit, and finally at the end of my time there, I told her just how much I love her daughter's music. She smiled very nicely and assured me that she'd let Paula know.

At the beginning of this post, I wasn't really sure I had any connection to Paula, but now I'm pretty sure I do. Now that we're BFFs (best friends forever), I'm hoping she'll want me to be a back-up dancer for her. I'm not sure if she even has back-up dancers, but it's never to late to start.

Paula, if you're reading this, let's talk soon.

03 September 2005

Flight or Fright

My awesome funny friend Ryan (above) was flying from Dulles to Richmond. Right before take-off, a flight attendant asked, "Ok, can we get four volunteers to move from the front of the plane to the back in order to even out the weight distribution?"

01 September 2005


This is another entry whose title bears a two-fold meaning.

First off, the salon across from my school asked me to be a hair model when I went in to make an appointment for a four-month overdue haircut. My hair was used as the training grounds for another salon in Boston, and it was kind of fun to get complimentary cuts. This salon, though, wants me to be the model for a new line of hair highlights. Mind you, I have daaaark brown hair.

So, the owner asked, "Would you be interested in being a hair model for our new line of highlights? The representative is coming in and we need someone to demonstrate on."

"Oh, maybe!" I said. "Can I pick the color?"

"Actually, the highlights have to be blonde. But they can be sort-of subtle."

At first, I was really nervous, but then, I got all excited and imagined that my hair would look like J-Lo's. "Um, I'll give you a call in a few days," I told her. But, secretly, I said "yes" on the inside. I'll be calling pronto, I think.

For the second meaning, here are some other highlights from my Texas trip:

I saw a sign outside of a house that read "Yard Sail".

Highlight number two...One afternoon, we went to a fishery, and I actually fished because Jon, my brother-in-law, informed me that the fish didn't feel anything when they got hooked since they don't have nerve endings in their mouths. I ended up catching a small catfish (to the right is a picture of catfish that my sister Maria took at the fishery), and Jon unhooked the squirmy little thing and gently tossed it into the water. After our aquatic adventures, Maria and I ventured to the restroom to wash our hands, and lo-and-behold - they had sand soap there. So, we both took full advantage of the texturized soap and not only washed our hands, but also exfoliated as well. There we were in the fishery's bathroom doing face masks.

OK, this one may or may not be a highlight. I have a severe fear of scorpions. I think they are heinous and evil. I remember going to Arizona when I was just a youngin' and shaking out my shoes every morning to make sure the venomous beasts didn't bite my feet. Um, and as I found out, scorpions live in Texas.

Apparently, if you live in places where creatures such as scorpions exist, you're supposed to spray a six foot perimeter around your house and three feet up the foundation with normal bug spray. In addition, spraying the outsides of doors and windows is helpful. All this spraying is not necessary when you have the commercial grade poison that Maria and Jon acquired called Demon. You can only purchase it with a licence, and Jon claims that even when he just uses only a little, he sees bugs within a pretty large radius just drop dead. They even have to keep their dog in for awhile afterward (That's their dog, Chase, above. He was digging in the backyard, hence the dirt around his nose.)

The scene: Maria and Jon hadn't sprayed Demon in awhile. One afternoon, Maria came out of her bathroom and rather calmly said, "There's a scorpion in the master bathroom. Do you want to see it?" I hesitated, but then realizing that it's healthy to confront my fears, I shuffled in almost a fetal position to her bathroom where I slowly uncovered my eyes and watched Jon coax the wretched creature into a lidded container. It was the kind of bad that you keep on watching even when you don't want to. And the kind of bad that you keep on recounting to try to get over your fear of yucky insects with stinging tails and pinchy claws.

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