Friday, July 27, 2007
Having emerged after a decade of what I'll evasively call my overlapping serial monogamy, this brand new bag is just something we carry so that we say we can carry it. Eleven months of the year "polyamory" is a multisyllabic way of saying that we are monogamous but think the politics of unorthodox intimacies are to be admired or coveted by way of secret repeated viewings of Shortbus. In fact, what we practice is not polyamory but a discrete and doctrinal coupling that involves brushing our teeth together, taking turns making the tofu and kale dish we scrape into our faces at least three nights a week, watching lackluster Netflixed movies on a little television together, and crawling onto preordained sides of a 42 sq. ft. pillowtop surface every night. This makes us perfectly happy, save for the screaming matches we get into about congestion pricing, and we do it over and over again while waiting to get bored of it.
One month of the year, though, I board a plane with my dog and jet off to California and leave my lover and her preparatory piles of Japanese stationary covered in neat .03mm pen markings in our noisy shitbox of an apartment. I say that it is because six consecutive summers in New York has driven me out to the temperate chaparral and/or I want to be able to watch Ratatouille with my grandmother; she says that I leave because I'm trying to run away from our relationship. Our separation allows us the space to break each others' eggshell hearts, with flexes of our polyamorous muscles, and then try, with webcams and phone calls, to piece our humpty dumpties back together again. We argue until the very witching time of night, then wring our hands in our sleep. Is a prohibition on sleepovers a burdensome condition or just something we need to have in order not to self-destruct? May our extrarelationship relationships flout our shared politics? Are we allowed to lie and say that we are "out shopping for backpacks with friends" or "celebrating John's birthday" when there are a few unexplained hours of absence? (Answers: the latter, no, and yes.) These requisites each need to be discussed for hours. The conclusions dissatisfy both of us.
I am discovering than my amazing powers of mind control cannot control my jealousy nor my desire to beat a person named Ed in the arms with a baseball bat. Is it wrong not to want that hairless twat tupping in my bed? I should think not, but apparently it is. With our teenage hearts throbbing we have made this mess and now we have to figure out some way to make it bearable. I'm ten years too old for this! Oh god, peace on earth.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
I can tell her she's the only one for me and she can whisper kaddish and eventually we will together be e pluribus unum.
I'm losing it!
Monday, July 23, 2007
Also, if you didn't study, the answers to the multistate portion are as follows: ABBACADDABA over and over again. Don't thank me yet!
Sunday, July 22, 2007
This is about as much fault as I will admit. Boo has what has been clinically diagnosed (by a smart, intuitive ASPCA trainer) as On-Leash Aggression. I am not making this up. You can Google it if you don't believe me. Basically what it means is that he is sweet and great and playful with other dogs when he is off-leash, say, at the dog run, but when his leash is on he feels less in control of his surroundings and barks at other dogs. He has never bitten another dog (though he has been bitten three times without provocation), nor does it ever escalate into anything more than loud barking. I'm a responsible owner, I've taken him through training school, he's earned his "Canine Good Citizen" certificate, and I keep him on leash on the street.
Okay, so this is what happened. I was a block from my house when Boo barked at another dog. I apologized and progressed onward toward my house. One of the two men started walking after me screaming - yes, already screaming - "That dog is vicious, I'm going to call the cops, we're gonna have that dog put down." I kept walking because this is a Brooklyn-developed strategy for dealing with crazies - ignore them, and they will leave you alone. But this man kept following me, and then he whipped out his cell phone and started threatening to call the cops. At this point, I turned around to see a 6'2", 200 lb. angry white man, shoulders aggressively lowered, stalking toward me, and I said, "Leave me alone, I'm just trying to get on my way." He said, "I'm not going to leave it alone, your dog needs to be put down, and I'm going to call the cops." (Bear in mind that ALL that had transpired at this point was that Boo had barked at another dog. I think it is not absurd to suggest that all dog owners have had another dog bark at their dog. Boo was attacked once by an off-leash Rottweiler and I literally kicked that fat bitch off him, e.g.) I tried to keep walking but at this point both of them, both tall, white, and over 200 lbs., were following and haranguing me down the block, even though I informed them that their behavior was incredibly menacing and much more threatening than whatever my dog had done.
Because, yes, male readers of this blog, if there are any, need to know this. You should not chase a woman half your size down the block while threatening to kill her dog. This is harassment. The two men were incredibly, immediately belligerent and coming at me as if we were about to have a barfight. No one should have to be taught that this is scary behavior. So I ran across the street to where my neighbor was unloading her grocercies and I said, "I'm sorry to bug you but these guys are following me and I just wanted someone to see." My kindly neighbor, interrupted in her suburban workaday, turned around and said to the guys, "Why don't you just leave her alone?" Crazy agitated aggressor said, "I'm going to call the cops on her! That's why!" I was clearly just trying to leave the situation and go home. The dogs were already separated and disinterested in each other, though because there were two aggressive roid ragers bearing down upon me, Boo looked a little disconcerted. Kindly neighbor responded, "She's trying to leave, why don't you just let her go?"
I figured these two men - at this point it became really just one lunatic doing all the shouting - were dangerous because of how quickly they'd gotten angry and I was concerned that all the anger mismanagement would lead to some sort of violence, and I decided that I should just run the block home and they wouldn't be able to find me once I ducked into the garden. So I bolted down the block. They were two balding paunchy guys and I easily could have put enough distance to disappear between myself and them (1) had I not been wearing flip-flops and (2) had I more than the length of one straight block to make my getaway, but you know what? They chased me. Yes, I was sprinting down the block, scared out of my gourd, bawling, and screaming "DAAAAAAADDDDD!!!!!!!" as loudly as I could (I didn't scream "Help!" because the fight-or-flight instinct in me, apparently, only produces the word "Dad!"), and these two men were chasing me. Yes, I live in Brooklyn and when people chase you this is not to be taken lightly. I saw the man in the back speaking into his cell phone while running after me, and I heard him say, "Yes, this vicious dog is running away!" and I decided that I would take my chances, go back to the original spot where the kindly neighbor remained witness, and talk it through with the cops rather than look like I'd done something wrong. I kept my distance from them but returned back the original spot.
They were talking to the 911 dispatcher, and so was I. When the 911 dispatcher asked me, "Wait, what do they look like? Black? Hispanic? White?" and I said, "They are two old white guys." The two old white guys overheard and said, "What? That's fucking RACIST! That's FUCKING RACIST! You're RACIST!" I realized that I had been trying to reason with lunacy and that anyone whose anger had so consumed his mind that a simple and legitimate description of his appearance would send him into a raging hysteria was very dangerous and my instinct to run away was probably a right one. I shouted back at them that the dispatcher had wanted to know their race, and the when the dispatcher asked me how old they looked, I said both of them looked like they were in their late sixties, even though one looked to be about fifty. (Why did I say this? Well, honestly, I just wanted to insult them. I felt no qualms about insulting them, especially when the cops showed up and they pointed a stabbing finger at me and said, "It's that girl!" I am almost 27, but my anger over the condescending "girl" moniker was nicely counterbalanced by the obvious inequality of two grown-ass white men sicking the cops on a girl.)
Four - FOUR! - cop cars showed up instantly, to my great relief. Now, it is true that I am currently suing the NYPD, and worked last year for a place built by suits against the NY Dept. of Corrections, but I think I can both disagree with excessive police force and appreciate when cops do their jobs well, and I have been very lucky that my two run-ins with the Palo Alto PD - the first being when I was chased, yes chased, down a similar block half a mile away by a mentally-incapacitated man who winked at me and followed me off a bus when I was thirteen - have been very positive. So the cops show up, make the two guys stand thirty feet away from me, and then ask us questions. It becomes pretty clear that the cops think the men are insane for (1) calling them, only to report that the reason for the call was that my dog had barked at their dog and (2) charging their 400 lbs. of fat white flesh at a 135 lb. woman and then accusing her dog of being too aggressive. One of these steroid-addled pots calling the demure canine kettle black situations, I think. Later, when I went to drop off flowers at my neighbor's house to thank her for her assistance, she said, "It was obvious that the cops were on your side." I was additionally vindicated when Roid Rager #1 yelled angrily at the cops and gesticulated menacingly at them. I think nothing makes cops believe your story of animal aggression less than when you start acting aggressively at the cops.
While RR #1 was talking to the cops, I turned to look at RR #2, who was standing about 30 feet down the street from me. He was staring off into the distance, probably imagining himself as a stoic George Washington statue on a noble equestrian mount, so I said to him, "You probably think you're right, but I know you're not going to feel good about yourself when you get home. Just think about what it feels like for a woman to be chased by two big men down the street." He didn't acknowledge me but I take solace in knowing that his eternal punishment will be to run from an angry throng of Newark lesbians.
An officer then came over to me and explained to me that there was no violation, my dog was leashed and had only barked at, but not bitten, the other dog, there was not even anything to report, and that I was free to go. I dried my wet face on my wet shirt and walked down the block. Even as I left, RR #1 was angrily gesticulating with his meaty hands in the air above a small woman cop, who stepped away from him and held her hands up in a Whoa! gesture. I went home, pretended like nothing happened, and then drove to Ruth's house so I could cry to her about getting chased by two ugly men.
The younger one looked like the guy on That 70's Show:
only even more unattractive, if that can be believed.
I really suspect that race had something to do with this, or at least that if my neighbor had not been Asian, and the cop responding had not been Asian, then I would have been hassled for a lot longer than I actually was. I told my parents the story after I got home from hanging out with Ruth and Olivia and it set off a three-hour conversation about how they have experienced 31 years of chairs ergonomically curved for white people's girths, white cashiers serving the people in line behind them while totally not seeing them, white people not making room for them on the sidewalk, white people manipulating the law and the police to their advantage. We talked about TB Andy (Andy Speaker, that asshole who took his rare strain of TB on a transatlantic flight despite his quarantine) and how an Asian person would have been too scared to scoff at the law, and I explained to my dad how short hair was a choice and how I could wear a suit all the time and get respect, and we agreed that I need to make a lot of money and/or develop survival skills so that when the U.S. and China go to war, we can flee to Canada. All the U.S./China war stuff is hyperbole, of course, but it only stands as a proxy to my family's very legitimate, and daily affirmed belief that white people run and rule this country and we will never win fights against them. This, folks, is part of the reason why I'm a lawyer - so I can protect my family from native English speakers.
Anyway, the race politics of this blog are as always in a state of evolution, and new and old readers who aren't down may never understand. I hope some of this makes sense. Upon my parents' urgings, I have to go eat some good luck noodles and enjoy their company at the dinner table now.
Friday, July 20, 2007
(1) IMPORTANT: If you must blog (and I must! I must!) take your name off your blog and stop linking to it from your Friendster profile. Pretend that this makes you safe from scrutiny, and ignore the fact that anyone who wants to identify you in your blog could easily do so by looking a the pictures of your ugly mug or piecing together your identity from the fact that you identify yourself as a queer asiatique who went to a particular college is about to start her 3L year at a particular law school.
(2) Spend very little time and no money on EIW. Everyone gets a job, and all the firms are exactly the same, so it doesn't matter where you get one. You can apply for firms that sponsor splits with public interest places, like I did, but you can't let yourself be sorely disappointed when you don't get one, because sometimes it just doesn't happen. Don't spend the hours you have between interviews talking with other chipper kids about your interviews, because you will only be dismayed at how eager everyone is to work for a firm. Law students start aping law firm lawyers as soon as the prospect of $3,050/week salaries appear on the horizon, which means they become (or have always been) really chummy and boring. The chummy bores that populate law firms are discussed in greater detail below. So anyway, to survive EIW, get the hell out of there early and often, and bring The Great Gatsby to remind yourself that all the money in the world won't pull you alive out of a swimming pool filled with pink water that you're floating face down in.
When I say don't spend time on EIW, that means that you should not spend more than two hours selecting firms (don't research - they are ALL THE SAME), and you should not prepare for your interviews. They will all ask you the same questions: 1 - what did you do this summer? 2 - what was your favorite class? 3 - why did you choose this law firm? The correct answers are 1 - I rid myself of crabs, 2 - whatever class you got your highest grade in, and 3 - because I am very impressed by your litigation/credit/m&a/tax/real estate/IP practice/congeniality, no "yellers" here/schwag/dedication to quality, commitment, and dedication.
(3) Minimize callbacks. No one tells you about this, but your face will hurt after each callback because you will have spent 3-4 hours smiling and talking with strangers who you want to show your conviviality to, and smiling while talking hurts your face. It's also not exciting or fun to go sit in a cold office with people who look like they want to cry or run away.
(4) Alternatively, maximize callbacks in San Francisco. You can visit your family for free and have them get really excited by the sight of you in a suit, because for years they have dogged you and accused you of attempting to look like (1) a fat man or (2) a fat black man or (3) just a man because of your mannish, boxy build and attire and freshman (through senior) fifteen and your misguided attempt at developing dreds. Your mother will look on with pride and plot ways to tell Jason Lin's mother all about how her daughter will be filthy rich while Jason is a mere thumbprint on the window of the skyscraper of personal wealth, and your dad will encourage you to think about doing what you love while also secretly taking pleasure in knowing that his daughter will make enough money to buy her freedom should the war between the U.S. and China send us all into internment camps in New Mexico.
(5) Don't do the lunches or the dinners or the special "after you've been extended an offer" events they offer to you. Nothing tastes better than keeping your surly personality just the way it is. If you go to these events, you'll be terrified into to smiling and pressing flesh and meeting and impressing people. Cf. (3), above, smiling hurts your face. I say "terrified" because you will have already invested a lot of time into getting your $3,050/week job, and you will have heard lots of stories from OCS or your forebears about how to behave well so that you can keep that lucrative job, so you will be afraid to express the slightest bit of personality for fear that it will bring the house down. So even if the sashimi you are eating costs as much as a week's worth of groceries and is carved from the last tuna on earth, it will not taste good because you will worry that you are putting it in your face in too uncouth of a way and that a "partner" is watching to see if any of the tender tendons get spread out in an inextricable fan across your front teeth. In addition, food that costs a lot of money does not actually taste good. You can see my post of July 11, 2007, below, for a longer discussion on why expensive food doesn't taste good.
Also, the dinners are a waste of time and you would be better off spending those hours phonebanking for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
(6) Choose a firm that is reputed to make their summers work very little. Obviously.
(7) Choose a very large firm that hires more than 50 summer associates. The reason for this is that the more people there are, the less you will be noticed, so you can duck out of summer events and sequester yourself in your office and no one will care.
(8) Related to (7), and mostly for the ladies: wear extremely neutral colors and very boring styles. In other words, wear the same clothes every day. I have successfully worn black pants, a black sweater, and a black shirt every single day of the last two weeks. I'm not even exaggerating - the same black pants, shirt, and sweater. I change my underwear when I remember, but not my socks. Why can I do this? Because of (7): no one notices me. Also because you are not trying to impress anybody, so who cares? It helps if you are Asian, because I bike to work and back every day and therefore spend about half an hour a day sweating into the clothes, but because I create no body odors my clothes remain unaffected. But I can't imagine that if you weren't lucky enough to have been born Asian, that a couple squirts of Lysol, or whatever it is that you people use, into your pits couldn't take your stench away. Not changing your clothes also saves you a lot of money, especially if the one set of clothes you do wear was purchased by your mom for you at Mervyn's and was tailored by a Chinese lady in Sunnyvale who will do it for free.
(9) Again, avoid summer lunches and events and dinners and bar nights and whatever. You might want to see Shakepeare in the Park without making your lovely genderqueer lover wait in line starting at 7 a.m., but just remember: things that you ordinarily like doing are unbearable when you do them with people you don't like. We'll get to why you won't like your fellow summer associates in a minute, but remember that principle. So once again, delectable foods sour in your mouth when you have to endure conversations about people getting airplanes as graduation gifts, investment strategies, and Zagat's, and interesting cultural events turn into chores. You are better off scouring http://www.nonsensenyc.com/ for free weird bike jousts rather than going along with the other summers to the fancy things. One thing that helps is to take typhoid medication, or at least tell people you are taking typhoid medication, so you can tell recruiting that you don't do summer events because you cannot drink while on medication. Claiming religious reasons for teetotaling probably works too.
An additional reason for avoiding firm events is that you should avoid all associations that you cannot maintain. They want you to develop a taste for fanciness, and to become friends with people who live in excess, so that your standard of living will rise to a level that can only be maintained so long as you continue to work for a law firm. This is a trap. Avoid it.
(10) Law firm lawyers are unbearable people. Why? Because, once again, once you get a high-paying job, you get terrified of losing it. It's like omerta because there's no way to get out of the family once you're in it and so you really have to watch your back. Conversations must be centered on innocuous and inane subjects, controversy and fringe elements are to be avoided, and you certainly should not tell your fellow summers that you like to imagine yourself as a giant who can leave crater-sized footprints and eat deer by the fistful when you look upon forest landscapes. "I can put up with inanity!" you say, but you have to remember that what other people think are innocuous topics of conversation you will find to be incredibly offensive. E.g., an Indian man, the only POC besides me in the van yesterday, gets in the back of the van and says "I feel like Rosa Parks!" All the long-haired white ladies titter in the front. Why is this offensive? Because this is his way of saying, "Hey, I'm a very dark-skinned South Asian man, but I'm cool, I'm down with it, I can neutralize any potential friction the fact of my skin tone might engender by beating everyone to the punch - now it's okay to make jokes about race relations, okay?" It is doubly offensive because he thinks it's an innocuous topic of conversation. Also, when the white guys at the table say that "people are so stupid they wouldn't know to breathe if it weren't automatic," when they are at a Polynesian-outpost themed restaurant where every customer is white and every service person is a short, squat Mexican man or an East Asian man with a fobby accent, it is not innocuous cynicism but actually a manifestation of colonialism. People reading this who do not share my politics will roll their eyes, but the simulacra of the British East India Company was too close to home in that restaurant and the whines of the white man's burden was too thinly-veiled for me to ignore. Also, when that same white guy then asks you - and only you, the only Asian person at the table - to identify the beans in his soup, which he doesn't like eating, and you say, in a flat voice, "Mung bean sprouts," everyone else will continue merrily eating and not notice that anything offensive has transpired, but you will want to tap on his face with a spoon and crack it like a creme brulee.
The moral of (10) is that if you're a mean judgmental bitch like me and put great care into surrounding yourself with people who inspire you, then you will be really disappointed when you find yourself unable to quality control your boring-ass colleagues.
Okay, I'm too lazy to continue this list and also sure that I have violated cardinal rule #1 and will be fired for writing this. I also just got a bill from NYU's bursar telling me that I owe $22,038 for the fall semester. So the final tip I have for everyone is...
(11) Don't think that you're going to laugh all the way to the bank. That's NYU's job. Your job is to sob all the way home from the bank when you realize that the summer you thought you made enough to pay off your tuition will not, in fact, pay for even half of one semester's tuition. I scrimped and saved, folks, and I wore the same outfit every single day. I moved home with my parents and sublet my apartment. I swam at Rinconada Pool instead of paying for a gym. I waited until 2pm to eat the free leftovers in the cafeteria every day instead of spending $5.5o on lunch. Still I did not save enough to pay for one semester of Criminal Procedure and Evidence.
The real moral of the story, kids, is to prepare better for your scholarship interviews and to say more cutting things about Larry Summers. Real world experience, straight from the horse's law-talking mouth.
i am becoming verrrrrry good at being resourceful and creative in order not to be bored, because i am, to answer another question and kill two birds with one stone, currently working in a "law firm" where my main task appears to be to spend as much time in the fitness room watching "the dog whisperer" and a show in the discovery channel where a guy who looks/acts like mark kirby pretends to be an exterminator or one who shods horses or a pig farmer, or something like that, while jogging at a slow, anaerobic clip on the treadmill. to pass the time i have taken up crafts. i also make a lot of money at this boondoggle of a job, so every day i plot how i can spend about $5/night on craft materials. so i bought some solar garden lights at a hardware store recently - cheap! like me! $2 per - and ripped them open and decided to learn how to make LED sculptures and solar rechargable lights and give them to my friends. also i learned how to fold a wallet out of 8.5x11" pieces of tyvek. i realize now why my mom fills the house with crappy drugstore tschotchkes like the dewy-eyed ceramic easter bunny ornaments that say "HAPPY EASTER" on them or the chocolate santa clauses in ice cream cones that remain in their dusty unopened packages - she buys them because she gets out of work every day at 5pm and there is nothing else to do in palo alto (because my dad works til 8pm) except drive to crappy stores, browse the aisles, and buy things you don't need. also i've started drawing at work, which passes the time.
okay!!!! enough about my boring life. i am making myself fall asleep! there i go, i'm sleeping, now i just involuntarily passed gas because my muscles relaxed. i have this problem where i treat my office like it's totally a private space, so i do things like fart discreetly and quietly all day long, and then my co-workers come into my office unexpectedly to give me assignments or say hello and then i just wait and hope that the wind generated by the opening of my office door is enough to disperse all of the offending particulates into the upper atmosphere. WTF, deepa, THIS IS MY LIFE!!!!
Thursday, July 19, 2007
- Andrea Throndson, an early 40-something supernerd with a mouse-colored bowl cut and awful bangs, wearing a red, blue, yellow, and dark blue vertically striped rugby shirt, kneeling on a yoga pad with five people kneeling on pads around her, telling you in a very slow voice, "Naamaaaasteee." Hands are pilgrims. She wears thick, round glasses.
- Time lapse photography of some sort of "infrared" convection oven raising cinnabuns into bubbly fat blocks in seconds.
- Tim Allen and that fat bearded friend whose name I forget talking about a dead psychic. "That would explain the tardiness then, wouldn't it?" Laughter from the laugh track.
- Cheap graphics on QVC, followed by the ungrammatical commercial urgings of a white woman whose voice appears off camera. I know she's white because of the way she says, "But what a fantastic shoe." "Gorgeous and right on trend is the theme of what we have tonight." Oh, she's on screen now. She's a 30-something brunette in a scoop-neck aquamarine blouse made of rayon or nylon. She has a diamond that probably resulted in the deaths of 2,230 Sierra Leoneans on her ring finger. Now she's manipulating the textured rubber outsole of a "Markon Water Resistant Wedge Heel Suede Pumps," which is on sale at today's special value for $35.82. "Sometimes you have to save suede for that special occasion, and you pray that you won't get water on them?"
- A meathead with a British accent trying to cook an "18th century meal." The first step is to light a fire by hitting fire-starting rocks together. Now here is a shot of a bunch of white people in peasant garb, also speaking in British accents, watching the meathead attempting to milk a cow. This is a show that challenges British people to cook things under difficult circumstances. He is now learning how to spin meat on a mechanical rotisserie.
- John Leguizamo and Donnie (DONNIE??? My favorite NKOTB!) Wahlberg starring in some TV show being advertised on this channel.
- The first black man appears. He is in a gym, surrounded by basketballs.
- The next black man. It's "The Best Sports Period" - I think the real name is longer but I can only see those words on the sign they have posted in front of the panel of commentators. Is this show about menarche? They are doing a special outdoor beach episode and there are two blonde girls behind each of the four men. Their jobs are to stand around in bikinis looking better baked than Sunday roasts. "Coby Karl, Former Sonics Ball Bay" is the guest commentator, but he has some sort of giant bandaid covering the lower half of his chin. They are Hooters Girls, it has just been announced.
- Man: Getting ready for my test.
Inquisitive Child: What subject?
Man: Cholesterol! [flash to shot of Cheerios box]
- Rugged, Eric Roberts/Bana-esque tall scary man in a forest staring down a young white man who hands a book to him, and a very light-skinned black or possibly Latino woman with very, very plentiful gazongas.
- Bam Margera and Johnny Knoxville driving a golf cart at high speeds around a golf course. Now it has flipped over and Johnny Knoxville has narrowly missed breaking his neck. Now a big white guy has tore off tearaway pants and is dancing around Japanese people in a Japanese department store. The man blows his whistle. Now it's time to laugh at the small yellow people tolerating this funny, freedom-loving scofflaw. A tiny alligator bites Johnny Knoxville's nipples. I think I've seen this one before.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
(On the latter: I figured out yesterday how to turn a 5 oz. dog food can, a solar garden light, silicone chaulk, black foam, a screw, a key ring and a carabiner into a "candle" that you can clip to the outside of your backpack, so that it charges up in the daytime while you're walking and provides a pretty decent amber LED glow at night. I made a prototype yesterday. It works but it looks like trash because I only had a Swiss army knife to make it with, because I was sneaking around the garage after midnight trying not to alert my dad to the fact that I was playing with photovoltaic cells. Anyway, after the dog-shaped dog duffel, this will be the product that provides me with my early retirement.)So yes, I have problems playing with my peers because I prefer playing with my pliers. Blah, blah, blah, I'm such a big ol' lezzie and I even have the Norcal hippie highwater pants (see below) to show off the legs that would be hairy if I weren't Chinese and so pathologically leg hair-free. Navneet pointed out that I have succumbed to the fashion of the region, and she's right. In fact, I found myself coveting my friends' fleece hoodies recently, which is as we all know just a gateway to wearing tie-dyed dancing bear shirts
and Chaco sandals with multi-colored toe socks. I have not yet weaned myself from my longstanding, New England-affirmed belief that hiking clothes constitute cool clothes, even though during my one aborted attempt to jog in the South Bronx, at 10 p.m. on December 1, 2001, conducted in a polypropylene zip-neck and cargo shorts, I was laughed at by two hordes of school girls who laughed the laughter of hyenas presiding over a slaughter. This was also the run, if I remember correctly, where a boy yelled at me from across the street "You're gonna get ROBBBED!" and I saw a medicine ball-sized clump of trash and plastic bags roll just like tumbleweed against the shut metal grates of the $.99 stores of the Hub. Anyway, that should have been enough to kick my terrible fashion habits, but I was undeterred and to this day wear that zip-neck and think it's not too uncool.
All of this, of course, is just a way to bide time until I can afford to dress the way I really want to dress:
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
is what NYU looks like in my imagination. I have no personal animosity for the generally kind and well-meaning people at my school, but for god's sake, ORGANIZE YOURSELVES! Why are there three different manuals and innumerable downloadables and conflicting or redundant or tardy emails to tell us how to do one thing? Why do some forms go here and other forms go there? Instead of requiring us to watch/attend a meeting at which 440 nervous 25 year-olds think ominously about their futures, why not just spend some cash on a graphic designer who will make any one of the three manuals legible - ONE IS WRITTEN IN 10 pt. CENTURY GOTHIC!!!!!? Why does the checklist not actually have all the things we need to do? Is Diarmiud O'Scannlian a man or a woman or genderqueer or two-spirit or just a genderless shadow cast on the wall?
So, because like Albert Gore III I believe that those who are privileged with information must publish it for the hoi polloi, let me now publish my manual for applying to clerkships, i.e., the process that it would have been helpful to know about from the beginning...
Chapter 1: Selecting Your Judges
"I have chthonic, not "stellar," grades; an editorial position on a #193, not #4, -ranked journal; and whooping, not order of the, coif. Because of this I am told I have a sporting chance at landing a clerkship in the chambers of the traffic courts of Guam, and should focus on polishing the barnacled antikythera that is my ICWA brief and/or highlighting the summer I spent scooping lemonade slushies at the Vans Warped Tour on my resume to make myself seem like a more interesting candidate."
Does this sound like you? Well, let me step away from my not-at-all autobiographical hypothetical above and just tell you what I did in order to select a hundred or so judges from the 2,559 robed mages that comprise the federal judiciary. Because if you are at this point, you have received little guidance other than a thirty-page PDF that tells you to both apply widely and narrowly, focusing on either a type of court or a geographic area or a type of court in a geographic area or perhaps on 10th Justice of the SCOTUS Diarmuid O'Scannlain alone, and you could use some practical advice. I had to sieve the federal judiciary through progressively finer filters in order to arrive at my haphazard list, and this is what I did.
(1) I looked through the NYU book listing the members of the federal judiciary and circled places I wouldn't mind living. The problem with this is that I am unable to express a preference. This explains why it took me two hours tonight to decide which pair of quick-drying capri pants to buy at REI before settling, as I knew I would, on the most ill-fitting but wallet-saving pair. See, supra, Exhibit 1:
Note undesirable taupe color and extra fabric at crotch, allowing room for...growth? NB also chiseled musclature.
Anyway, the point of this digression is that I cannot decide worth shit, and found myself after filter 1 with a list of what is essentially all of the cities in which there are federal courts, except Hagatna, GU and St. Louis, MO. As this summer has demonstrated, I find the merely tolerable to be just fine!
(2) So, I filtered again. This time, I asked friends for their lists. Thank you, Tsedeye, Rose, and the two other people whose lists were forwarded to me but who never knew it. These lists totalled approx. 300 different judges, so it still wasn't too helpful.
(3) Then I decided to go through the letters A-Z of NYU's alumni clerkship evaluation archives. Here is where NYU can invest some money so that instead of posting 23 PDF files of 6 to 219 pages without searchable text, they can get an undergraduate computer science major to create a very simple text-entry searchable web database so that one could actually find someone rather than scrolling through 200 pages of a PDF, which would also save NYU the trouble of mailing out and PDF'ing all of those paper evaluations. Anyway, I went through all of these PDFs and compiled a spreadsheet of judges who (a) did not have sepulchral chambers and (b) who got positive reviews. This took two days and narrowed the list down to about 250, but doing this meant that I was ignoring the other 2,200 judges that NYU students had never clerked for. Also, my criteria for entering them into the spreadsheet were totally inconsistent - on some occasions, I would bypass district court clerkships in Newark because I feared that I wasn't good enough of a candidate, and on other occasions, I would contemplate applying to 10th Justice Diarmuid O'Scannlain. There was no possible way to keep track of all the reasons for filtering out the judges that I filtered, so this process seemed essentially like random selection.
(4) I didn't even bother to look at the SDNY and EDNY judges and instead just put down the 25 SDNY/EDNY judges that Tsedeye chose to apply to. I figured I shouldn't bother doing research on such a well-researched body of judges.
(5) I added judges based on the Social Change list, also more or less at random. One comment was enough to turn me off forever from a judge, so this was not so much deciding at random as it was deciding based on gossip.
(6) I added a couple more judges in WDLA because why not?
(7) I added all the judges whose last names were Asian - there were three.
(8) I read a list of cities to Stephanie over the webcam and crossed out places depending on her reaction. Albany got a "Yuck!", as did Kansas City.
(9) This left me with about 200 judges, which I narrowed down to 150 by cutting all the square numbers, factors of 13, and Fibonacci numbers. For good measure, I also cut out all Indiana, North Dakota, Maryland, and New Jersey judges, and all judges named "Jed."
(10) I turned my head to the left and squinted, and all names that were illegible in my peripheral vision were cut. All Scorpios were cut and Leos were moved up in my ranking. Baseball fans and history buffs were out, as were all judges whose names could be anagrammed to "I'm unsocial, and nadir" or "I'd mind a radical nun so." (I'm talking about you, Diarmuid.) I added all judges who lived in cities that were also people's names (Hello, my name is Eugene, Oregon) and cut all cities that topped out Morgan Quitno's survey of America's most dangerous metropolitan centers (sorry, Flint).
(11) I closed my eyes and pounded the keyboard at random until a Gmail window opened with James Nesbitt's email in the "To:" field, and then I attached a JPEG of myself in capri pants and sent it to him.
(12) I then modified my list the day after and sent an updated version, with 20 more PILC judges added.
Good luck, motherfuckers! I'm so glad I don't have to do that again.
Thai Elephant Orchestra
Elephant Sets Antelope Free
("She carefully undid all the latches with her trunk, swung the gate open and stood back with her herd.")
Elephant Shuns Jumbo Treadmill
This elephant research binge was started from one of my dad's paranoiac comments, this time about avoiding tsunamis when I am in Vietnam by carefully watching the elephants to see if they are running for higher ground. Are there elephants to be seen in Vietnam? Who knows! But the story about the elephant freeing the antelope makes me cry every time I think about it. She carefully undid the latches!
My friend Nathaniel Tan, a Malaysian citizen, has been arrested in Kuala Lampur, apparently for posting satirical images on his blog. We went to college together and played guitar duets in our co-op on late nights while avoiding our theses, so his arrest is a lot more shocking and meaningful to me than the hundreds of other free speech lockdowns in other countries that I more or less callously ignore. He is a smart and thoughtful and peaceful guy, so while I don't know the exact details of what happened, I trust that he has only been the target of political oppression and has not actually done anything that would warrant his arrest. He was held incommunicado for a couple of days and is apparently now being "remanded" for four days - don't know what that means in Malaysia, but I think he's still in detention.
Anyway, not sure what it does to post it here. Harvard folks can call (617) 576-6565 and try to get the Crimson to publish something about it, and anyone can send an email to email@example.com
and try to get the Committee to Protect Journalists to put something up on their website.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Anyway, I just spent four days making Stephanie a scrapbook and the final page of it is a blueprint of our apartment as it was on the evening of June 29, 2007. I'm attaching pics here because it took me forever to do and I'm worried that USPS will lose the whole damn thing in transit and all my work will be lost. The jpeg doesn't capture much detail but you get the point of it. If you hunch over enough to cover the whole page and sit with your back to the door, it's also a fantastic way to look busy at work while actually spending the whole day drawing.
Let's start with the thorns, then on with the roses. I do not like wasting money. I am too Chinese to enjoy expensive things. As Oliver Z. so succinctly said today, as we drove home from a perfectly lovely and frugal night of teetotaling and one $4.75 + $1 tip (note I kept the quarter) gin and tonic, for him and for me, respectively, "Five dollar food tastes the same as twenty dollar food." Which is why I found a $22 plate of sashimi to be offensive, no matter how geometrically avant-garde the plate that it came on was, and why I found the mandatory dinner at the partner's bachelor pad to be excessive. People have planes, Fiji Island-hopping vacations, personal chefs, and nannies. I am SO HAPPY to be a cheap fucking bastard who prefers the company of dogs to lawyers because if I wanted any of those things, then I would feel compelled to work my way up the corporate ladder and also to express polite awe at all the nice things that all the people higher up on the hierarchy have, and then I would be stuck for the rest of my life feeling afraid to feel how I truly feel, which is generally inappropriate at all times.
As it is, I just say things like "I am taking a vaccine for typhoid that prevents me from drinking!" (which is not, technically, untrue) and "I unfortunately have plans for the next 725 nights so I cannot make it to Santana Row for an evening of drinking with strangers made progressively less awkward by top-shelf liquor" (which is also not untrue, since I have plans to work on my reclusivity for the next 725, hell, 72,500 nights) - and I have successfully avoided all but one mandatory summer social event, and besides I attended that one with my dear sweet little Stephanie and we hid from the others and watched the otters by ourselves at the Central Park Zoo.
It's not that I think the people are incredibly bland and boring - I mean, I do think they are bland and boring, because one must make oneself that way in order not to rock any boats, but that's not the reason I don't want to hang out. I don't want to hang out because wasting money makes me sick. I'm serious, I feel ill putting a piece of gajillion dollar morsel into my mouth. I don't appreciate fine or fancy things - except you, my dear - I just think about how the value of those fancy things could pay for, say, rent, or a week of modest groceries at Food Bazaar with some produce from Chinatown thrown in for health, or a year of forced piano lessons for a hateful brat I will raise in the future. Anything else, besides fermented shit or thinly sliced shit or decanted shit. When you eat expensively, you are pouring your money down your mouth. Do you know what that is? You are literally turning your money into shit.
I also do not like smiling when conversing with strangers, or craning my head to look into the eyes of tall, blonde-eyebrowed men while having those conversations. The temptation to look at the eyebrow-apparitions is too great to overcome, and it is, I fear, the equivalent of talking at someone's boobs.
Now onto the roses - what I do like. I like, tremendously, being able to select one's social activities. I like that Sonia and Oliver and Connie and Connie's nice friend Sarah offered me an escape from the partner's apartment, which I looked forward to all night. In the bathroom of the partner's apartment, I slapped my face with water and actually did the F.Y.C. motion (Focus Your Chi, closing your fingertips into a bunch at chest level while breathing in) and made myself breathe quietly for a few seconds while thinking, "I can leave soon. I can leave soon. I can leave soon." And then I contorted my mouth into a yellowing smile and returned to scallops and shiraz at a canoe-shaped glass table. At the first moment I could, I bolted and met up with S & O & C & S at a karaoke bar in the Castro, where a nice gay boy patted me on the shoulder and said, "Great job!" after Sonia and I sang a show-stopping or at least just very embarassing version of "Listen to Your Heart" to a disinterested crowd of moderately attractive people. We plotted our MOKA performance, which will remain mostly secret on this blog so as to preserve the surprise factor, but which I will say will include rewriting the APALSA Constitution and/or crooning Teresa Teng songs, possibly with a country-western accent. Sonia, because she makes all other type As look like type Zs, has already committed us to a grueling practice and rehearsal schedule, to be executed without food, water, or stretching. Connie will apparently play the zither, and Oliver's main task will be to hate white people.
This is what I feel like every time I go directly from doing something I can barely stand to doing something I like doing: desperate love for the people who make the latter possible. The IRCers found this very amusing after I started my firm job because I suddenly began expressing eternal devotion, but all of it is sincere, friends. You put edges on otherwise dull days, and because of that I will always be grateful for your company. Thank you for not being boring-ass people!
Monday, July 09, 2007
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Saturday, July 07, 2007
[This would be the part of the song where I kickline with four Chinese-American girls named Wendy Lu, Cindy Wu, Sherry Chu, and Sandy Yu to stage left, where we disappear into elaborately staged chapparal simulacra and a shower of silicon semiconductors drown out the applause of a hundred thousand fleece-vest wearing engineers/mountain bike enthusiasts.]
Some observations about the Bay Area:
(1) Radio is more clearly designed for white people. Although I appreciate that on 99.7 FM I can hear Sheila E. and En Vogue hits fifteen years after they were en vogue, the rest of the tuner is dominated by alternative rock hits, also from fifteen years ago (it's not unusual to hear "All Apologies" followed by "Basketcase"), new butt rock (double bass drummed screamy metal with loud guitars on chorus effects) that sounds suspiciously like how butt rock sounded fifteen years ago, and old hip hop ("In da Club" is still on rotation). Since I am 5-15 years behind on musical trends, I guiltily like this retrogressive feature of this part of the country. Plus one can drive down Highway 1 singing along with noted homophobe/my secret celebrity crush Marky Mark, the less ugly Wahlberg brother, as he thuggishly commands you, in his Saugus-inflected accent, to "Feel the vibration! Feel it, feel it!" Yes, sir! How can you not like this?
(2) The fact that radio is tailored to white people, a little sleuthing will reveal, results from the fact that the Bay Area is comprised of a lot of white people and Asian-American people who have been assimilated into white tastes. There are also a lot of people who are not white or assimilated, but they have been covered by chapparal and/or live in East Palo Alto, or Oakland, or the backward facing seats on the Pittsburg/Bay Point-Daly City BART line, and only emerge to spray pesticide on the weeds in the spaces in the concrete between Priuses in the driveways of law firm partners who live in Portola Valley. Or at least, that's what it seems like.
(3) Richard, my brother, thinks it's funny that I have been blogging a lot about white people and race. Well ha ha fucking ha, Richard, it's still not as funny as the fact that you left 35 copies of BEAVER magazine from 1972-1979 stuffed in shoeboxes in the closet for me to discover when you left for college - what's funnier? Who's laughing now? Ha ha ha, pervert!
(4) You really can be much more active here. And I've stopped resenting it, and have fully accepted that perfect weather for 9-11 months of the year makes me much happier than the five months of frostbite, four months of inadvertantly erect nipples and damp toes, two months of unbearable humidity, two weeks of flash-floods, one week of snowblindness, four days of sunburn, two days of Coney Island, and one day of perfect weather that allows you to take a nice trip to Dia:Beacon with your awesome girlfriend if you guys don't miss the Metro-North and/or get arrested by NYPD for wearing yellow and black on the wrong day, that comes with living in New York. I'd rather just throw a little yellow ball for my little black dog on a big field fringed by the shadows of redwoods. Today I hiked through chapparal and intermittent Jurassic fog with my NYU pal Sonia, who never seemed to get cold or tired or whiny, even though I shivered and complained for 7.1 of the 7.2 miles we walked. And then we went and drank beers as we bobbed in a swimming pool in Redwood City ("Like Melrose Place, but we're much less attractive!" said Kathy) and got sick on Coke floats. I look at a map of the bay and there are a thousand spots to explore with Boo. Why? Why? Why would I not live here?
(5) I wish things were open later and the pizza here wasn't disgusting.
(6) I like living with mom and dad, especially when they look over my shoulder as I am Google chatting my lover and they look over my shoulder and say "What's that word? And that one?" I like that when I buy mason jars from Goodwill to convert into solar lights, my dad says that they could have been filled with poison because they were second-hand and forces me to bring them to the backyard and place them on the lawn and retreat fifteen feet and then aim the hose at high pressure into the jars. I'm not even being sarcastic - I find something very endearing about all of this. Today I said I was going to Vietnam in three weeks and my dad shook his head and said I should not go, then said I should not go unless I knew its history of resentment against Han Chinese people, and then said that he would teach me the history of Vietnam's resentment of Han Chinese people, who in fact might be Vietnamese people anyway. In the course of this education, he drew this map of East Asia:
I can make out the words "Afhan" and "Altaic" and "Nomad" and "Viet," lots of Chinese, some attempts at Korean, and then an amazing tangle of blue penstrokes that represent the movement of nomads and conquerors and war crimes across East and Southeast Asia. I am finding that I don't have to consciously conjure any patience for this, because it comes naturally, and I actually like hearing my dad tell me all of the history he has gleaned from watching South Korean soap operas.
I just took a break to give my dog a half hour massage. Most recent Google searches are "how to give a dog a massage," "dog massaging," and "Pacific Crest trail with dogs." Effleurage and Shasta, Google answers all of my questions.
I wish Stephanie were here because I would like to make out for five days and then go to Seattle. Wouldn't that be nice, darling? I'm sorry you are watching gunfights from our window in Brooklyn instead. Most likely they were not gunfights, but just loud reports that might have come from any variety of sources, like trash cans hitting security grates, or riot cops launching bean bags at protesters, or a .45 Magnum thrown (not discharged) at someone's head - so chin up, trooper! I will see you soon and I wish you were here so we can make out/express our love through More Than Words, which is just a song about making out.
Goodbye for now! I have to turn mason jars into solar lights now!
Sunday, July 01, 2007
My return flight is a red-eye on August 23, so I'll be here for about seven weeks, with the exception of a week in Vietnam traveling and getting typhoid with Bernie Han. In my haste to get to the airport, which had been fouled by foiled terrorists in London and Glasgow, I left my little jigger of anti-typhoid antibodies in a ziploc baggie in the fridge - which is where I also left Boo's dish of frozen water and forced him to endure eight thirsty hours in the belly of a Boeing 767. As is customary, I woke late and David rushed me, Stephanie, and Boo in a Honda Civic crammed with my crap to an airport at ORANGE ALERT and I barely made it through check-in, the security, and the gate before we lifted off. I put a ear up to see if I could hear Boo crying underneath, but there was nothing but the deafening roar of airplane engines carrying a dog 30,000 feet up to his unpressurized, temperature-unregulated doggy death. Boo came out on the other end of our flight decently, if a little parched and stir-crazy, and my parents promptly whisked us away to the San Mateo Chinese supermarket we always go to on the way home from SFO and they fed Boo pounds of Chinese junk food as he lay expectantly panting on the backseat.
I'm back and I'm in a little office of a big firm. I'm seeing Palo Alto with new eyes. Longstanding questions have been answered, questions like How do the businesses on California Avenue survive? and Who drives around in the middle of the day? (Lunch business and business lunchers, respectively.) I also learned, on my way to one of those lunches on California Avenue, that my favorite bookstore ever and the repository of my self-education in science fiction/fantasy, Know Knew Books, is going out of business and that the kindly, portly bearded guy who patiently rung up my 10% student discounts on books that were only worth $1 will be closing down his business and selling off all of his stock of Piers Anthony and Ursula LeGuin. Why do these things happen? The pretty associates drive me around a Palo Alto buzzing with unknowable commerce and I see the bank terrace where I fitfully made out with my boyfriend late one night in 1996, I see a park where Josie and I plotted our escape via Caltrain from Palo Alto, a fountain (still foaming) that high school jokers would fill with detergent from time to time. It's weird, but at least the office atmosphere is very slow compared with New York and I can have one smiling conversation after another about how great the weather is in California, always and forever.
I'll bike to work for the rest of the summer and pass by all of these places every day. I'll take Boo out to my old middle school before work every morning, where he will dutifully shit on the same baseball diamond where my dad took me to play catch. I threw a ball around for Boo this morning and it only took two throws for him to slip and go flailing around on the sprinkler-slicked grass and give me this doleful look, like he'd never chase a ball again. Stephanie is angry that I'm here so we distract each other with puppet shows via webcam until 3 a.m. her time, so that through exhaustion we avoid confronting the fact of this distance until the following day.
But darling, even when I'm gone I'm still in Palo Alto!