Tuesday, December 30, 2003

internet fun

What hidden messages does your name hold? Go here to find out.

I find it incredibly cool that you can form the words "laughter," "sunlight," "sleuth," and "lutheran" from letters of my name.

My favorites:
"hungriest ulan"- yep, that's me. I've always been an Ulan with an appetite.
"lutheran suing"-I guess it's in my future that I weasel some money of out my church.
"Guthrie annuls"-Woody has broken up with me, apparently.
"hauler gnu tins"-my fortune made delivering packaged African undulates.
"hunger anus lit"- I'll let you come to your own conclusions.
"hunger lust ian"-It's true, I'm a cannibal and Melrose has always looked good enough to eat.
"hauser gun lint"-I really gotta clean that thing before I use it next.
"haunts rug line"-My ghost doesn't like bad toupees.
"haunting rules"-yes, yes it does. whooooooooo
"inhales rug nut"-five second rule applies.
"lighten uranus"-I can take that two ways. Only one is camp appropriate.

I will now spend the next hour putting your names into the anagram machine. Happy Fucking New Year. :)

Monday, December 29, 2003


I am continuously baffled by my father's inability to do anything work or cleaning related by himself. It seems that if there are dishes to be done, carpets to be vacuumed, or gardens to be dug up, they require assistance. Sometimes it's "Let's help Mom out and..." or "we should do the dishes before Mom gets home," which infuriates my feminist edge to no end (because it's assumed that cleaning is her job, that these are the things she cares about only otherwise we'd have a dirty floor and nasty toilets). I guess it's just that watching ten hours of TV a day really takes it out of you, that latest rerun of Matlock sure was a shocker, golly, I hope I can lift this dirty pot over here to the sink without...oh shit. Lorn! Come give me a hand with this!

I've thought fleetingly that he's just reaching out to spend time with me. But more and more I see that he's just a big lazy ass, and becoming a househusband would be beneath him and the compensation/benefits success that he was. And I suppose it was ridiculous of me to assume that he wanted something else to do.

Today he came home complaining about the rough day he had at the golf course. Working. Dealing with people. And having to do it again tomorrow.

Let's just stop there and think about that for a second. Working two days in a row? Two? In a row? Why, that could take years off his life! Endanger his capacity for creativity and free thought! He said he'd have to find another job if he had more days like today.

Good luck buddy. We're in the same damn boat. We've both got college degrees and good heads on our shoulders, and right now, we're just wage slaves. If I can't find a fucking job doing something I've been trained to do, and do well, then will you do any better? You've considered working an office job, but I guarantee you'll be working every day. Dealing with people. Inside, as opposed to outside, putting around in a golf cart.

The problem here is he's left the work-a-day world and has become accustomed to the sedentary life. I'm experiencing it too- even though I was bored and frustrated sitting at home everyday, Penney's made me want it back bad. I want more for my father. I sincerely hope he's not going to spend the next twenty plus years of his life sitting on his ass watching Murder, She Wrote and bugging me about things I'm perfectly capable of taking care of on my own. The problem is I can't communicate this to him. Communication is not a thing we do, it's not washing dishes. I can't even look sidewise and I get bitched at. Make a joke or have an opinion. It's ri-goddamn-diculous.

When did it get this bad? Is this why my mom works full-time? Is there hope for the H family?

Sunday, December 28, 2003

ups, ups, and mostly ups

except that I'm hungry and have no food to make, that's a down.

Christmas=business as usual. Best present: two vegetarian cookbooks. Have made sole New Year's resolution to make a new recipe at least once a week, more if possible.

Jerry's visit is official! Jan 8-17th. This puts most of his visit right smack dab in the middle of recital stress, but that's okay-this isn't a big recital and I think it'll be good. Plus, it's my Jerry! I'm absolutely thrilled and glad it's only a week and a half away. There will be much smooching the week of Jan 8th.

Jerry is also selling/giving me his mini disc player-which means I no longer need to stress about recording my recital and I can start right off doing high quality recordings of my practice sessions and make tapes and so on. I need to buy a microphone, but that I can handle.

We finally made it to the Pacific Beach Bar and Grill-a place that has always been on the list of places to go. Marisa, Sarah and I rode down, met up with Natasha and Mary, and had a general good time. Very very nice place- A+ bathrooms and bar service, not sketchy at all (ie well lit but not annoyingly so), etc. Funny incidents with drunk men. Although I enjoy a good flirt, I do hate the guys that try so hard to hit on your particular group of friends, like "I noticed you ladies sitting alone" bullshit and cheesy crap like that. There should be some designated pattern to flirt initiation. Otherwise, I want to be left "alone" with my friends.

Shopping/dinner with Katie yesterday, and I got awesome pants. Fabulous pants. The bestest.

Work today, and hopefully my second-to-last day! I work again New Year's Eve, but only til 8. Have no plans as of yet for NY. Perhaps downtown again? Or throw a party? We'll see.

Well, I haven't much else to say. I did have a good time at work today joking with Britni, quality time making fun of the music videos. Life is good.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

i knew it!!

I knew that somewhere out there I had a God-fearing, child-beating, elegant apostrophe-using relative that hated the glossiness of the Christmas season as much as I. It's so nice to have family this time of year, isn't it?

Your Christmas Eve, Fifth Night of Hannukah, Two Days before Kwaanza Update:

Don't ever work in a department store if you can help it! Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday I worked til close. And there were still people clamoring for those last minute gifts. We had to practically push them out the door. Plus, I almost cried several times at both the amount of clothes I had to put away and the terrible mess that the sales floor was rapidly becoming despite my best efforts to tidy it.

I refuse to let this job get to me, however. I am much better than this job, much smarter, much more talented, and therefore I have better things to piss me off. It's a pain in the neck. How could it not be? People are slobs, rude, ignorant, callous slobs when it comes to their personal experiences. I would like to sit every teenage girl that comes into the fitting room down and have a long chat about how someday they might be stuck working minimum wage picking up someone's mess, and they should take heed and respect the people that do it now.

I've listened in on a few conversations at work, between women, about how they feel they don't have to work as hard in life because they'll have a man to make up the difference. I have bit my tongue for all of these conversations, but I will not rant about feminism right now, much to your chagrin. I'm just baffled by this-there's nothing that makes me feel better about myself than knowing I can take care of my own needs without having to rely on anyone else. While at this point in time I do require the assistance of my parents, I am looking forward to the day I be totally self-sufficient. Sure, a little free money is nice every now and again, but I like not having to be grateful to anyone.

I just had some nasty-ass packaged alfredo pasta mix.

Hung out with Marisa and Sarah last night-we went to a bar by Marisa's house that turned out to be the happeningest place in RB. Or rather, it was like a high school reunion. One guy sat down to talk to us and asked "RB or Poway?" We saw Joey Brennan, Patsy Martin, Chris Bloom, and some random annoying girls that played soccer with Marisa. And I swear one of the Haas brothers had to have been there because I followed this car all the way home and it stopped two doors down...it's probably Tom.

It was weird for me because most of these people I don't remember at all. I mean, I swam with Joey for almost ten years but still had trouble recognizing him. Also, I was a complete and total band-o. Should I run into anyone from band--now that would be a reunion. Plus, I remember the people I want to remember. Patsy Martin has had no known direct effect on my life as I know (except for the pleasure I get out of how her name sounds like meat), and I consider that grounds for mental dismissal. Oh well. Joey gets an award for growing up to be hotter than before.

Tomorrow my parents and I are seeing the final LOTR. It's the culmination of a three-year Christmas day tradition, because we can't socialize long enough to not piss each other off but we still feel obligated to spend quality time together. Three and a half hour movie? Bingo.

To my readers: a tasty and accumulative holiday. Cheers!

Friday, December 19, 2003

grr arrgh bollocks

all kinds of italic chaos were going on and I had no idea, because I CAN'T VIEW MY @*(*&% BLOG!!!!

Also published without my knowledge was an entry that I was not ready to post yet. Grr.

I blame Paris Hilton.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

because you can't look like a teenager forever...

Recently I inexplicably received a magazine from the lady who gave me a massage last winter. It's one of those yuppie incense-burning, expensive-yoga-mat, which-mountain-retreat-should-you-pamper-yourself-at-this-January kind of magazines, but I looked through it anyway.

Surprisingly, it told me something that intrigued me: you can use lemon juice as an effective facial cleanser. Like, really, really effective. I was a little skeptical (it says the acid is akin to giving yourself a mini facial peel), but I gave it a try since my skin has been incredibly willful since returning to San Diego. It works! My skin is pretty, not angry and pimply! I am joyous!

My one concession to the beauty myth is my skin trouble. It just ain't attractive to have zits, you know? And I've had tenacious acne for a long time, despite numerous dermatological treatments (even the infamous Acutaine, which no one should ever, ever, ever take unless they want six months of bloody noses, cracked lips, and people prying mercilessly into your sex life) with varying amounts of success. Since I currently don't have any form of health coverage, I am without access to a dermatologist and prescription treatments. My experience with the prescription acne drugs out there is that, much like echinacea and the missionary position, they are less effective with time. Also, many of them are smelly and cause your skin to fry in the sun like an egg on the sidewalk. On a hot day. In July. In Arizona.

Thus, this lemon juice treatment is music to my ears; it's cheap, accessible, natural, and it works. It's also smoothing out my skin tone and lightening some of my imperfections. I am also a sucker for the smell of lemon, or citrus of any kind; I love me my Burt's Bees Lemon Cuticle Cream, grapefruit Hall's Vitamin C drops, and the Lorn version of coffee, orange juice. What could be better than applying it lovingly to my face? A bath? Yes please. Actually, the magazine also suggests a lemon peel/juice bath...hmm...

and...i'm spent

as in, I have spent all my money and am done with my Pay Homage to Capitalism shopping. Oops, I mean Christmas shopping. I only have one thing left to do, besides buy stocking presents (which does not come out of my pocket), which is make my mom a journal using the instructions for said product I found in the latest issue of Bust.

For my father, I stumbled upon a great deal in the form of all three Myst computer games (enhanced special edition) at Target (Target, what haven't you done for me?) for $19.99. I am hoping this will provide him with some daytime entertainment other than reruns of Murder, She Wrote and Perry Mason. If he doesn't use it, hell, I will. Can't go wrong with a good computer game.

Dad will also be receiving golf-related materials, such as balls and towels. Because this is the only thing that really pleases him.

For my mother, the Two Towers DVD. And the journal.

I did buy some stocking presents. For me, an Onion page a day desk calendar, Princess Bride DVD (again, only $10 at Target), and weekly planner which I have already started to use but will wrap anyway and acted surprised at upon "receiving." For my mom, a scented candle and Bob Seger CD. For my dad, Mystic River (the book). I need to get one more present for my mom and two for my dad. Relatively painless this year.

By the way, I am posting in hopes that my blog will show up again when I load it. It is not, currently, doing so; all I am getting is a white screen. It has made me notice how well those Google ads know me though, what with an advertisement for Thomas Edition horn mutes (much more applicable for Davis or Bethany) and at one point I remember seeing Bach brass instruments listed. Bach is making terrible horns right now, but whatever.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

today is a great day for contraception

Exciting news for women (and men)! Today a panel of the FDA approved over-the-counter sales of the morning after pill.

It's not final yet, but it's likely that the FDA will push it through to completion.

Good news, good news. The article I posted wasn't the same as what I read in the paper this morning, but it still raises some of the same issues. I continually find myself offended by the dialogue offered up by opponents of contraception, things along the lines of "would encourage irresponsible behavior" or "women would be confused as to how to use it."

1. Are we not already encouraging irresponsible behavior by funding abstinence-only sexual education in a culture that is highly sexualized?

2. Oh wait, you're right. Women are stupid. Time to start making babies!!!

Seriously though, maybe there are some women out there who would "abuse" (can it be abused? Are there side effects?) the pill. However, you have to ask, are they in a situation where they are highly sexually active but don't have health care and therefore have no access to regular birth control? Can't afford female condoms or a diaphragm? The condom broke? But if we're so afraid of morning-after pill abuse, why can't we make other forms of birth control more readily available? Why are we so concerned about someone else's reckless behavior? Is it more irresponsible to buy the contraception or to risk getting pregnant when one isn't ready?

Another argument against this form of birth control is that it can, in some cases, dislodge a fertilized egg from the womb. If you believe in life at conception, then this causes a problem. I struggle with this-of course all life is important, but who has the right to make the decision to keep or abort a fetus? The woman. She has to carry the baby for nine months, give birth through a normally pin-sized opening in her body, and deal with hormones, postpartum emotions, and the decision whether to raise the child (putting in countless hours and money) or find a family for adoption. Because our society doesn't place much pressure on men to be responsible for the babies they too help create, oftentimes it is only the woman making this decision. So life at conception for me doesn't take into account the rights of an already existing and thinking being.

I'm super happy that we've taken this step to encourage responsible birth control. I can only hope that we continue...provided opponents realize that you can't stop people from being sexual and what they do with their bodies is their own damn business.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

hey, jealousy

Lately I've had a visitor, the green-eyed monster himself. Now, in my efforts at self-improvement I try at all times to push back feelings of jealousy, as I feel they are the most trivial and harmful of emotions. However, lately I have been unable to deny that I am, indeed, jealous.

Of what, you may ask? Well, to put it most bluntly, of friends' lives going on without me, of people having fun without me. Fear of being forgotten gets tossed in there too. Shake well and serve in a frosted glass. Add olive for extra color.

I've been struggling with jealousy, to be perfectly honest, since summer, where I was mostly jealous that Jerry was having a good time being sought after by all the "cool" people. Meanwhile I was in top form, struggling to make friends and ending up with some great girls to lean on (fo rizzle), but still feeling like I wanted more. This I hate the most, the "I want more" feeling. Another topic for self-improvement: learning to appreciate what I have been given.

I'm jealous today because at times I feel like I have to fight to keep my place in Jerry's heart. I know this is not true, but jealousy makes me think this way. I start to think of all the things that are happening in Madison that I don't know about it. All the living and playing I could be doing there, but I am no longer a piece of the puzzle. I chose to move on, but did I really? I'm just as stranded here as I ever thought I was in Madison. Which I wasn't. I know I'm not making anyone jealous living out here, working at JC Penney and going to Borders for entertainment. If I had a cat, then maybe someone would be jealous. But why would I want someone else to feel that way? I don't. That's what jealousy does. He's a tricky one, that beast. Works in many ways.

I'm not really out to make a point; sometimes writing something out makes it better. Everyday I still get that sinking feeling in my stomach that I've destroyed everything I loved by moving away. I still want to move back. It's hard to make anything I do out here feel like it has any meaning. It's just an empty shell. No friendships. No adventures. Nothing I've learned anything from.

That's not true. You can learn something from any experience. I just think I've exhausted the possibilities.

a misunderstanding

It seems to me that I am possessed of an unique ability to misunderstand or misinterpret many things that are often taken for granted by the rest of the populace. For example: The joke about men leaving the toilet seat up all the time flew over my head until I was 17 and someone explained it to me. Until then I couldn't understand what women were so upset about, thinking that the "seat" in question was the top part, the one that covers the toilet. I really didn't think it was a big deal.

Case in point: The saying "United we stand, divided we fall" is meant to mean that a group is stronger than its individual members, and derision and disagreement will cause failure. Makes sense, right? Well, to be perfectly honest I was always offended by this saying, thinking that it meant something along the lines of "We'll be a great team and knock out the competition, but if you screw up, well, don't expect us to come back and save your sorry ass, ya loser." We'd all stand up as a group but fall one by one.

When I think about the ways in which politics, business, and society work, sometimes I wonder if my interpretation is the correct one.

Monday, December 15, 2003

things that have happened today so far

I drove Shawna up to LAX this morning, which was an adventure for me as I had never been there. It was pretty easy. I made super good time getting back-only an hour and a half! That's ridiculously good for LA, but probably the time of day had something to do with it. A radio station was playing Strauss's Don Juan, and then I FINALLY found KROQ. I always forget what channel it's on. 106.7. Must remember for future reference. I was momentarily sad when they played one of those little snippets with the famous person saying hi, and the famous person was Bradley Nowell. He died far too early, what beautiful music could he have made today? LA always makes me think of Sublime anyway, what with driving through Long Beach and all, and being naturally required to sing "I took that trip to Garden Grove" whenever I see the sign. Sigh.

I haven't got much to say about Hussien's capture, except that I agree with Jerry and Margaret Cho. Y'all know I disagreed with us being in Iraq in the first place, but once we started it had to be played through. There's a lot of work to be done in Iraq and it needs to start now. There needs to be a plan for human rights as well as building contracts, and how dare the US exclude members of the United Nations from having a say? Oh wait, we're assholes. Okay, that makes more sense.

It's only a month until my recital. Eep! And I've been bad about practicing during Shawna's visit. I'm a mix of worry and anticipation: I'm scared stiff that I won't be good enough, having prepared almost entirely on my own and without feedback, but I can wait to travel and do the auditions and see the schools. February is going to be fun, or stressful, depending. I'm planning on being gone all month, driving out to my ASU audition Feb 6th and then flying to the Midwest for DePaul and UM, staying in Madison for as much time as possible, and flying up to McGill and going home from there. So it looks like this:
ASU Feb 6
DePaul Feb 14 or 28
UM Feb 13 or 20
McGill Feb 21-28

I'm stoked to go to Montreal. Although I would love to go to any of those schools, in my dreams I see myself rocking McGill, getting a full ride, and hanging out with Canadians and speaking French. Word.

If I plan to rock my auditions, then I must go and practice.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

new additions

I am proud to add Sheena the Tuba Playing Goddess to my links. Welcome Sheena! Best Blog Name Ever, by the way.

I will be pissed if this sore throat means I'm getting sick AGAIN. Pissed. And not drunk, either, although that is unfortunate.

Shawna and I just watched Bend It Like Beckham. I love that movie--so very girl power and it makes me wish I had played soccer. I guess it's never to late to start, eh? I also wish I had an Irish boy-but I guess Jerry will do for now. That is the only thing that bothers me about the movie, though-the obligatory romance. Ah well, I'm not going to rant about it right now.

Last night we went out in La Jolla, but it was kind of dead so I called up Shaun and he invited us over to a party some UCSD kids were having. It was random, and from the random came enjoyable. They had a TON of alcohol. Amazing amounts of booze. Everything from Sake to Tanqueray. Wowza. I miss me my college parties.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

a quick update

Natatorium lifeguard buddy Shawna is visiting-she was studying abroad in Australia and is staying with me until her flight back to Wisconsin- so this is a quickie. Unfortunately it is raining, and that rules out about 95% of the Fun Things to do in San Diego.

Anyway, the cuban band has me confused. I think I just lost the gig-because they are going to Mexico City to play for two months. I think. Because Oddy's email english is hard to understand, I'm not sure what's going on. Besides that, I just got an email from the other trombonist wanting to practice. So either I'm wrong, and I'm supposed to go to TJ tonight, or they didn't get in touch with this poor guy. I'm so confused!

My recital is officially scheduled for January 14th. Hint hint!

Okay, time to get passport photos taken. Schmu.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

should i be concerned?

where did my blogger link button go? it shows up on my template...

are they going to kick my ass? run over my cat? threaten my grandma? why, blogger, why? where have you gone?

Sunday, December 07, 2003

why, why do we hate ourselves?

Came across this article today. This is the kind of information that needs to get out there to people considering cosmetic surgery-doctors (real doctors) standing up and saying that something is potentially disabling. The article itself doesn't really pursue any health facts or drive this point home; instead it ends with what almost sounds like an endorsement for cosmetic surgery. I thought this was interesting:

"But advocates for the procedures say that critics simply do not understand the importance of high heels. "Some of these women invest more in their shoes than they do in the stock market," said Dr. Suzanne M. Levine, a New York City podiatrist who is widely quoted in women's magazines and has appeared on TV.

"Take your average woman and give her heels instead of flats, and she'll suddenly get whistles on the street," she said. "I do everything I can to get them back into their shoes.""

Those damn critics (doctors)! Looking out for their patients' health, for crying out loud! But they want to wear high heels so that men will whistle at them! Don't you understand that that's so much more important? That just made me laugh out loud. You get testimony from doctors who have to deal with screwed up cosmetic surgery, people being unable to walk, and they are called critics?

Mostly I am saddened by the societal attitude that says our bodies should change to fit our clothes. What sense does this make? Wouldn't it be easier to make a more orthopedic high heeled shoe? Or make comfort fashion? I know, I know, the beauty myth. A recent example: A week or two ago at Penney's a woman was trying on dress suits and found that the 9/10 she had picked out didn't quite fit. She was upset, naturally, concluding that she had gained weight and, sighing, would "just have to try on an 11/12" until she could lose a few pounds.

I wanted to point out several things to her: 1) the suit was from the Juniors department, which supposedly runs in sizes the same as misses. I am suspicious of this, and I imagine that they not only run smaller but also cater to a thinner, less busty frame. Not the frame of, as the case may be, an older developed woman. 2)Almost every time I go shopping, I bump up a size. After fretting about this for a while, I realized that I hadn't changed, the sizes had, getting smaller and smaller each new fashion season. Perhaps the problem here wasn't weight gain, but fabric loss. 3)There is no way of regulating women's sizes. Every brand measures and designs differently. What in the world does a "9" or a "14" signify, anyway? In men's sizes, pants generally go by waist circumference, no? I understand there's still some variance, but it seems like you would always know what size to go for. 4)I am preaching to the choir, I know, but may I point out the dissimilarity of women's bodies? The myriad of different shapes and sizes, hips, breasts, thighs, shoulders and waists that make up women?

My critique of the fashion industry could go on for ages, and it's only an example I use for my current point. What is this baffling trend to assume that designers know all and if it doesn't fit, it's our bodies' fault? I ask again, why do we hate ourselves so much? When will people understand that they have been brainwashed and milked for all they're worth? How many botched toe surgeries will it take?

Saturday, December 06, 2003

fighting off the christmas spirit with a stick

or Bjork, as the case may be. My mom is currently listening to Amy Grant's Christmas Album, which is the cheesiest of the cheesy. At least the cycled Christmas music they play at JCP contains a few gems by Ella Fitzgerald or the Canadian Brass. I can handle that, mostly because I feel like I haven't heard any good brass chamber music in a while...Brass Bash! This is the first time in four years I will not be participating in BB. I am now depressed. Blah.

Where do you stand on Christmas spirit? Do you hold on steadfastly to the joy of the season and look forward to buying and wrapping (and ultimately, getting) presents for the overall feeling of warmth it gives you to give of yourself? Or perhaps you associate Christmas with family and family with comfort and home. Perhaps you ignore the hustle and bustle and commercialism and celebrate Jesus' birth (although it was more likely in July-hey, the real Jesus and I could have the same birthday!) and what it means for your soul. [Editor's note: This incidentally is a recent topic on We Have Brains, so I'm revising this entry to answer some of the questions posed there]

Or, if you are like me, you could care less, or feel weird about celebrating something you no longer believe in. Personally I like to get presents, but I feel cheap using Christmas as an excuse.

Let's explore the many ways I've come to this fallout on Christmas. For one, it's been a long time since I worshipped Jesus. Sometime in high school I got really into the God thing, prayed, went to church a lot, volunteered, was a moral person (To be fair, most of my prayers went like this: Oh dear Lord, please take away my bad acne problem and let that cute boy in history ask me out, because I am very lonely and do not have self-worth as a girl without a boyfriend. Oh, and I hope I do well on my Spanish test. Amen). I was also a Republican and made terrible jokes about Mexican immigrants. In other words, I was spoonfed most opinions and spiritual stuff by my parents. As much as I love my mom, she did give me a copy of that piece of trash The Rules and insisted I read Dr. Laura's books. I read The Rules, by the time she suggested Dr Laura I was thinking enough on my own to refuse. My dad's choice criticism of Asian peoples was "DWO-Driving While Oriental" (many of you have perhaps your own personal favorite Ed Husting Racist Statement-that's mine).

That's a little taste of my high school years. Religious, Republican, and Racist. Dubya would have loved me. Thankfully I escaped, in two stages. Firstly in the form of apathy-that charming stage of teenagerhood where your parents are unbelievably uncool and anything they're interested in is old and stodgy, and boring. I declared politics and religion beneath me. God never really did address that acne problem, although granted I did get a boyfriend and usually did well on my Spanish tests. Secondly, I went to college. I went to liberal feminist atheist activist Mecca! Hurray! I took interested classes (I do believe that almost all of my classes choices were criticized by my father- "What are we sending you to school for?") like Russian lit and Buddhism, and Women's Studies. My friends were opinionated, just getting their debating wings and testing them out every chance they got, like me. Major Current Events happened. Lots of discussion. I began to be interested in what the world was really like.

I fell in love with Buddhism, and Christianity was spoiled for me. Spoiled in the form of the religious right, in the name of genocide and classism, racism and sexism. My esteemed and well-read friend Dan told me that many of Jesus' teachings were corrupted by the powerful, and we heard similar things in Women's Studies. The differences between Buddhism and Christianity struck me very strongly. I love the way Buddhism is not really a religion, or a following. The Buddha is not to be worshipped, he is to be emulated. He is the model, the proof that in every human being is ultimate attainment. There is no subjugation, no lessening of any being like in Christianity. Be humble, but not to a god, for your own enlightenment. It makes so much more sense to me. It rejoices so much more in the spirit, in the individual. I think Christianity could have been that way, but after Jesus left, things went back to the way they always were, but with a new justification. A new way of creating master and servant.

And of course, feminism. Feminism goes hand in hand with other ways of thinking; because it questions the necessity of class, sex, and race division inherent in patriarchy. Therefore it also questions capitalism, greed, globalization, nationalism, imperialism, consumerism, materialism (I am reminded of the wisdom of a certain Ferris Bueller: "'Isms', in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an 'ism'. He should believe in himself.").

Okay, back to Christmas. Exploring all these facets of education has left me with little feeling about the season. I'm happy to be alive all the time. Christmas doesn't fill me with any previously lacking feelings of warmth and joy. I don't except to see a lot of family. As long as I can remember, my family holidays have consisted of my mom, my dad, Chipper, and me. No long lost relatives or huge family gatherings. So Christmas doesn't inspire me that way (before you go feeling sorry for me, consider that this doesn't really affect me all that much. If you've never had something, you don't miss it), nor do I celebrate for religious reasons. And I love to give people things, but I resent being forced. The spirit of giving moves me at odd times, and I usually act on it. If I see something neat in a store that reminds me of Jerry, I will probably get it. Or if I find something I no longer need, but someone else would appreciate, like the book I gave Davis for her birthday. I found that weeks before her actual birthday. If I hadn't found it, I probably wouldn't have sent her anything (no offense, dear, I still would have thought of you). I think gifts should have meaning and/or usefulness, not something you feel obligated to give.

Add to this the fact that this is seller's paradise. Here's where they can unload all those fancy expensive knick-knacks on someone desperate to find a gift for their second cousin's fiance. Such gift will be immediately stored and forgotten, or given away perhaps. The average person has little artistic skill to make something like a scarf or vase, so it's off to the stores, shopping the bargains, to buy one. I'm not totally knocking shopping; I appreciate gifts of music, books, clothes, or even gift certificates, because they are 1)useful and 2)thoughtful (unless the book is Chicken Soup for the Recently Graduated Classical Trombonist's Soul-that's not thoughtful, that's lazy). Tell you what. If you don't know what to get me for Christmas, don't get me anything. Or take me out to dinner. I'd rather have the gift of your presence, and I will do the same for you. In fact, you can do that any old day of the year. Celebrate friends and family whenever you damn well feel like it, because why wait? Christmas comes but once a year and everyone, Jewish, atheist, and Buddhist alike, likes to get presents.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

adventures in culture shock

perhaps you are wondering at my appearance today on blogger, because you knew I was supposed to be in Tijuana for three days. Well I was in TJ, but only for about 12 hours.

I met Dayami, one of the singers, at our appointed one o'clock and we packed up and headed down to the border. In between we stopped at a beauty supply shop for Oddy, the congas player, because apparently he need glue to put his hair back on. I'm still very baffled. We were also distracted (I use the term "we" lightly) by a clothes boutique wherein Dayami bought two very short sassy little skirts for her and the other singer to dance in. Off to Mexico with us, loaded down with our beauty and couture purchases. Easy through the border, and I proceed to have no idea what is going on with traffic. Cars everywhere. Signs in Spanish. Okay we're at the hotel. I should have paid attention, but I was too confused. I will have to do this on my own next weekend.

Hotel. Across the street from where we will be playing. We scamper back and forth across the road a few times trying to find the rest of the band. Meet up with the other trombonist. Wander around some more. Find band in hotel room. HURRAY! Everyone is slugging back tequila, no limes or salt, or even ice, just tequila in a glass. I am very impressed. I am introduced to the band members present but understand very little, as everyone is speaking rapid Spanish. As far as I can tell only three speak English, Dayami included, and she later started speaking to me in Spanish because she wants me to learn and be a part of the band socially.

Later, we go back to the other hotel for a rehearsal, but what it amounts to is me and the other trombonist playing a couple of phrases from a song with the keyboard player. The rest of the band sits and watches. They mess around with tempo and register, basically put me through my paces. They ask me to play ridiculously high. I laugh. They say okay, nevermind. Then the band all gathers in a circle of chairs; I am ushered to sit down next to Dayami and Oneilio (the band leader) asks me what my position on the band is. I.e. what is up with this stuff I hear about you being gone in February and Canada and language barrier stuff. So I explain that in February I need to be excused from playing because I will be traveling to audition for schools. And in September I will be going to one of those schools, and that's the end of my chapter in the band. Anyway, they are very understanding and I am cleared for February departure. Then they ask if I'd be willing to possibly travel in Europe in March with them. Oh hell yeah, people, c'mon! I should have thought about this a bit more, but I agreed. I do have to consider bargaining for grad school money and accepting admission and all that. Also I'm not sure if I want to stay in SD until September. But whatever. We'll cross that bridge later.

Back at across-the-street-hotel, frenzied preparations by Dayami and Angeles (the other singer). I am informed that all that talk about how it's good to have another girl in the band means that I will be dressing similar to them. They match colors. Last night they did not by any means dress sluttily, but the skirts we bought..well I ain't wearing nothing like that. Here's where I say, but I'm in the band, I was hired to play trombone, not jiggle! I am not a qualified jiggler! I'm not Jell-O! Because as much as these are two wonderful women, their presence in the band amounts to jiggling for the male gaze. You can get up on my ass about culture and Cuban style and all, but I still ain't doing it. The rest of the band dresses the same, the singers are glitzy. If I'm not a singer, I should be wearing what the band is wearing, or similar. Make sense? No jiggling! I refuse to jiggle!!

Well, I didn't play last night, I sat around and listened. I also racked my brain for useful Spanish. This is good-I imagine if I work my ass off at the language I will be pretty much fluent by May. I think it will be fun if I can get that together, but until then it will be pretty lonely. And my head will hurt. And I will attack anyone I hear speaking English and force them to talk to me. I will tie them down and rant and rant and rant. Ranty McRantypants.

Anyway, I came back with Daya today (she had to work) because I didn't want to sit around not speaking Spanish, not playing trombone, and not getting paid for another two days. Right now I am in the midst of a whirlwind of thoughts each prompting me to think very carefully about what I have agreed to and how this might affect my grad school plans. Which it won't, except if we go to Europe and I am unable to sign an admissions letter or something. Or negotiate about finances. Bloody hell.

I need to practice. And find a recital hall. And apply to DePaul and ASU. Shit. I miss school like crazy right now. I miss my little white bubble. That's right, I miss it! Wisconsin, you lovely white bubble you. You do not know Tijuana, and it does not know you. It's for the best, it really is. No panicking. Love the gig, love the opportunities. Peace.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

in which i use punctuation to the extreme

today was a fun day! i practiced lots! i cashed my beautiful check! i bought tofu! i coached preteenagers! i got my haircut! i considered dying it! i don't want to work tomorrow! i go to tj on thursday!

I am in a good mood. Things are moving, I'm somewhat busy, and I'm feeling more like my normal crazy wacky self. Questions i have: why does my high range elude me? why does my embouchure work one day and not the next? will i have to work while Shawna is visiting? what will happen if I call in sick? should I do it for both Wed and Sunday or just one? Do I care what JCP thinks? Will the band let me bring her with me over the weekend and stay for free? Should I dye my hair again? When are those library books due? Shit, do I have a fine? What CD should I buy for myself tonight?

That's my mind folks. It's working pretty fast right now. In fact it kept me from sleep for quite a while last night. I was angry with it, and gave it a stern talking-to, but to no avail. It just kept right on running, until I schooled it with a little Milan Kundera. If that doesn't make your brain wear out fast, I don't know what. Maybe a little War and Peace or something. Ugh. What a terribly boring novel.

I would just like to point out that only Jerry and Davis have commented on my blog. Please kindly share some love. i know that I am boring and often repeat myself. You may bitch at me if you wish. Please bitch respectfully though. It is easy enough, just click on the comment link and enter your info.

Spastic tonight, hmmm. Go go go is my brain. Wooooooooo. You might think that I am tripping, but I am not. This is not a mood I have felt in a while. I am happy because I have some money, I have a cool gig, Jerry might come to visit, Natalie is coming home in less than a month, and because I am super excited about grad school auditions. Montreal! Hurray!

Okay, I am done now. Will get in car and go to Borders, also get gas. I deserve a new CD. I am thinking.....BJORK!

Monday, December 01, 2003

sudafed high! sudafed high!

The only thing that is even mildly enjoyable about having a bug is getting to take cold medicine and have that warm fuzzy feeling infuse your body and wrap you up in loving numbness. Non drowsy, my ass, I'd love to take this happiness right into bed with me and spoon it. Also I can't tell if I'm a fucking amazing trombone player or if I just no longer care whether or not I mess up. I'd like to think the former.

I am constantly amazed when I get money for playing or teaching music. Today I got a whopping $350 from Ramona High School for coaching. $35/hour. Jebus. So I go there for two hours and earn almost double what I earn working for Penney's for eight hours. Because I have a degree. Because I am special. Wowie. This weekend I will make $270 dollars for playing six hours. I'm in love. I know that doesn't sound like much in the long run, but I'm not out to make big bucks or anything. The point is that I have a skill, and people want it. That I can make a living doing something I enjoy. I'd like to refute the "starving musician" theory and say that if you have the drive, and seek out the gigs, you're golden.

Okay, I do think I really want that warm fuzzy nap. Warm fuzzy bed, here I come!