Well, That Was Unexpected

Real life is stranger than fiction...depending on which authors you read, of course.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

one little piglet ate the cheesecake

today i woke up and i'm moving around and i realize nonplussedly that my stomach muscles are sore. i did elliptical yesterday but no abs. then i remembered that last night owen and i spent a good 20 minutes throwing mini basketballs as high in the sky as possible. this involves a certain bending and launching motion from the stomach. i also picked him up--2 basketballs in hand, and power carried him over to the basketball hoop so he could do his signature quadruple dunk where he hangs, assisted, onto the rim. am i teaching him showboating? anyway. i'm pretty sure that's what worked my abs. and it was so much fun. he had fun, i had fun. just grab a 3 year old and go!

speaking of sporting excellence, i played tennis and golf on the Wii at Julia's last weekend and it was incredibly fun. my american consumer-oriented mind wants one *right now*! julia's husband was impressed that i kept acing the tennis game even though julia told him multiple times that i played in high school and college. despite that, i still totally lost. the golf program is hilarious whether you like golf or not because it perfectly mimics that soporific PGA music and screen layout. i guess it's no surprise that the japanese would make a kickass golf game. all i remember about flying over japan are mt fuji and hundreds upon hundreds of golf courses. the game probably also includes an unsexy but highly reliable, long-lasting, and efficient golf cart.

great story from my next to last day at work. we have the monthly birthday party where we gather for news, repeated unenthusiastic clapping, and snacks. said snacks included a strawberry cheesecake. well, i didnt have any because of you know, my loose attempt at improved healthfulness. so i go in hours later to get my effing broccoli and yogurt and i see one little pice of cheesecake in the fridge. and assuming it is a leftover from the party, i abandon self-control and decide to eat off the graham cracker crust, because..i love graham cracker crust. so i'm makin some chai, eatin some crust, and i hear the door open. and because i feel like a cow, i stash the cheesecake behind the coffee machine. good thing, because the lady who comes in opens the fridge and starts harumphing and then says "well, i can't believe this, someone took the last piece of cheesecake!" now, do i have strawberry gel on my mouth?, i don't know, but i am HORRIFIED! i'm like..."oh...they probably thought it was leftovers from the party," and she says "but it was in a bowl with celophane"...and i'm thinking "how the hell else does one wrap up leftovers?" anyway she says "i guess i shouldn't have had it anyway." i laugh, "yeah, i understand". i'm like 5 times her size. i do not understand. what i understand is that i am real glad i have a highly developed sense of guilt that makes me hide things. phew!

back to julia's 30th birthday celebration last weekend. julia totally spoils the foodie in me. we went to this incredible restaurant called Chaya in beverly hills. it is a japanese/european fusion restaurant. it sounds pretentious (probably is) but seriously had amazing food including: the best steak i have ever had--a peppercorn butter ribeye; seared scallop with truffle oil and mashed potatoes, wild alaskan salmon sashimi with lemon and capers, halibut with olive oil and herbs over a kale and cherry tomato salad with vinaigrette, steamed chicken salad with ginger sesame asian dressing, sirloin with horseradish steak sauce and mini zucchini, and for dessert--baked chocolate croissant bread pudding with dulce de leche rum ice cream. dear God in heaven. and of course julia's husband is building this wine expert web site, so we get awesome wine. ah. a true feast, but totally in line with what julia deserves.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

5-7 and more!

To recap the points i didn't get to yesterday:

5. started a weird protein shake diet that i am not sticking to.
6. i advise against the jalapeno hot dog at AMPM, but not from my own personal experience, but being in the room with someone with firsthand experience.
7. went to JMAs funeral--general observations are 1) party funerals are no fun for the living and 2) people in the general populace need lessons in death etiquette.

5. so i have this french coworker who recently has gained some weight and decided to do this protein shake diet. how did i get involved in this health fiasco? well, she tells me that i am looking like i have lost some weight (which is true, but not actually an amount that i believe would be discernible to the naked eye, kind of like a mountain rising 5 inches in a year). anyway, i say yes, i'm trying to eat less, blah blah. so she says "i yam go-hink to do zees prhhoghtein shek di-het, i bought zee metrhhex shek wees fhorty-seex grhhams of prhhoghtein, eet ees vehry chip and trhhaader zhoes" or (she is doing a protein shake diet using the Met-RX shake stuff with 46 grams of protein, which is cheap at trader joes). and i had been thinking recently that maybe to jump start some dietary discipline i would do like the "eat two bowls of cereal for breakfast and lunch and have a sensible dinner" kind of diet regime. so i was like, what the hell. it'll be fun to do this with someone. got through 2 days. protein shakes are barftein shakes. even after i realized you should use milk and not water, and they became exponentially more tasty, i realized...i like food. even in small portions. even in the form of lean cuisine and weird low calorie hot pockets. now, because i feel bad about buying the protein stuff, i am using it sporadically--like today for lunch. but what has basically happened is that i am doing defacto Weight watchers. I have taken the calories i would have had on protein shake diet and translated them into real food. to me, that means i am not cheating. i.e. if an egg white and cheese breakfast sandwich has the same calories as a protein shake, i go for it, same for a starbucks scone (btw, the apricot rasberry thumbprint scone is most reasonable). the hilarious thing is that i do this for...almost every meal.

now my major diet dilemma for the day is whether i want to get one double double protein style in-n-out burger for dinner, or two single cheeseburgers protein style in order to have more lettuce. you might think: this sounds undietarily wise, julie, how many protein shakes, exactly, were you having per day? but you'd be very surprised how reasonable the caloric intake of in-n-out is, specially if you sub mustard and ketchup and get it with lettuce instead of bun.

the main thing to take away from this whole unnecessarily long saga, by the way, is that i am hungry. large parts of my day are filled with incredible hunger. are planned around avoiding hunger. meals are planned in the future in reaction to cravings during hunger. (i.e. the pancakes i will eat when i get together with Jon...on friday)

6. AM/PM is advertising their jalapeno cheese sausage dog again. i was shocked they had revived it...and i advise against consuming it even though i havent had one, and i'll tell you why: i had a friend in college who ate one and then came to a movie viewing in my room and after most people had left, i exclaimed "who was farting that whole time? it was totally nasty!" and my friend said "uh, it was me, and i wasnt farting, i was burping...i ate a jalapeno sausage and cheese hot dog at AM/PM before i came here" mmmhmm. burp should NEVER ever be confused with fart. that is why i advise avoiding said hot dog.

7. i don't want you to think that i want to tell people how to react to death and grief, because i do think it is too personal and people are so weird that most things should be forgiven. but here's my take: people need to have lessons in death etiquette. the day i found out about JMA i was like so uber sad. and if anyone asked what was wrong, i was honest, and told them my friend had died. and the appropriate response to that would be "i'm sorry." just fyi. not appropriate is trying to cheer me up or make me smile. i appreciate the good intentions, but can you raise the dead? then no, you cant cheer me up. and also, i think that a day or two of sadness is appropriate for mourning a friend, it's emotionally healthy, and should not try to be remedied after an hour or two. another thing that should not be said to a mourner "don't think of it as a memorial, think of it as a celebration of life." nooooo. don't tell me how to think of it! also inappropriate: a sermon on how christians who die can be happy and celebrate. this is wrong even when a christian dies, but is particularly heinous when my friend was NOT a christian. guess what, asshole? jesus wept, and so do i. i miss my friend, and i think that's ok. some people want to share their own experiences, and i feel like jennifer had a good handle on the way to approach that, she was like "i have a story when you are ready". ahh. yes. i feel that when it is too soon you just don't want to hear about other people. you want to think of your own loss.

Jennifer accompanied me to John-Mark's funeral last saturday. it was a pretty cool setup, beautiful outdoor area. And there were some great memorials written by friends, and a slideshow with scenes throughout his life. and people were sort of milling. we were supposed to be having a good time b/c that is what john-mark wanted, but like, what do you say to people? the only people i knew were old coworkers, and i didnt really feel like catching up at the moment. they had a very nice eulogy, short and funny and very John-Markish. then they had an open mic, but no one who significantly knew JMA could unchoke-up long enough to say anything. and no one wants to hear from someone who is like "i met him at a 7-11 and he was real cool." they kept telling everyone to go to this big afterparty, but these were the same people who couldnt even speak. so like, how fun is that really? my conclusion: party funerals are only good in theory. unless you are pol pot, people will miss you and be sad, so you shouldnt try to force them to be happy without you.

someone did say that one could have a more festive time when the person had had a long pre-death, during which everyone said goodbyes and perhaps that is true.

Totally fascinating article on icelandic culture and how their high birth rate and divorce rate somehow work out for success! Personally, living near bjork would make me happy too!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Notice, Narnia, and other Ns.

A whole lot has happened in the last few weeks, kids.

summary of sections:
1. got a new job
2. paid off my last credit card bill
3. saw narnia and ironman (they don't have a section. that's all i'm putting in. i realized i don't have anything spectacular to say about them. they were both good.)
4. went to a crazy concert and stayed out late as if i were in college
5. started a weird protein shake diet that i am not sticking to.
6. i advise against the jalapeno hot dog at AMPM, but not from my own personal experience, but being in the room with someone with firsthand experience.
7. went to JMAs funeral--general observations are 1) party funerals are no fun for the living and 2) people in the general populace need lessons in death etiquette.

1. I GAVE MY NOTICE LAST FRIDAY! Weeheeeee! I got new job! I start June 4th and am excited. the job is basically training for HUD programs. and let me tell you the story of how it all came about, because the spiritual among you are going to be pretty impressed. i'm going to cut parts of it from chats with Linda and Andrea.

so, i had seen the posting for this position on monster and had quickly submitted an application, but per usual was over my head in the work i have here so didnt have time to do a proper cover letter and whatnot, so anyway, i hadnt heard back. so then a week or two later i was talking to Misha who is in New York and she was asking about jobs i had liked--she knew i liked the social aspect of starbucks but it wasnt challenging enough (we got on that topic because of the lawsuit i am a part of by default). and she asked what i was applying for--and i had applied for like 20 jobs, but i was like "well, there is this one job that i don't think i am being considered for, but sounds like what i would like to do: training, so meeting and talking to people, and for housing, so beneficial and very complex"
and she goes...training for housing?
and i said "yeah, i think that could blend the two aspects i want well"
and she says "is the company called XYZ?"
and i say "yeah, how in the world did you know that?"
and she says "one of my best friends from law school works there and she loves it and she is just like you"
and so she emailed her friend
and her friend emailed the lady in charge of hiring
and that's how it came about
so misha in new york got me a job in san diego
a job that is TEN MINUTES FROM MY HOUSE and has a better promotion ladder than my current job, and also has fulfilling social aspects that my current job lacks.

no one can ever predict how things will work out, but it does all seem sort of "orchestrated", doesnt it? or for the non-religious, a super crazy coincidence. the only job i mention wanting is the one had by the only other person misha knows in san diego. doo-doo-doo-doo (that's supposed to be the creepy twilight zone kind of doo)

2. I paid off my last credit card bill last week! i feel so free. monkey off my back. i was thinking of having an In The Black celebration where we all wear black and feel good for me being nearly debt free. the only debt in my life is my car loan...so i think that if i like sold every single possession i have, my life value might be somewhere around breaking even. pretty thrilling. this job has done what it was meant to do, and it is amazing that right as it has accomplished that, i have found a new job that is a better fit in a different direction. loving the timing.

4. Last night Charity and I went and saw the Kills at the Casbah. As you would imagine, it was a super hipster scene: skinny jeans, black everything, girls with sleek black hair, or messy long black hair, purposeful quirkiness, trying to look like audrey hepburn, etc. the tickets said the show started at 8:30. now, if any of you have seen the Cougars episode of 30 Rock, and if you havent you are crying for yourself right now, you will recognize the woe of this tale. so anyway, chares and i hang with karina for a while, catching up, and i'm thinking i'm being pretty risky because i say we should get to the casbah at like 9:15...eek, don't want to miss them. yeah. casbah is a ghost town at 9:15. The Kills take the stage at roughly ELEVEN THIRTY. i mean their set was really good, i liked the songs, lots of good energy, didnt sound like complete shit, until the encore, which did, and was a cacophony of flashinglights and raunchy guitar that i think was supposed to be impressive, but to me was annoying--especially because poor charity and i are leaving at 12:45am and like, we have to work. anyway, after getting home at 1 and waking up at 715, i felt like "i'm way too old for this, please don't make me do it." so it kind of sucks, because i enjoy concerts a lot, but i appear to have a bedtime. i'm such an old fogey complaining about it going too late. but i seriously was thinking of those lupe fiasco lyrics "the crowd aint gonna clap and they aint gonna praise, they want everything back that they paid, cuz they've been waiting since ten for the lights to go down". i was like a total sourpuss, like "hmph, these people better be good, they got some nerve coming on here at 1130 pm, i should be in my pjs."

5-7 on tomorrow's blog :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

It's a jam for the ladies and the superstars

Had another little mourning moment yesterday when I went to find someone in my Contacts and realized John-Mark is the first contact in my list. It was an Amelie moment...do i delete it? My friend Antonia suggested leaving it for a year in memoriam. I like that idea. Any other suggestions?

I will return to funny blogs in the near future i feel. i have a travel coffee mug i want to evangelize about. but for now, something really important:

Recently three articles have been sent to me profiling blatant cases of sexism. if didnt think sexism was alive and well, men and women, OPEN YOUR EYES! standing up for women's rights and equal treatment doesnt mean being against men or hating men. no no no. in fact men need to fight with women. working to fight degradation of women. working toward equality. equal pay for equal work. women's rights are human rights. seems so obvious. this bias against women isn't christlike at all. i'm posting the articles sen to me. one is from a mailing from amnesty international about crimes against women. One is about the blatant way Hillary's gender has been abused--and whether you like or hate her for her POLICIES and stances, cuz i cant help but love me some republicans, the implications for all women should disgust you. The other is about pay gaps. We have to raise our boys and girls to break this cycle! Righteous anger!

Misogyny I Won't Miss

How Dumb Are We?
How long will women shoulder the blame for the pay gap?

recent mailing from Amnesty international:
Honorata Barinjibanwa was just 18 years old when she was kidnapped from her village in the Democratic Republic of Congo by Rwandan outlaw fighters last April. She spent five long months tied to a tree - her captors untied her only to gang rape her. She survived to tell her story, but remains deeply wounded by the attacks.

Rape is a weapon of war in so many countries around the world, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia and Sudan. And one thing is clear - the problem of violence against women vastly exceeds the resources currently devoted to stopping it.

Through our Stop Violence Against Women campaign, Amnesty International is leading an effort to end this systematic violation of women's basic human rights. But we have a long road ahead of us to ensure that our work brings real changes for women.

Amnesty and its coalition partners were the driving force behind the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) introduced in Congress last October. This bill would authorize nearly $700 million for local programs and services to help end the most brutal forms of violence against women, including honor killings, bride burnings, genital mutilation, mass rapes in war and domestic violence. Its passage is a critical first step in improving the lives of millions of women and girls around the world - women just like Honorata Barinjibanwa.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

RIP JMA. So Unexpected.

This has been a bad week.

Today I found out that my friend and old coworker, John-Mark Arechiga, died in an accident. here is the announcement from he and his wife's racing site http://www.littlebigracing.com/

Saturday, May 10, 11am, Buttonwillow raceway: John-Mark went out for a second practise session of the day on his GSXR 1000. He was extremely excited about and confident in this bike. After a year and a half of not getting along with a 2006 ZX-10, he felt he could really be fast on this bike, get back to some of his old times on it at the racetrack. He worked in preparation for this race weekend for days on end, even after the bike was essentially race ready he fiddle with every little thing on it to make it exactly how he wanted it. He didn't always pay such close attention to his bikes, only the ones he loved, like his Centauro Moto Guzzi, and this bike. After 4 or 5 laps he hit the first rumble strip coming through the esses, upsetting the bike. He tried riding through it but by the time the second rumble strip came it, it was likely too hard to keep it under control after hitting the first and it threw him off. When the ambulance arrived he was unconcious but breathing on his own, with a steady pulse. Evidently his pupils were dialated and unresponsive to light. No one who was not with the ambulance was told this. He stopped breathing on his own in the ambulance and was put on a respirator. His heart stopped and was started more than one time in the ambulance ride. When he arrived at the hospital, he had no pulse.They tried for 45 minutes to revive him but were not successful. The cause is suspected neck injury but as of yet unconfirmed. John-Mark always said he did not want a fuss over his death - all he wanted was for everyone to have a party and have a good time.

Cocktails and a memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 17th at the Sheraton in downtown San Diego (1380 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego, 92101) 6:30PM to 8:30PM, with an after party to continue at a large house very nearby Point Loma (address to be provided soon, it's right near the airport). For those attending the various races over the weekend not able to make Saturday, please join many friends and family at a party Friday, May 16th at a the same Point Loma home. Or at any time during the weekend for that matter.

I need someone to come with me to this funeral thing. I know we're supposed to have a good time but i've been crying and choking up all morning. i'm thinking this whole party funeral idea needs to be rethunk. then again, maybe a few dirty martinis will take the edge off the grief. i guess it's good that he died doing what he loved. Ugh, he was such a funny, intelligent, passionate person. you just assume people will be around for as long as you can imagine in the future. nicole kidman's quote from days of thunder holds true "Control is an illusion. Nobody knows what's gonna happen next: not on a freeway, not in an airplane, not inside our own bodies and certainly not on a racetrack." The only control is knowing there is no control.

I spent most of Sunday at the hospital where my grandma was being treated for what is most likely shingles. if you google neuralgia or shingles you will see that the pain associated with it is acknowledged as some of the worst pain anyone can feel. and this is what is happening to my poor grandma. and it will take weeks to get better. she had gone to the ER and they sent her home but the pain was so bad she went back and they had her stay overnight for tests.

those personal tragedies in combination with global tragedies like the earthquake in china and 120,000 people dying of disease and oppressive regime in Myanmar qualify this as a REALLY BAD WEEK!

Friday, May 09, 2008

mmmm donuts

argh. my coworker brought in donuts. don't you think it should be somehow physically difficult to pound, oh, like 900 calories in 10 minutes? that one should feel, you know, a sense of fullness. a sense of wow, after eating enough calories to sustain a supermodel for two days, i have a certain satisfaction in my belly. but NO. after having my compulsory chocolate and maple selections i am now fighting off the desire to go in for a glazed or jelly filled. fie on you donuts. my only consolation is that while they are yummy, they are not that particular type of donut--found fresh in *certain* special asian-owned donut dive bars that inevitably involve the words happy, lucky, shiny, or rainbow in their store names--that are dense and doughy and and utterly what i imagine crack cocaine must be like. i mean, once you start, just give up the ghost. you ARE eating five pounds of donuts that day. luckily the very best of said purveyors is on the PCH, far away from me. (i'm having visions of some weight watchers or jenny craig staff finding this entry and using it to describe the sad sad control and addictive property food has over people like me. posting it in 80 point on a projector in a meeting...people ooohing and aaaahing, shaking heads, sympathizing.)

so, i have this weird obsession with cleaning my laptop keyboard. probably because, in a sad and telling analogy, it's like a lover's body--the thing i am most intimate with, the thing i stare at and touch the most. 9 hours a day at least. let's sing some mariah carey "touch my body, roll me on the floor, wrestle me around, play with me some more, you sexy sony vaio...this is an andy samberg skit on SNL, i feel it. anyway, i just want you to know that you should NOT pry the keys off when trying to lovingly clean the keyboards naughty bits. they arent like normal keyboard keys that you can snap off and snap on--they have crazy little apparatuses underneath them. i come from a place of knowing. the better way is to coax out pieces of bran muffin, donut, and ethan-hawke-in-gattaca-exposing eyebrow and eyelash hairs that have been eaten or shed kinkily over the sensitive keys, using a paper clip and some compressed air. heed my warning. My H key will never be the same.

the spaces between the stalls in the women's bathroom at my work are TOOO wide. i should not be able to see anatomy when i just try to discern if the stall is being used. in some magical places, certain public restrooms, these spaces are so small that you have to push the doors to know if people are in them. in my work's case you not only can see immediately, you can see definite colors, styles, body composition, sometimes even identify the coworker. heinous.

i keep listening to this mandarin radio station. it's great for my chinese. but man, karen mok's songs:yawn. sap. or dao lang. i am going to use the space beneath here as a repository for links to songs that i kind of like though. pay no mind--unless youw ant to listen in which case, go for it.

Vivian Hsu--hen hen ai;
Angela Chang --Wo lian ai le;
S.H.E.--Watch Me shine (chinese version of the song from legally blonde);
Angela Chang--Neng Bu Neng yong gan shuo ai;
Chris Lee--wo de wang guo

Monday, May 05, 2008

colbert vs rain

So i want to share something with you that made my week. seriously. all happiness for a week because of this tv clip of stephen colbert having a dance-off with Rain (Korean hip-hop *sensation*)

that clip also produced my quote of the week: hey Rain, let me know when korea lifts the embargo on balls.

alert! More fabulousness in the form of the Chinese version of the Numa Numa song! Found on the itunes (live 365) mandarin pop station.

Today is my first day back at work. I have been working from home for the past two weeks,so it's not like i haven't been working. But today I am back on site. and guess what happened? middle of the day, things have been going great. suddenly excruciating pain. it is almost exactly one month since my surgery. and what happened 2 days after surgery...that's right. and as if to prove my ovaries are a-ok, it is happening again just like clockwork. i feel like shards of glass are ripping through my uterus. i have taken a positively overdosish amount of tylenol TWICE--not my preferred painkiller, but the only one on tap here at work--and if you know what's good for you, you won't say word one about it. because you don't feel it.

i'm online with one of my chinese coworkers who has nothing to do until he can connect with our office in an hour so we are discussing breakfast (this should show you a certain amount of my deft chineseness. he asks me how am i and i ask him "have you eaten breakfast yet?" (not the general greeting i use for most american, fyi) since "have you eaten yet?" is common code for "how's it going?". anyway i am now completely yenning for a fantuan. i wonder what it would take to fly fantuan lady here and force her to make me fatty fantuans every day!!! oh awesome, he just informed me that pure soy milk is good for women. good for women. hell yeah. lots of chinese stuff is "good for women" or men(i.e. powders made from bull penis or elephant tusk. i can hear tim allen making a grunting sound now...). i do give them props for distinguishing, though.

yesterday was cinco de mayo--a celebration of some utterly non-applicable-to-americans mexican victory over the french. an excuse for people to drink margaritas. i went to a friend's party where we had awesome carne asada and guacamole and drank said margaritas. Viva Mexico!

i'm listening to mandarin radio here at work. for those of you with access to chinese music, there was a very fun song by someone named angela chang called "wo lian ai le". i am trying to stick through the sappy crappy songs to get to decent stuff. man, i've heard this faye wong song Passenger before. it must be a classic..to me.