feeling bamboozled

Okay, writers of Lost, I've got a bone to pick with you. WHAT IN THE HELL is going on? A whole lot of nothing, that's what. Wait, let's back up. I've loved this show from the beginning. I dutifully gasped and scratched my head in confusion when Oceanic 815 first fell out of the sky and onto the beach, and have obediently tuned in every week since then, following along as best I could with all the various on- and off-island shenanigans. Of course, as with all TV, some episodes have been better than others. This is unfortunate, but forgivable; the good episodes were awesome (remember Sun and Jin in Season 4? And the time travel storyline? The Penny and Desmond story, and Charlie? KEVIN JOHNSON??) and the big picture was still a good one. Plus, with this show there has always been the promise of answers, the expectation that when we do find out what the hell it is that's been going on, it is going to be really f*cking good. Our minds, they are to be blown.

Cut to this season - the last, final, the-end-is-upon-us season - which has just up and gone to the monkeys. I mean, let's take for example last week's episode - which was the third-to-last of THE ENTIRE SERIES, just to be clear - wherein (*SPOILER ALERT!*) Jacob and MIB's fake mom says she "made it so that [they] can't hurt each other". Yeah okay lady, we already know they can't hurt each other. What we don't know is WHY, and this is what we get? The answer is that fake-mama made it so?? Way to tie up that loose end, guys. Then a few minutes after she says this, Jacob hurls MIB down the forbidden light hole of "life, death and rebirth" (really? That's what we're going with here?) (also, perhaps you could have splurged a little on this cave of light - I half expected the Disneyland electrical parade to come marching out of there) and kills him, making a liar out of fake-mama. (But maybe not, because isn't that why fake-Locke had to make Ben kill Jacob instead of doing it himself?)

Writers, pick a loose end, any loose end, they're scattered everywhere, and TIE IT UP already! Time's a-tickin'!!

Side note: woah Nelly, Kate was a hottie in Season 1! What happened?!?


three-peat, baby!

A tidbit about me: I hate running. I know that "everyone" does it, and it's exercise, and it's free and it's easy - just lace up, open the front door and off you go! - and blah blah blah. It's also boring as all hell. It doesn't matter what I do to try to distract myself - TV on the treadmill, music on the iPod, running outdoors (which, actually, is SO MUCH BETTER than pounding away on a treadmill, it's amazing what a difference that makes) - my mind refuses to settle down and stop wondering if we're done yet. But because it's good for you (and, let's face it, I love food but my metabolism just ain't what it used to be), every several months I think that I should really make it a habit, and then every several more months I actually try to make it a habit. And I'm usually pretty good about it for the first few weeks, because I always do feel really good after a run. But then, invariably, one thing or another happens - seasons change and it's raining, or it's hot and humid and what, I'm supposed to exert myself in less-than-perfect weather? So life just generally gets in the way, the inertia is lost and oops, there it is over there, my ass on the couch again.

So a few weeks ago, mostly due to the 2 weeks' worth of dining out, pastries and overall gluttony that comes with traveling and playing tour guide, I decided to try once again to start exercising. I live somewhat near the Imperial Palace, which is probably the most popular place in Tokyo to go running. One lap around is 5k, and I figured a loop like that, with no other option but to get back to where I started, would be good for me and my weak mind. And because the last time I had exercised was a year ago, my plan was to just make my way around any way I could by walking most of the way, with maybe 5-10 minutes of running somewhere in there.

Well, what do you know, I ran the whole damn loop! Okay, technically it wasn't so much a run as it was a slow jog, but whatever. The whole loop! And it wasn't so much physically difficult - obsessive vacuuming IS cardio conditioning, I KNEW IT! - as it was mentally difficult. I think that after about 10 minutes my body just resigns itself to its fate and accepts the fact that there are another 20 minutes in store, and it obliges. But my mind, as usual, was being a pain in the ass and would not stop with the Are we done yet? How long has it been? What time is it? How much faaartherrrrrr??? So I started playing mind games with myself. I kept promising myself a rest - after this song was done playing, after I passed that old guy up there in the yellow spandex, after I rounded this next corner. But when the song ended or I reached the mark, I DID NOT REST. I kept falling for the same ploy over and over again, until eventually I found myself at my starting point. How's that for clever trickery!

And of course, my iPod was loaded up with all kinds of energizing songs to get me through the rough patches, those times my body did raise a fuss about being too tired to go on. When that happened, I pretended I was out dancing, channeling the endless stores of energy I seem to have when I'm shakin' my money maker. But as it turned out, what really got my mind off the pavement pounding was the immense concentration it took to refrain from actually throwing my arms up in the air and waving them like I just didn't care. So... that also helped.

I've done this 3 times now in the past 3 weeks, and I am totally patting myself on the back about it. I'll probably always have to resort to trickery and mind games to get through a run, but hey - whatever it takes, right? Whatever it takes.


up my alley but not my thing

During the summer after my 2L year in law school, I, like most other law students at the time, interned at a law firm where I was plied with alcohol, steaks and Broadway shows - and a ridiculous amount of money for the amount of value I brought to their table (that amount being approximately zero) - so that I would accept their offer of employment at the end of the summer. Tough life, I know.* Anyway, at some point during this summer of excess and debauchery, I made a bet with a friend. I've forgotten what it was we were talking about that brought us to that point in the conversation, but I said that I could never bring myself to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of shoes. Not that I find anything wrong with doing so; it's just that everyone has their "thing", and shoes are not my "thing". I'm way too anal to wear expensive shoes - streets are so dirty! What if my expensive shoes TOUCHED THE GROUND? Even if I water-proofed, scratch-proofed, everything-proofed them, I would still not be able to walk straight for all the time I'd spend examining the ground in front of me. Of course, I do appreciate a nice shoe, and definitely am not beyond coveting. But that's as far as I go - just lookie, maybe touchie, but never beyond first base. Handbags, on the other hand, I will go all the way with. Handbags are my "thing".

My friend, however, was sure that I would soon change my tune; according to him, everyone changes their tune after enough exposure to the obscene amounts of money that are tossed around in the finance and legal industries. I explained that for me, a handbag is something I would pay to take home, but a pair of shoes is something I would only look at and fondle, and only for free (okay, I'm done with that metaphor). But he was convinced that it was only a matter of time before I would bend under the weight of all that money, and bet that within my first 3 years of lawyering, I'd cave and pay over $500 for a pair of shoes. If he was right, I would owe him a pair of $500 shoes. If he was wrong, he would owe me a pair of $500 shoes. Well, nevermind that I wouldn't have known what to do with that kind of victory - at that time, I'm pretty sure I had no idea where to even look for shoes in that price range. I just love to gloat about being right, so I took the bet.

Here we are, 7 years after my graduation, and I have yet to own (or even want to own) shoes that cost that much. If my friend had listened to me, he could have won the bet on a handbag, because I've definitely hit that mark more than once. I haven't bothered collecting on the bet, though, because again, all that really matters to me is that I was right. And that everyone knows it.

Anyway, all this is a long-winded way of gloating saying HELLO, BEAUTIFUL:
Introducing the Ipswitch Brogues by Rachel Comey. Or, as I like to call them, My Lovlies.

Shall we look at another angle? Let's.
That silhouette! That heel! I'm swooning. Hold me.

These don't cost $500, but they're still above my threshold. And if we've learned anything today, it's that I'm always right the most I'm going to do is look at pictures of it online, maybe fantasize about it occasionally, maybe pet it if I see it in person (now I'm done, really I am). See you in my dreams, My Lovlies.

* But now the sky has fallen, and alas, such life is no more.


a harrowing tale

Mama's got a brand new toy! Say hi:


That's right - after much hemming and hawing, to'ing and fro'ing, I finally bucked up and bought a Macbook. I had been thinking about it for awhile, and I'll confess that part of the reason I wanted it was because it's just... so... pretty (the little apple on the cover lights up when it's on!). But more than that, everyone I know who has one, loves it and can't stop raving about it. So, I gave in, and got one a few weeks ago. However, because I've been a little busy, it wasn't until today that I got a chance to sit down and bust that baby out of its box.

Not that I've never seen a Macbook before. I've just never seen MY Macbook before. And of course, I was smitten - the aesthetics department at Apple must really be a bunch of go-getters. The laptop is sleek* and smooth and shiny, and... ok fine, I'll admit that I spent a few minutes gently petting the keyboard. But there is also a welcome video! That talks to you! After which a program is automatically launched that helps you detect and connect to your wireless network! (Am I aging myself? Do all laptops and computers do that nowadays? Because in my day...)

But after that initial helpful setup, I was on my own. It's almost comical, the number of times I said "What the... How do you... Ohhhhh." I'm sure I've just barely scratched the surface, and it's true what they say, that many things are intuitive - IF you've never used a computer before. I was born and raised on a PC (ok, what I was born on was *cough*a Commodore 64*ahem*) and found myself stumped by questions like WHERE THE HELL IS THE HOME KEY? Also, I understand that the Mac's delete button is the PC's backspace... but where is the Mac's equivalent of the PC's delete? I did, however, manage to rescue myself from a brief panic at the thought that you cannot ctrl-c/v/x - WHY WOULD THEY NOT INCLUDE THAT SHORTCUT?? - after I realized that instead, you command-c/v/x. WHEW.

So there I was, trucking along, figuring things out and exploring my new precious, when I took a swig of water. And promptly choked on it. I had enough sense to try to hold in my mouthful of water, since I was sitting in front of aforementioned new precious, so I clamped my mouth shut and slapped my hand over it. But that choke, it was a pushy one that wasn't going to take no for an answer. It persisted, and since the first one didn't get very far, the second choke was a little more aggressive and sent some water shooting out from between my fingers and dribbling down my wrists. "Save the precious!!", I thought. Feeling a third and even angrier choke coming on, I had just enough time to turn my head to the side before the rest of the water came tumbling out of my mouth - thankfully, onto my lap and floor. Crisis averted! The end.

Welcome to my life on the wild side.

** Except that for the physical size of the laptop, they really should have made the screen bigger. I don't mean this in the techie sense - because yes, I chose the screen size. It's just... all that WHITE around the screen. I'm subtracting style points for that.


on my vacation from other people's vacations

I've spent the past 2 weeks traipsing around Seoul, Kyoto and Tokyo - playing tour guide for the latter 2 - with brother and dad. Hoo boy, that was exhausting (but also nice, as it's not too often that I get to really spend time with family). I'm still recovering, while slowly digging myself out from underneath the laundry monster in my bathroom and turning my to-do's into to-did's. There is no room left in my brain for coherent thought, much less turning those thoughts into the captivating blog entries that we are used to around here. But, because I have turned over a new leaf and am no longer a non-blogging neglector, here is something for you to do during my brain's Quiet Time. A list! Of things I love! With pictures!

New sheet day.
[Oops, no picture. There is no picture that can convey the comfort, smell and joy of new sheet day.]

A good book, a steaming cup of coffee and a cookie on a rainy day. Quadruple points if it's this cookie OMG IT IS SO GOOD and I am so sorry it doesn't seem to be available anywhere outside Japan:
Chocolate Marshmallow Cookie from Starbucks. A chewy,
just-sweet-enough cookie surrounding a gooey marshmallow center.

Brunch. Especially at Beacon (one of very few places to get for-real American-style brunch in Tokyo), and especially this dish:
Huevos Rancheros with cilantro rice, black beans, spicy sausage.

That my puppy's favorite place to sleep is on my pillow. And that she sometimes sleeps like she's a person - on her side, little head on the pillow, little body off the pillow.
If I close my eyes and ignore you, maybe you'll turn off the damn light and let me sleep.

Taylor Lautner's abs. Now THAT is what I call A Situation.
Mm-hmm yes please.


open letter to chuck bass

Dear Chuck,

You don't know me, but I definitely know you. You, your friends and all your collective shenanigans have been my guilty pleasure ever since your beautiful privileged faces first graced my television screen. And I know, I know - I have disparaged you in the past, likened you to an emotionally juvenile cocky ex-boyfriend of mine, mocked you for your clothing choices. But you do recognize, don't you, that I was not entirely off-base? I mean, Basstardly (ha!) shenanigans aside, let's just talk about those clothes of yours. In fact, let's not talk. Let's look...

...at your evening wear. Are those sequins? Your dinner jacket, it's BEJEWELED?

...at your casual wear, accessorized with a pair of alluring come-hither (by which I mean scary I'm-going-to-murder-you) eyes:

...at your - good lord, what is this? Summer wear? I just... don't know:

Do you see, now, what drove me to scold your image every time it appeared on my screen? Why I could not imagine how anyone could find you remotely attractive, not in a million years, especially when conversations with you would never have been face-to-face but instead, face-to-nostrils?

But Chuck, you've grown. You've quit being a Basstard. You've let Blair in and are the epitome of a devoted boyfriend. You've learned to carry the weight of your head by holding it more or less upright. You've stopped with the ridiculous clothes. You look like this:

...and this:

... and this:

You are classy! Debonair! Still dark and broody... but in a good way!

Chuck, I guess what I'm trying to say is, I love you.



not exactly a bedtime story (but perhaps it should be)

Something I am deeply saddened by is the fact that there are so many of nature's species which are in distress these days. Yes, humans too - humans are are a troubled species as well. It's just that... well, this next part is probably not going to win me any popularity points, but I'm going to just say it anyway and then duck - the plighting of humans is done solely and exclusively by humans. The plighting of nature, however, is not done by nature; it's done by humans. But the reason we are able to do it is the exact reason we shouldn't. We are at the top of the food chain, the top of the brain chain - we are the masters of our universe. We should know better. As a wise man once said, with great power comes great responsibility.

Recently, I've been made more aware of the plight of the dolphins, because a man named Ric O'Barry and his team made a movie that won a lot of awards. I watched that movie and cried throughout; and guys, I am generally not a crier - I am a chickenshit, but not a crier. But, more importantly, I became aware of the extent of the problem - so for me, the movie did what it had set out to do.

Meet Ric O'Barry - an activist who has spent the past 40 years campaigning against the captive dolphin industry:

But before he was that guy, he was the guy who raised and trained (the dolphins who played) Flipper and endeared her to the viewing public, the popularity of the show resulting in a rising demand for trained dolphins. He had no idea at the time that all this was leading down a road to a bad place; but in working with the dolphins, he came to realize how highly complex, intelligent and sensitive they are, and how distressed they become when plucked from the wild and dropped into captivity (and - to add insult to injury - made to perform tricks for their food, for screaming audiences, in the tiny little tank they are forced to call home). It all came to a head the day one of the Flipper dolphins died, by - wait for it - committing suicide in his arms. And okay, I know what you're all thinking, because I thought it too - "Suicide? A dolphin? Next you're going to tell me she left a suicide note on the nightstand!" But seriously, guys, you have to hear him tell the story. I cried.

And that was only the beginning of the story. Since that time, O'Barry has been crusading to stop the practice of capturing dolphins from the wild to be put into captivity; but in the city of Taiji, Japan, his mission goes one step further. There*, the dolphins are chased into a cove, disoriented and frightened by a ceaseless beating of sticks in the water - this is done to panic them by creating too much sound for their sensitive sonars to handle. They experience extreme physical and psychological trauma; they are self-aware in many, if not most, of the same ways that humans are, and they can tell what is going to happen to them. The "best" dolphins are picked by visiting trainers and carted off to aquariums, dolphin shows and swim-with-dolphin programs around the world. The rest are killed by repeatedly stabbing the water with spears until the bodies are still - it's hard to really aim, I guess, when you can't see through the bloodied water. There's a heart-wrenching clip in the movie where a dolphin, frantic with bloody stab wounds all over its body, desperately flips and flops its way on shore, trying to get away, only to collapse and die on the sand.

Just because something is difficult to watch doesn't mean it shouldn't be seen.

There are those that argue that all this brouhaha that's being raised about dolphin killings is just another case of cultural imperialism. To that, I say, PSHAW. There is nothing cultural about dolphin meat, nor selling dolphins into captivity, nor the cruel method of chasing, capturing and killing dolphins that takes place in Taiji. Most Japanese people don't even know about this, and they certainly don't eat dolphin meat (not knowingly, anyway, because who really chooses to subject themselves to mercury poisoning?). How can it be cultural when people have no idea?

Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But one thing I absolutely cannot stand, in a make it stop make it stop OMG MAKE IT STOP kind of way, is an illogical argument. When somebody tells me the sky is red, and I go and look outside and the sky is not, in fact, red, it makes me want to punch them. But because I know this is not a socially acceptable way to converse with someone, I am stuck without a response. Which I hate. Likewise, when somebody tells me that wanting to stop the hunting of dolphins for capture and baseless killing is another example of cultural imperialism, and when I look around me and see that most Japanese people have no clue what any of this dolphin business is all about, I see that it can't be cultural. The sky is not red. But yet, many of those who put forth the cultural imperialism argument are people I know to be rational, intelligent, and otherwise capable of distinguishing between colors. So - to those of you who hold this view - I wonder, sincerely and without trying to be facetious - why do you think so? How do you get the sky to be red?

* This is not the only place dolphin hunts take place, but it happens on the largest scale in Japan. It also happens in Denmark, Peru and parts of the South Pacific.


this is why you love me

I thought that I should (re-)start things off with a bang by discussing a few things I cannot stand. You can thank me later. In no particular order:

Rant the first: that there is not one actor, among the entire universe of actors, A.K.A. people who are paid BIG BUCKS to be experts at pretending, who actually knows how to properly pretend to either hold or drink from a cup. If you watch any scene that involves a cup of liquid (or, worse, multiple cups in one of those cardboard/styrofoam cupholder things), I guarantee that you will see the actor waving it around as if it is empty. And then, to reinforce the idea that there is something in the empty cup, the actor will take a pathetic little sip - barely tilting the cup - and then fail to pretend to swallow. You'd think that would be something they'd teach in the first week of Acting 101. Why bother with a cup of anything if they're not going to handle it correctly?

Rant the second: the way Jack Bauer pronounces "nuclear". It really takes away from his badassed-ness every time he says nu-cue-lar. Say it with me, Jack. NU-CLEE-AR. Even nu-clear would be acceptable. But not nu-cue-lar. No, no, no. I have particularly strong feelings about this one.

Rant the third: people who don't excuse themselves after RUNNING FULL-ON INTO ME because instead of watching where they were going, they were too busy looking down at the floor - the floor that is inside my apartment building and therefore free of potholes, curbs, sticks, and stones. Why are we looking down at the floor? Why are we not looking in the direction in which we are charging?

Rant the fourth: being too shocked to berate these people with anything other than an "excuse you!!" (a great one, I know, especially when the target of my wrath does not even speak English), and then seconds later coming up with the perfect way to teach them a lesson, and then for the rest of the day (several days, if I'm being honest) fantasizing about sticking my foot out to trip them while verbally ripping them a new asshole. This one, I also have strong feelings about.

Rant the fifth: airplane announcements that come in through the headsets AT EXTREMELY HIGH DECIBELS. Seriously, why does this happen? If I am watching a movie and my headset volume is set to a level of my liking, and if the announcement is otherwise coming through the airplane's speakers at a normal volume, WHY must the living daylights be frightened out of me by the announcement ripping through the headset?

Now you can thank me.


...aaaand i'm back

Well. Hi!

So I'm back, and wow, things look a little different around here. As things often do after a year and a half. Heh, heh. Ok, I'll just get down to it - I'm sorry. To all 4 of you who read this blog, I'm sorry that I disappeared without warning. But I do have an excuse, and without getting too much into it, I will explain. First, One Thing happened, which kind of drained the energy and inspiration out of me - sucked it out and left me a shriveled, empty shell (luckily, I did not lose my flair for the dramatic). So while that One Thing was happening, I found that I didn't really have much to say about anything; so I didn't. Then, Another Thing happened. That Another Thing was actually a good Thing that was only disguised as a bad Thing; but still, it was a doozy of a Thing, and I continued to find myself without much to say. On top of all this, Facebook became my go-to for scratching any itches I did have to post commentary on the Internet. Thus went this blog the way of all my gym memberships in the past few years - that is, something I was excited about and diligently paid attention to with gusto and good intentions for awhile, but which then became something I just couldn't get it up for, then got used to not getting it up for, then eventually let lie there like a cold dead fish I had no interest in reviving.*

But, the good news? I'm back! And I'll try to do better this time, I'll try not to disappear without so much as a sayonara, because as everyone knows, we only get one second chance in life.

Now, let's get back to our regularly scheduled sporadic posting.

* And that, my friends, is how you wind up with an entirely different metaphor than you started out with.