Monday, February 27, 2006

Apologies to Archimedes...

...but give 3 JACLers a lever, and they can lock the office without a key.

The JACL office is not self-locking, so the last person to leave has to have a set of keys. Today's Civil Rights Committe meeting went really well. However, the last 3 people in the office after the meeting did not have keys. El Prez thought he'd have to stay in the office indefinitely, possibly all night, until another key-bearing board member could come and lock the door. But with the help of the newest (and particularly ingenius) member of the committee, we rigged a lever with a random metal stick and scotch tape. I have no idea where he found the metal stick. But we locked the door by sticking an arm through the mail slot, pushing the stick to lock the door, and ripping the scotch tape away so the metal stick fell to the floor. The next key-holder to open the door might wonder why there's a metal stick with tape on it lying on the floor, but at least no one had to sleep in the office.

Who says legislative dorks can't have fun?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Girl Got Moves

In seventh grade, when Newsies came out, while my sisters were busy drooling over the movie's star Christian Bale, I was busy daydreaming about the brainy sidekick. (I love Newsies. I own it. Plus it's a musical, and I love those too. And it's kinda commie --if you consider workers' rights to be a commie pinko thing-- and that appealed even to the adolescent me.)

At any rate, all this is prelude to the fact that said childhood crush/co-star of Newsies is the evil corporate prick in Honey, which was on TV yesterday. When it came out in theatres, I thought it looked too much like Save the Last Dance, which I laughed and laughed and laughed at my sister for liking. But cable is a great way to watch (for free) movies you wouldn't be caught dead paying to see in public or arriving in your mailbox from Netflix.

I liked it. I thought it was cute. It was predictable, of course. But I'm easily seduced by a dance soundtrack, as well as a stay-true-to-your-roots theme. In other words, all the bootstrap-ideology / meritocracy stuff I don't believe.

This is what happens when I take a break from reading.

Monday, February 20, 2006

La musica

Opted out of yoga tonight to reorganize one of my playlists (and also because it's hella cold outside...)

So I renamed my Patriarchy is Bad playlist; it's now Soul Sistahs, and I deleted a bunch of songs/artists in favor of what I thought were strong, pro-empowerment songs. But then I realized I was subconsciously misinterpreting loudness and powerful vocal chords as lyrical strength, and what I had was all R&B, which is pretty much what my Ridin' Down Delridge list is supposed to be. So then I went back and added all these other female artists that were quieter and didn't necessarily have a boppin' beat. And then I re-edited for lyrics that were sad or too mellow (that's what Tea on a Rainy Day is for...) It pained me, but the suffragette folk songs couldn't do double-duty and had to be relegated solely to Vive La Revolution (cuz the ol' rallying cry "Bread and Roses" doesn't really segue well with Alicia Keys, Melissa Etheridge, Lauryn Hill, or Jill Sobule).

And wow, that was addictive and took longer than I intended!


Discussion over brunch turned to a Times article a long time ago about immigrants not using dishwashers.

In many immigrant homes, the automatic dishwasher is the last frontier. Long after new arrivals pick up football, learn the intricacies of the multiplex and the DMV and develop a taste for pizza, they resist the dishwasher. . . .

If they have a dishwasher — and many do, because it is standard equipment in most homes — it becomes a glorified dish rack, a Tupperware storage cabinet or a snack-food bin. It's never turned on.

Officials at appliance companies have noticed: Sears doesn't even highlight the appliances in its ads in Spanish-language media.
It's a quirk in the assimilation process that baffles social
scientists. "It's really striking," said Donna Gabaccia, who studies immigration and culinary history at the University of Minnesota. In the home, "technology is generally embraced by women. Certainly in terms of technology, their homes don't look that much different from Middle American homes."

... The dishwasher is a U.S. invention, and outside the United States, Canada and Western Europe, they are uncommon. In most countries, people cannot afford them; if they could, then they already have maids, who can do the dishes by hand.

I remember being bitter in middle school when Mom got rid of the dishwasher to make room for more shelf space. Cuz I had to do dishes as chores!

Censure or censor

I had no idea that denying the Holocaust is a crime in several European countries. Even though I'm still not going out of my way to read the news, the free-speech dork in me saw the headline on my homepage and investigated. The free-speech dork had to satisfy the history dork, who can explain as well as empathize with the laws' social significance. Irving knew Austria's laws and knew he was breaking them, so a jail sentence shouldn't be a shock.

Whether or not the law should mandate national identity and speech is a larger issue. I know what I'd do (or am doing!) on this side of the Atlantic. But I feel like this specific issue is one of those dicey topics where if you're not part of the cultural ingroup, you should just shut up. Sometimes you have to do that. (Obviously, other times you shouldn't.)

Friday, February 17, 2006


First of all, it is not plagiarism if you cite the source.* (A fellow history alum learned that the hard way. She made it look bad for all of us.)

This is too funny to pass up:

Man distracted by pornography arrested for erratic driving

Rutherford County deputy says he stopped a man who was driving erratically on Route 840 and may have found the reason for his distraction.

The officer says David Kennedy of Old Hickory in neighboring Davidson County had several pornographic magazines on the seat next to him. He charged the 33-year-old Kennedy with felony reckless endangerment. A woman who reported Kennedy nearly ran her off the road several times Friday called police, then followed Kennedy to the Rutherford-Wilson County line where Deputy Tony Hall arrested him. . . .
So maybe all those people on cell phones on the roadway aren't really talking to "friends"...

* Thanks again, Torgo.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I just have to say...


Despite the recent sports scandal and the four pages the Seattle Times has devoted to it so far.

Pages of books

I wish there were a Bookflix, like Netflix. Oh wait. I guess that's called the library, where they have twice shut down my account because of overdue fines. And my "queue" would be the piece of paper on my fridge with a list of books that I intend to read when I start reading again, sometime after the legislative session. Actually, right now there are several pieces of paper on my to-read list on my fridge. Which is not a good sign.

So now there's another title to add to my book queue, thanks to Torgo: poems of A.R. Ammons. They are short. I like short poetry. I think that's why I've always liked e e cummings, Emily Dickinson, and Carl Sandburg. And non-poets like Ernest Hemingway. Their work is to-the-point. It might also have something to do with a short attention span. Don't get me wrong, I like the prose-y, long, lyrical stuff too. (Sheesh, in middle school the security guard caught me in the faculty lounge, standing on a sofa reciting Byron.) And since I don't really like fiction, poetry is perfect because it's philosophy, art, and commentary all wrapped into one thing.

At any rate, I really liked "Their sex life," "Pebble's story," and "Pedagogy agog."

Maybe I should bump all the poetry and short stories to the top of my book queue. Scheduled shipping for mid-March.


I finally watched the sequel to one of my new now-favorite movies, and the sequel is also now one of my favorite movies. I think I liked it better than the first. Or maybe not. They both have their place.

Bad luck to watch it the day before Valentine's Day, maybe... but also perhaps appropriate!

In Before Sunrise the characters were so idealistic about life and love. Nine years later, in Before Sunset, they're a little jaded and cynical, but they're also more realistic. Or maybe that just says more about me...

Monday, February 13, 2006


I've realized lately that since Grandma died, I've been wearing a lot more:
* red
* gold
* bronze
* heels
* sandals
* purses
* rings (mainly hers)

Grandma was almost perpetually clad in jewelry, red, gold, and high heels.

In an uncharacteristically superstitious gesture, I always wear some piece of jewelry she gave me whenever I travel. Actually, I even did that when she was alive. I think it's kind of a subconscious tribute. And whenever I hear "These Boots Were Made for Walking" I remember her singing it with her Filipino accent, cranking it up in the car on the way to my 8th grade graduation. This from the dutiful Catholic lady, twice divorced and married three times!

So now, the latest: I pierced my ears on a whim yesterday. I can't really explain it, although I have the flippant and socially acceptable reasons handy. But I drove down to Southcenter, where I'd always go shopping with Grandma, and walked into Claire's. A nice Lao family was getting their 2-year-old daughter's ears pierced right before me (they'd cleverly given her a big ice cream cone right before). I felt a little like a tagged sheep afterwards. And now I'm stuck having to clean the studs three times a day for six weeks. And I woke up at 3am this morning, realizing than in six weeks when I can start wearing real earrings, it'll be almost the 2nd-year anniversary of her passing. (Last year around that same time, I was randomly Friendstered by a distant cousin in Manila who happens to be her namesake. Actually, it wasn't random when I think it through...)

At any rate, I don't know if I even want holes in my ears anymore. And my habit of tugging on my earlobes when I'm thinking is turning out to be very, very painful.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

La Panthere Rose

One of my sister's old stuffed animals is named The Minkey, from the original Pink Panther series.

I like the new one!!! It was all good fun and lots of laughs. And Henry Mancini's theme song was remixed. Awesome!

Friday, February 10, 2006

But my favorite dance hit is "Sandstorm"!

A friend directed me to this site, which tells you what song was #1 on the US and UK charts the day you were born. It's a nice little diversion.

For me it was Blondie's "Heart of Glass" in the US and Art Garfunkel's "Bright Eyes" in the UK.

But (and I find this arbitrary yet sociologically fascinating), the site tells people born before 1952 and 1955, when pop charts began in Britain and the US, respectively, to try for their "life's theme song which is the No.1 on your 18th birthday."

So apparently my life's theme song would be...
  • according to American sales: "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down," Puff Daddy (featuring Mase)
  • according to British sales: "I Believe I Can Fly," R Kelly
Who knew capitalism was so astrological? And here I was hoping for "Barbie Girl..."

And in Turin, the Games begin...

(Okay, so these aren't Olympic sports being played in Torino...)

I'm not normally a Jimmy Fallon fan, and I'm just a tad obsessed with Colin Firth... so I was surprised to realize that of the two main characters in the two versions of Fever Pitch, I prefer Jimmy Fallon. He was adorable in this role! And though I generally like Drew Barrymore, I preferred Ruth Gemmell as the girlfriend --she was blunt and snarky. =)

Obviously, the general plot was the same, based on Nick Hornby's book: sports nut teacher whose team never wins finds girlfriend who doesn't understand the life of a fan. The Colin Firth version I think did a better job of actually explaining a fan's obsession; the use of frequent flashbacks and the timeline of games accomplished that. The Jimmy Fallon movie kind of assumes the obsession as a premise and barely attempts to understand it.

Oddly enough, in the original film the pregnancy scare is real, but in the other it's just a false alarm so the story can continue being a happy, more formulaic and palatable romantic comedy. I thought that was an interesting divergence.

I liked both movies!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

All That You Can't Leave Behind

Thanks KS, for forwarding Bono's speech to the National Prayer Breakfast. (For what it's worth, the President's long introduction is available on the White House website.)

The part that struck me most was the part where Bono talks about how church-going Americans regularly tithe 10% of their personal income, but are unwilling to spend more than 1% of the national budget on foreign aid. The mixed metaphor aside (government, church), that's a crappy and embarrassing statistic, and even those who think America is a "Christian" nation should be ashamed.

Coincidentally, I'm reading Songs to an African Sunset, another book from the old college book recommendation list. I've been reading it for a while, actually; it's currently overdue at the library, so I have to drop it off on my way to the bus stop tomorrow, but I did make it halfway through. It's not fiction, so I didn't get bored. It was a little depressing, though -- the author returns to her native Zimbabwe after years of living in Australia, and in the first two chapters describes the lives of three people from her village who have died of AIDS. The collection of stories are poignant -- and I really want to finish the book, but I have to wait until the person who has it reserved after me returns it.

No matter how long that takes, no doubt Mugabe will still be around...

Much love for JC

He's given some good human rights-related speeches around the world, and Jimmy Carter has guts to say this at Coretta Scott King's funeral, with President Bush sitting right behind him:

"[The Kings' work was] not appreciated even at the highest level of the government ... It was difficult for them personally — with the civil liberties of both husband and wife violated as they became the target of secret government wiretapping, other surveillance, and as you know, harassment from the FBI."

The Thunder Rolls

Cleaning out my inbox, and came across a forward from a friend about Walmart and union workers. The union group that is running the alert uses GetActive, a sytem which I liked and miss but have to forget and move on.

So now "I've Got Friends in Low Places" is stuck in my head....

And speaking of workers' rights, I finally got around to watching The 40-Year-Old Virgin last night. It got rave reviews from most people I know. It was a cute premise. But I didn't like it. I didn't hate it, either, per se.

I guess the one scene I couldn't get beyond was the waxing scene. If Steve Carell's supposed to be such a nice guy, why was he screaming obsenities at the poor (Asian, btw) lady who was waxing his chest? Nonstop. Dude, it was your choice to get waxed, it's not her fault, don't call her names. She's just the worker. It irritated me.

But I really liked the Paul Rudd character...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Dexter for Congress

My friend's dad is running as an independent for Congress in Maine. Hope he wins! They're the coolest, most open-hearted, intellectual, and generous family in the world, and I have many fond college memories of them.

Also, the first Thanksgiving I spent chez Kamilewicz, I discovered my extreme, extreme cat allergy. In fact, I thought I'd die. But that's irrelevant.... Next paycheck, I need to make a political donation.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Ma Vie en Rose

So I've decided to accept a few things:

1. I probably won't read the news, except local political stuff, until late March, maybe early April. Comics, advice columns, horoscopes, The Stranger, The Onion, Fark, The Morning News, and CNN or CSPAN headlines don't count as news. Neither does anything I get on a listserv. Or anything on the home page of the BBC.

2. During certain times of the year, there are very few days when I get home early enough to actually cook. Last leg session, I calculated it and between evening work commitments, volunteer evening commitments, and necessary social sanity breaks, I made it home before 10 on Fridays.... only Fridays. At least this year is a little different!

3. There have always been very few days when I get home early enough to actually cook or eat. In college, I ate late and had a ton of multitasking dinner meetings. What exactly has changed? (Well, breakfast has . . . I love making breakfast on the weekends.) And seriously, what would I do if I got home at 6?

4. If I'm going to have evening meetings, what better way to break the proverbial bread than with like-minded folks equally as committed to community-oriented work?

5. The folks at Pho Cyclo will already know my order when I walk in at 9:35pm.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Dachshunds and Great Danes

Okay never mind, I'll just veg out until the banquet tonight. The Ugly Dachsund is on TV. It is quite possibly the cheesiest old-school movie there is, but I had the biggest crush on Disney's Dean Jones as a kid and I can't turn the TV off!!!

Still rooting for B.D. Wong

Subconsciously, I think I've been preparing for tonight's JACL dinner. (Even though I still have no idea what I'm wearing...) At any rate, I watched these two Asian/gay-themed films awhile ago.

In Touch of Pink, a Pakistani guy living in London has to hide his boyfriend from his conservative Muslim mother, and the ghost of Cary Grant guides him through the process. Saving Face is about a Chinese American lesbian whose mother gets pregnant and moves in with her after being disowned by her parents. They're both funny movies, and worth watching. And Kyle MacLachlan's portrayal of Cary Grant is dead-on!

They're both okay films in and of themselves, but after watching them back-to-back I realized they're somewhat formulaic -- queer kid has secret independent life away from "traditional" Asian family (whatever that means), family/heritage comes back to haunt kid, then there's drama followed by the inevitable happy-acceptance ending. The moral of both stories seemed to be "Don't make assumptions about your parents' views, they really just care if you're happy and in love with someone." Which is nice and fluffy, but also incredibly unrealistic.

Another similarity between the films is the figure of the single mother. The respective fathers of the main characters in the films both died, and they were raised by their mothers and extended families. (OMG, I have an Asian immigrant mother and deceased father! What if I'm lesbian?) I can't help but think this is fuel for right-wing views of "family values" --see what happens when children don't have fathers? It's over-politicizing the issue of course, but it would have been refreshing to have the two films be vastly different.

And now I need to figure out what I'm wearing tonight.... Or more specifically, which shoes.