Friday, June 30, 2006



(One of my family nicknames is Pooh Bear, I'm a little partial to him...)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Well I was born in a small town...

This weekend was the UBER-ORGANIZING weekend. And I was repeatedly reminded how small a town Seattle is.

Friday: Blue Scholars concert!!! Though my sister and new bro-in-law bailed, I was able to give their tickets away to a coworker. And at a sold-out concert, I ran into ... count 'em... four people I know.

Saturday: Seattle reception for sister's wedding. The wedding itself, in LA three weeks ago, was largely Latino. Yesterday was pretty much split, half Asian and half WASP. Yay, multicultural families with segregated celebrations. Good fun, just like the wedding. The WASPy side of the family drank, but nobody else did. So now I have tons of wine leftover, and an excuse to throw a party again.

I was in charge of catering and decorations. It turns out the caterer I chose (word of mouth from an allied organization) used to be the minister at the church down the street from my mom's church. For various cultural reasons, she also did not give me a definite price for the bill (she said "Oh, somewhere between these [$100-apart] prices is fine." It was a learning experience for me, given my OCD-plus-part-Northern-European background, which demands precision in order to be mentally okay. )

Today, Sunday: Seattle Pride Parade. I had to organize the contingent for work. (One of the first things that happened after checking in with the organizing committee: being recognized by one of the security company/crowd control staff as an old high school classmate.)
Despite all the various normal organizing challenges for large events (with local politics thrown in), the event went well. It always does. Afterwards, I needed to chill in a friendly, low-key environment, so I went to Kozak's for dinner. There, after empty-bar chit-chat with one of the other regulars, I discovered the guy went to middle and high school with my uncle. (Aside: my landlord's brother was my mother's classmate. Apparently Catholic families, whether Irish or Filipino, tend to send their kids to Catholic schools, which I guess also tend to be tight-knit communities.) This is the same bar, I hasten to add, where a friend from high school dated a waitress and another friend from high school is the Tuesday night karaoke host.

Oh my God. I'm such a townie. Although I get the feeling other locals don't have these weird small-town experiences.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

No Rest for the Weary

Yeeeaww, looking forward to the Blue Scholars concert on Friday. Just scored the tickets. (It only took like two days of frustration with the online ticket agency...)

Also, SIS next week and Harry and the Potters next month.

Very exciting summer. "Summer" defined by the month, not the weather or the theoretical season.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Mona Lisa Smile

In middle school, I was a little obsessed with stories of history, myth and symbol. (My double major in college was no coincidence.) One of my favorite authors as a kid was Elizabeth Peters, mainly because she wrote Indiana Jones-esque adventure mysteries with nerdy female protagonists.

My cousin, who will graduate from middle school later this month, had a copy of The Da Vinci Code, so I read it my last day in California. (Actually, I read half of it, and then he came home from school, and then I had to fly home, so I bought it at the airport and then finished it.)

Back to middle school. The Da Vinci Code reminded me a lot of Peters' The Dead Sea Cipher because it's basically the same idea. Actually, DVC also reminded me a lot of The Forever King, a book I really enjoyed as a teenager. They both deal with modern incarnations of ancient predictions, and what daydreaming adolescent doesn't like that?

DVC isn't particularly well-written, plausible, or shocking. The characters are all well-tested types: the American in Europe who unwittingly is caught up in a sinister plot; the academic as keeper of ancient wisdom; the strong-willed female who carries the burden of a traumatic memory; and yes, even secret societies (the same ones that always recur: the Knights Templar, with a shoutout for the Masons). I even got half the "codes" on my own, including the mysterious scene Sophie witnesses.

But Brown at least does a good job of withholding information from the reader and then suddenly revealing it at the end of a scene. His chapters are short, and he switches from the good guys to the bad guys to keep the reader wondering what could happen next. An old literary device, but a reliable one.

Overall, I liked it. The basic "secret" put forth in DVC is by no means a new historical or theological theory. It's been suggested before, many times. (There's even a Dar Williams song, orginally written by Richard Shindell, which I think I overplayed in my younger years.) It's just never been disseminated like this before.

Actually, there isn't just one "secret" in DVC. Aside from the suggestions about Christ's life, the ideas about the sacred feminine, goddesses, and symbology are nothing new either. They were kind of pounded into the reader's brain, sometimes condescendingly through Langdon's flashbacks to teaching courses, where the reader becomes one of his students and "learns." Then again, I've read a dozen too many books on cultural theory and analysis, (which, incidentally, is also why I think Chuck Klosterman is too superficial). I've read far more works that go into greater depth.

So if this is what the masses are reading, this is awesome! Anything to get more people talking about how thought patterns are normalized.

Don't think I'll see the movie, but the book was good fun.

Friday, June 09, 2006

City of Freeways

I realized that I didn't get to walk much while I was in LA; I shuttled guests to and from the airport 30 miles away for three days, despite the fact that I really, really freak about about driving on interstates. Sitting in cars and escaping the heat by running into malls, there wasn't much walking done. But luckily, since Seattle's weather is now a warm 65 degrees, I can start walking home from work again. In some way that's kind of like going to the gym...

So the phrase I got to say the most in California, in response to a question asked repeatedly, was "No, no tengo novio." And then after five days of Spanish immersion with my sister's new family, I got to switch over to the Tagalog immersion program for two days with my mom's relatives. Pretty neat.

But re-education step #1: Get used to saying "brother-in-law."