It’s Halloween!  The best holiday ever!  Everybody dress up and act silly!  Kids!  Eat all the candy!  Adults!  Wear your costume to work (and stop dressing like sluts)!  Everybody get a little scared!  Time to watch A Nightmare Before Christmas!  Don’t do any work at Office Job!  Mess with kids at the dojo!  Hooray!

I had a scratch in Office Job Friend's office

I was stressing this morning on my way to Office Job.  I didn’t see a single person in costume.  A bunch of elementary school kids crossing the street with their parents were all in uniform.  On my walk from the car to campus, still no costumes.  I had to ask the woman who was stopped at the crosswalk with me, “It’s Halloween today, right?”  She laughed and confirmed, yes, today is Halloween, and my costume is awesome.

My costume came about in the way most good things do: as the result of harmless shenanigans.  I used to teach an hour-long free martial arts class to my friends every Saturday morning for a while at a park nearby Boyfriend’s old apartment.  One day we discovered our usual spot taken by a bunch of lunatics training their dogs to go through the kind of obstacle course you’d see at a dog show.  We were not amused.  It was the only shady spot at the park that wasn’t muddy, and it was ours.  We had to get it back.  So we hatched a plan that involved one of us dressing up as a dog owner/trainer guiding another of us dressing as a dog through the obstacle course (with varying degrees of success).  Naturally, I was the designated dog.  We got a camera, a leash, and a dog costume.  We showed up at the park a few weeks later, ready to roll, and they were gone.  They never came back.  We were pretty bummed.

And yet behold!  A Halloween costume was born, and all were glad.  I’ve worn this costume for… wow, four years.  The first year I went to a party in Mid-Wilshire, got drunk, and barked at people who knocked into me in the crowd.  When else would that be even remotely appropriate?  Only on Halloween!

goodness, humor

Quest complete

I’m hosting a game night tomorrow night with my two roommates (Diminutive Roommate and Teacher Roommate), Treehouse Friend and Artist Friend (who have been dating for a couple of years, and would have very pretty children if they were so inclined), Office Job Friend, Stunt Sensei Friend, and White Boy Kung Fu Friend.  We decided to also include pumpkin carving!  To the pumpkin patch!


Actually, we couldn’t go to a pumpkin patch because Diminutive Roommate and I couldn’t get off work in time to go to one, but the local super markets did not disappoint.  Diminutive Roommate has a very distinct idea of what she wants, and requires a tall, long pumpkin for her vision, which took some sweaty digging, but omg worth it.

In case you hadn’t heard, I love pumpkins.  Frankly, I’m having trouble picturing a better-stocked shopping cart.  Perhaps if there was a kitten.

disembodied and ADORABLE

There we are.

family, goodness, humor, life

Halloween time is the best time

i love a good haunted house

A graphic designer named Mike Doyle recently caught my eye with his creation of abandoned houses built completely out of Legos.  These things are big enough to cover my desk, and rise about four feet high.  They’re serious business, and super cool.

I love Halloween.  I love everything about it: pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, costumes, decorations, getting scared, all of it.  I also love having so many random encounters with people because of costumes, and asking for candy from (and trusting) one complete stranger after another.  What other non-religious holiday allows for that?  Everyone loves Halloween!  It’s the best!


As a kid, I dressed up as a pirate for four or five years in a row.  I wore stockings, a red and white striped skirt with a jagged hem, and a thin white shirt and a pirate hat.  I also had a hook, if memory serves.  My mom would draw a curly mustache on my face at my behest, because apparently, even female pirates had to have Captain Hook mustaches.  Gender confused and full of sugar: needless to say, I was a typical, happy child on Halloween.

Sister dressed up as a candy devil one year, which involved Mom hot gluing candies to her tail, which she then unwrapped and ate before the end of the night.  I dressed as a werewolf one year (black clothing, All Star sneakers, and a mask), and as death another year (complete with armageddon cloak, scary face paint and scythe).  That turned out to be a semi-unfortunate choice, as I was invited to go to my first Halloween party by a 5th grade classmate where I felt forced to decline my first (and only) encounter with spin the bottle due to my awesome and really fucking creepy makeup.  I couldn’t believe we didn’t go trick-or-treating.  “What a waste,” I thought.  Plus, Sister and her friend both decided to dress as hippies, which only encouraged her to reiterate her favorite chant of “Angel, Devil, Angel, Devil” that she enjoyed cackling whenever she (often) wore pastels while I wore darker colors.  That shit went on for years.  I came to refer to her fashion choice as “Mug Me” colors, since I saw them as something that would make her look like a target.

But I digress.  Halloween is the best, even with an annoying Sister and friends trying to ruin my night with their stupid boys.

humor, life

Incredible edible fashion

i'm diabetic! hooray!

Recently at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, models trotted along the runway in dresses made of chocolate.

I saw these photos and laughed, but then the old woman part of me yells, “People are starving in the world!  France!  BAH!”  But fashion is nothing if not somewhat absurd.  The day fashion becomes nothing but functional is the day we all join NASA (yes plz!) and give up our aesthetics (no thx!).  I’m torn on whether I like high fashion.  It’s such a huge waste of energy and money, but I love the pure freedom of artistic expression, even if it often slips into the ridiculous and ugly.  But I love the concept of art: a semi-useless exercise of creativity for creativity’s sake.

If you’re not the type to worry about third-worlders, this must have been a seriously entertaining event.  Edible high fashion: What a great idea, in part because it’s so potentially disastrous, but also because it’s so temporary that it basically becomes performance art.  Each dress can only be worn once before it starts to go bad.  One of the dresses literally fell apart on the runway (see below).  What more do you want?  Ridiculous shenanigans are the best!  Too bad there are people starving in the world, France.

onoes! my delectably edible gown!


The black cover issue

like that

From age 7 to 12, five people I knew died.  The first (1991) from AIDS, a family friend.  I barely remember him, but I do remember staying up late at night at his house so we could be with him when he died.  The second (1993) was my baby sitter Melanie, who was murdered by a family member (stabbed and shot).  The third (1994) was my music teacher and choir instructor, of whom we all had a kind of fearful respect.  He was the first grown man I heard sing often.  He was shot by some teenager who held up a 7-11.  The fourth (summer 1994) was my classmate, Kevin, who drowned in his family’s jacuzzi in front of another of my classmates.  The fifth (1996) was my best friend’s mother, who died of breast cancer.  Our whole class attended the funeral.  I can hear her sobbing in the front row with her older sister.  Recently, maybe three years ago, a family friend, Dick, died of an aggressive bone disorder (cancer maybe?).  His health deteriorated so quickly, we did not get to say goodbye before he was gone.

I wonder sometimes why the deaths of those people I knew still bother me after all these years.  Naturally, I loved them and cared about them.  I realized today that they were all stolen from me in some way, taken before their time.  I suppose Dick wasn’t young, but… still.  Even so, if he were twenty years older and had died of old age, would I still be so affected?  I’d like to think so.  As for the deaths surrounding my childhood, no one ever talked to me about them.  I was completely alone, and I’m a little surprised I’ve turned out as well as I have as a result.  But I still cry thinking of them, perhaps because they were stolen, particularly Melanie and my music teacher; they were literally stolen from me by someone else: murdered.

People talk about healing after the death of a loved one, and I suppose I don’t burst into tears at the drop of a hat like I used to.  I think I will never not cry, though.  Which I’m becoming ok with.

badness, goodness, work

Regret in the purplish-red spectrum

I don’t have many regrets about my life so far.  I probably should have gone straight to graduate school from college instead of trying my hand in the working world (retail, bleh), but then I wouldn’t have had the chance to teach martial arts to kids, which has been predictably hilarious, and surprisingly rewarding.  I used to fantasize about teaching martial arts for a living, and now I do it.  I would not have been able to apply to the MAT program at Office Job without paying tuition.  I love teaching my foreign friends better English, and to think that I might also be able to do that for a living in the future is really exciting.  And so on.  So my biggest regret has also provided me with great opportunities.

as I recall, mine looked... significantly better

Having said that, there is one thing I regret that I cannot rectify in the near future: I should have dyed my hair more.  I have dark brown hair, so it’s easy to dye it subtly.  I look at students who dye their hair and I think, “Why didn’t I do more of that?  That looks awesome!”  It’s such a harmless, fun change to make on yourself, like crazy makeup.  In college I dyed the inside curtain of my hair jet black, and I dyed the outer curtain’s tips a light pink.  It looked bizarre and fantastic.  I loved it.  I wish I had done more of that.  Every time I see purple or red dye on a shelf, I think, “One day, one day…”  Of course, I can’t do it now with Office Job, and after that it’s job interviews for teaching jobs.  But after that I’ll be in my 30s, and dying my hair purple will seem… forced.  But if I still have the urge,  you’d better believe my dark brown hair will have a subtle red streak running through it at some point.  I already have a natural solid gray streak in the works (which I love).

red dye requires looking wistfully away from the camera (i hope! lol)

I think the core of the issue is that I miss having the freedom to change my appearance to something outside the norm.  Everyone looks the same here at Office Job.  We all wear clothes we don’t really like to conform to an image of “office attire,” uncomfortable shoes, boring, drab colors, recycled looks and compliments.  It’s such a shame!  I’m not saying we don’t look nice, or that I hate my Office Job clothes (some of the clothes I bought for this job have encouraged me to dress more stylishly which is fun and new for me).  I’m saying I don’t want to have to put on the worker bee mask every day I work here.  Dull, dull, dull.  Give me something to look forward to!


Z is for Zawesome

who doesn't want to ride a poison dart frog?

I miss going to the Zoo.  I understand that most of the animals were rescued from death in the wild, or are endangered so they need humans to make sure they don’t get wiped out by other humans, but as a kid I couldn’t give two shits about where the animals came from.  They were incredible, magical even, and they were almost in petting range.

Apparently it’s time for another visit to the LA Zoo next month, because at the end of this month a super cool carousel is being installed.  Instead of frilly, stupid looking horses, it has endangered animals, including a tapir, honey bee, dung beetle, and a panda.  What a great idea!  It also has a praying mantis, which, frankly, yikes, no thank you, but A+ for creativity.

badness, life

Then my heart broke

I found this video today of some completely average-looking people asking for marriage licenses in North Carolina.  They all get calmly rejected because they’re gay.  Then they cry.  Then I cry.  Then my heart breaks.

I don’t understand the problem people have with gay marriage.  I just don’t get it.  I’ve never heard an argument against gay marriage made calmly that didn’t evoke a Judeo-Christian belief system.  We don’t all have to be religious to be American.  To be American is to be a member of a diverse group of citizens.  At what point do some get rights others do not simply because they’re different?  It just doesn’t make any sense.

goodness, life

Moral compass

I’m really glad I started this blog.  From a young age, I had a strong sense of preserving the history of my family, of which I am, of course, a part.  My children or nieces or nephews will (perhaps) find this record of the minutiae of my life and, I hope, feel the love I feel for them already in the bright-eyed anticipation I feel for my own future.

It strikes me, though, that if my offspring are eventually going to read all this, I should probably start posting about stuff that actually matters to give them a better idea of who I am, or at least what I believe.  So harken, young semi-replicas of my future-self!  Your ancestor’s compass points true north!

I also ate a light bulb once, but that's a story for another time

I stand up for myself
-My first day of pre-school, an older girl demanded a toy I was playing with.  I told her simply, “No,” and continued to play.  She cried, and never bothered me again.  Our teachers found it so funny, they told my folks about it.
-When I was ten years old, a girl got in my face and yelled at me for not inviting her to play with me and my friends.  I shoved her away, and told her not to yell at me.  Dad saw the whole thing and pulled me aside as if to punish me, but instead said, “Good job.  If someone’s in your face, you get them away from you.”

I stand up for others
-The day Proposition 8 was passed, I joined a mass of people in West Hollywood to protest.  We halted traffic and marched eastward on Santa Monica Boulevard until stopped by some cops.  They told us to get out of the intersection, and while some of us did, I stayed, chanted, took photos, and almost got arrested.
-A few years ago at In n Out, a man complained loudly and rudely to the staff that he wasn’t being served quickly enough compared to the drive-through.  When a worker apologized, he kept ranting.  I told the man that the workers were doing their best, the restaurant was very busy, and that he could just use the drive through next time.  He quieted down.
-A mother recently chastised her son sharply for not bringing his belt to karate class.  I reminded her that he was only four years old, and that it was her responsibility to bring his uniform.  I asked him if he could help his mom remember, then told her that her son was not in trouble.  She did not appreciate being contradicted in front of her son, but at four years old, he was incapable of standing up for himself.

I am kind
-Whenever I see a car stalled on the road, I look at the clock and think, “Do I have time to help this person?”  Most of the time, I stop regardless of the answer.
-I have to fight the compulsion to buy random little gifts for my friends constantly.

I am loving
-I spend a little while saying goodbye to Boyfriend every morning with kisses and snuggles.
-I give some of the best hugs ever.
-I have had to train myself to act more selfishly.  Boyfriend has helped with that enormously.

I don’t always succeed in personifying these mushy adjectives and beliefs, but I try.  It’s hard to think straight in the heat of the moment.  It takes constant practice to press pause and think, “What do I really want to do here?  What is my true goal?”  I’m a work in progress.


Levar Burton, you were right

all I want is a small house with library that looks like this

In case you didn’t know, books are fucking magical.  “Hi,” they seem to say.  “I’m a dead tree that can make you smarter.”  See?  Magic.

I’ve always been totally fascinated by the concept that paper and ink can change a person simply by existing.  That’s all books do, really: sit around waiting to be discovered, like gems, like stars, like Atlantis.  All it takes is looking at them, and a person is different, no matter how small the change.  The power of ideas, knowledge, emotion, resting nearby, quietly lying in wait to pounce on my imagination like a happy predator, like my roommate’s cat, Calico; this is magic.  The written word is powerful, and this baffles and delights me.

I watched Reading Rainbow as a kid.  Giordi Laforge hosted, and he was the greatest.  He must be one of the most beloved people by my generation.  Every episode, he would basically say, “Let’s go on an adventure by looking at paper with words on it.”  I believe that’s what’s commonly known as magic.

all the cool kids read copiously

Butterfly in the sky
I can go twice as high
Take a look
It’s in a book
A Reading Rainbow

I can go anywhere
Friends to know
And ways to grow
A Reading Rainbow

I can be anything
Take a look
It’s in a book
A Reading Rainbow