Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter Card: Lost

So I lost the Easter card I was going to send my mother-in-law. 

The Valentine's Day card I got her is still sitting on my end table because every time I asked Peter to fill it out, he kept saying, "Later, I'll do it later." 

And now the Easter card has gone by way of the black hole we call our living room. 

I feel like I've been spending my entire life looking for lost stuff. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mini-Marathon? Why?

So the Mini-Marathon last weekend almost prevented me from going to a doctor's appointment. Because of this damned thing, a zillion streets along mid-town were blocked off and no one was allowed to cross the street. Of course, this spun me in circles trying to get to Columbus Circle, where my doctor's office was and of course I was s'late. 

Instead of showing up on time, I encountered THIS:



Why do we need mini-marathons in NYC? Can't they do this in a less populated place, maybe somewhere in Omaha? 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Family Compound

My sister Jenny and I were talking and I told her that my parents wanted to build out their house so that Peter and I could move in. When I told my mom that there is no way Peter would want to move into their house in New Jersey, my mom asked: 

"Is it because he doesn't want to move farther away from him mom? Because she can move in with us too."

I mean, isn't my mother the sweetest person on the face of the planet? Who else in the world would move in the most bitter 85-year-old on the planet? 

And Jenny said, "Well, you know she wants to build a compound so that we could all live together."

"That makes sense. That's how they do things in Taiwan. The ultimate desire in every family is to have everyone live together in a compound. Why do you think Akong has one?"

"Oh my gosh! Akong DOES have a compound! She gets it from HIM!"

My mother's father has a compound. He has several buildings flanking the main house. There are actual outdoor bathroom stalls for all the buildings peppered throughout his property. Jenny used to think it was fun when we used to chat while we pooped in adjacent stalls. Yeah, it didn't take much to amuse a four-year-old. 

"Remember the row of bus seats he had in his office that he used as a sofa?" Jenny asked. "I used to love sitting in them and thinking how funny it was that I was sitting in bus seats, but I WASN'T ON A BUS!"

"I guess since he was a mechanic, he always had stuff like that lying around. So instead of getting a sofa, he was all, 'Well, I already got THIS,'" I said. 

 I told Peter that my mom offered to move in his mom also and he also thought it was sweet. The other day, when he went to visit his mother, she burst into the guilt-tears and Peter shut her up by saying, "Ma. If you REALLY miss me so much, my wife's mother has offered to build out her house and we could all move in with her."

Peter's mom's reaction was so not,  Oh, that's sweet. It was more like, Why does that woman want to RUIN MY LIFE? Never in a million trillion years would I EVER want to live with them and you shouldn't either!

"But why would she look at a nice gesture like that in such a negative light?" I asked him.

And Peter said:

"Because she's awful."

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Guilt Complex

Today I was part of an event where I sat down with writers to talk about their short stories. Out of the 23 people I met with, I had 2 bad experiences. One lady just kind of had it in for me the moment she sat down. I felt this barrier almost immediately. And everything I said to her she resisted. 

After she left I was so frazzled that I had to take a moment when I was with the next person. It was kind of obvious that she was unhappy and I told the next guy that sometimes I rub women of a certain age the wrong way. 

"It's because I look young, but really, I'm old," I said.

He laughed and said that he had the opposite problem. 

But I do feel that when I talk to certain women they get annoyed because the feeling is that I'm this young pipsqueak who shouldn't be telling them what's wrong with their short stories. 

I once taught a GRE class when I was in my mid-twenties and although I am an EXCELLENT teacher who has increased students scores tremendously as a mercenary of knowledge, this particular group of wannabe nurses asked for a different teacher because, although I was very nice and taught the material well, they wanted someone who was older. I was older than most of them! 

I mean, I look young, but I don't look THAT young. And yes, I'm still getting carded at the movie theater. For rated R movies. Which means that people think I am 16!! God forbid I try to get two tickets for me and my 43-year-old husband for The Hangover. 

And this other guy just really felt that I missed a key element in his story---and even asked me how many times I read it. I was a bit taken aback. I had read his story TWICE! And I didn't SEE what he had intended because it wasn't there! 

I came home kind of down and feeling bad until I opened up my email account and I got a bunch of emails from other people I met today thanking me and telling me how I inspired them to work on their stories to make them better. 

I turned to Peter and said, "Why is it when I had 21 good experiences do I concentrate on the 2 bad ones? Does everyone do that?"

And he said, "Only people with guilt complexes."

Why do I have a guilt complex? It's probably because I'm an oldest sister and I was brought up believing that if I didn't help my younger siblings, then they wouldn't be able to reach their full potential and then they would live horrible lives and it would ALL BE MY FAULT.

So I went through my day and I remembered this one guy who said that he had been looking forward to our mentorship session all week and that he was SO HAPPY that he came to the event. 

I decided that THIS is what I'm going to remember about today from NOW ON.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

That Teacher is a LOSER

Recently, a teacher wrote the words, "loser" on a child's exam in North Carolina. 

Now, North Carolina is a place that Peter wants to stay the hell away from because BAD THINGS have happened in North Carolina. A childhood friend of his was arrested for a crime he didn't commit and almost got convicted. So whenever we drive through that state, Peter wants to go AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, which is why we've gotten several speeding tickets there. 

Everyone has a lot of opinions about this one, but I've had my share of mean teachers. Mr. Catapano used to hand out exams and make snide comments right along the lines of "loser." Boy, was he a jerk. But back in those days, kids just sucked it up. No one ever complained to his/her mom about it, I don't think. 

The thing is that as a child, I looked up to my teachers, and I think that teachers tend to forget what it was like to be a child. An adult can say something offhand to another adult and know that whatever is said is taken with the same intent that it was said. Uhm...did I just take you down a corn maze? You got that, right? 

Children, on the other hand, tend to internalize things more and blow small stuff out of proportion. 

I remember in second grade, when my family first moved to Bergen County, New Jersey, I attended the public elementary school and LOVED my teacher Ms. Adams. I thought she was so cute with her curly brown hair and I had never encountered anyone that young who was a teacher. 

I had transferred to that school from a Catholic school in Queens which hadn't started teaching us how to read. And keep in mind, that I had just arrived in America just a year before that--so I was learning Taiwanese and English at the same time as well as trying to keep up with my first language,  Japanese. 

So yeah, I didn't learn how to read! 

One afternoon, Ms. Adams had us sit in a circle and she had her students take turns reading from our textbook. When it came time for me to start reading, I had such a difficult time sounding out the words, and I could tell that she was getting impatient, which, of course, made me all the more stumbly and stupid and made me stumble over words I already knew. Let's just say I don't do well under pressure. 

At one point, Ms. Adams took her big spiral teacher's textbook, raised it and whacked me over the head with it. Of course, I was still trying to read the words, but as I was reading, I was crying and it was SO embarrassing. The other kids just kind of stared because Ms. Adams was usually nice and this reaction was completely out of left field for us. 

Now, I don't know how Ms. Adams felt about it--she sure didn't look very sorry at the time, she just seemed SO ANGRY. And I was scared at just how angry she was--thinking back, it was SUCH a huge deal for me, but it was probably just a little blip for her. 

This memory will be with me FOREVER and that is what teachers need to understand when they deal with kids. 

Teachers represent learning and bad teachers make kids not want to learn. 

Oh, and by the way, I got into a Master's program for English that only accepts ten students out of 2,000---so even though I got off to a slow start, I'm doing just FINE with my reading skills. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It Was a Dizastah

Last Saturday we can this crazy storm in our area that knocked out the power to 420,000 homes according to the news. We were really lucky that we were spared because I hate not having my electricity. Then the fridge just becomes a big box of rotting vegetables and what would Peter and I do if we couldn't sit on the sofa in front of our TV with our laptops? What would happen to our quality together time? 

On Sunday I went to Brooklyn and of course, had to turn around twice because there were downed trees and darkened traffic lights and scary black wires that had been toppled down.

I turned on 1010WINS. When I was younger, their catchphrase, "You give us 22 minutes. We give you the world" made me think that they were a real estate agency. 

On the air was a newsperson from Hartsdale and she was reporting on all the damage in the Westchester area. It was pretty crazy. People died when trees fell on their cars. The newsperson said, "In the weehrds of one of the firemen, 'It was a dizastah.'"

Okay. 

I don't know what made me laugh more--that she had such a thick Westchester accent, or that she thought that the "it was a disaster" quote was s'good.

I mean--It was a disaster? Really? 

How about, "The worst storm in the past 100 years and for three generations to come."

All right. THAT may be too extreme. But "it was a disaster" is almost an understatement--it is NOT something that I would have thought to myself, "Oh, I better USE that in my report on the news!"

C'mon Westchester newslady! Step it up!




Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oh, yeah...

The other day, I said to Peter, "That was really stupid of NBC to let Conan go. But I think they should have thought ahead and put someone in his time slot. I mean, NOW what are they going to do after Jay?"

"Uhm," he said, looking at me like I was totally nuts. "They have Jimmy Fallon."

"Oh yeah....I totally forgot that he had a show."

Monday, March 08, 2010

SHIP!

I was watching this interview with Seth Godin and he said something that has been my mantra for the past few days and it's this:

Just SHIP!

That means, don't just daydream about your wonderful product or idea, but self-actualize it--you have to SHIP the product. Don't think. SHIP!!

So that really did get me going, especially since I have such a looooooong bucket list now that I wrote down, which was really helpful to me--to see all the things I want to do so that it's more concrete and it gives me more of an impetus to get things going. 

I am so happy to say that I FINALLY got around to opening up Photoshop and tooling around with the design of my new site. In a few weeks (hopefully this month), I'll be putting up my new site.

I will be going through my old blog posts and eliminating anything that is not good to have out there after I non-anonymize. Hmmmm, that's probably a new word I invented, along with the Italian word Totamente (which means Totally....as in, "That is SOOOOOO Totamente Awesomedente!") I'll write up a glossary some day. 

Basically, when this blog was mainly anonymous, I wrote some gripes about certain people I am related to by marriage...some people who are not very nice. 

The lesson I learned a few weeks ago when someone from my elementary school discovered my blog was the kick in the pants I needed to realize that I DO NOT want my in-laws to be s'totamente PISSED. My reasoning in the past was, "What? Like, they DON'T KNOW that they're jerks? I mean, if I acted like a jerk and someone wrote about it, I wouldn't care..."

Well, people do care. And I know that my in-laws would act the SAME WAY those people in elementary school did--they will have totally forgotten every mean thing they said or did and think I was just plain old crazy and be all, "What is HER Freakin' problem?"

So, all bad stuff about my in-laws will be done away with in a few weeks, so don't be alarmed. But before I pull everything out, I will write part DEUX about the Surprise! party, which I hadn't had the energy to do--the party turned out great, but it SUCH a mistake to invite everybody. I'll put that together in the next few days. 

On a side note, Peter and I went to Nashville about a week ago to pick up an 80's Rick. Internet, that's a vintage six-string Rickenbacker guitar. Yes, we took the dogs and drove a zillion miles to Nashville, TN to buy a Rick from a guy Peter TWITTERS with...and who says Twitter is useless? This is the sort of thing we do that makes me think sometimes that we're living out the script to some silly indie film. 

Until last month, I didn't know the difference between a twelve-string Rick and a hollow body Gretsch. Today we went to Borders and when Peter picked out Vintage Guitar magazine, I was all, "That's a Hollow Body Gretsh, Sunburst pattern Fender Stratocaster, and a 1960's Fender P-Bass." 

And Peter said, "Whoa...I think you're right."

By the way, for all of you guys in NY, the radio station WNYZ 87.7 FM, also known as the indie darkroom, is playing a few songs from Peter's old band Pepperfarm from an album Mutiny Records put out. Isn't that AWESOME? You can listen online here

I realized that the reason I love The Smiths so much is that distinctive feeling I get when I listen to their songs, which is, as Johnny Marr says, "turning your daydreams into sound." I also think it's funny that he says that his dream guitar is a 12-string Rick, which Peter just bought on ebay. Yeah, he's going a little nuts right now, but I'm glad he's playing again. 

I found a video that shows a Rick that looks EXACTLY like the one we went all the way to Nashville, TN to get. I've now named the guitar RiiiiiiickRickRickRickRiiiiiick, like Amy Poehler's skit she did with a stepdad named Rick. By the way, notice that there's a GUITAR STORE behind Amy Poehler in that skit? S'Twilight Zone!







Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Stephan FRY!!

So Craig did a whole show with no audience with Stephen Fry.

Who?

Stephen Fry.

Who's that?

He was in that vampire movie.

You must be mistaken. Craig would never feature a guy on his show for a whole hour who I've never even heard of.

Why? Just because you've never heard of him, he isn't popular?

Yup. 

You know EVERYONE who's popular.

I know EVERYONE. And where do you know him from?

He was in that vampire movie. 

Yeah. That's real specific. 

The vampire movie with Tom Cruise...Interview With A Vampire.

You're thinking of Stephen Rea. Is THAT who Craig is having on his show?

No. It's Stephen FRY. I heard him say Stephen FRY. Google it if you don't believe me.

Fine. I will. 

(a minute later)

I guess you're right. Stephen Fry. 

I told you. Stephen FRY. Stephen FRY.

He's the guy from Wilde.

Oh yeah! He's the guy who played Oscar Wilde! 

You know who Stephen Rea is, right? 

Yeah, he was the guy in the vampire movie and The Crying Game. 

Remember the SECRET in that movie?

I saw that movie in Paris. And when they showed that transvestite, I was all, this better not be that BIG SECRET because I knew from the moment they showed him that it was a guy.

I thought it was a girl. 

Well, you didn't practically grow up in the Village.