Someone Set Up Us The Bomb

All Your Base Are Belong To Us

My friends and I went through a phase where we adored this remix video. We even drunkenly wrote “all your base” in chalk all over campus one chill Mardi Gras night.

Update 10/11/2004: you will pay if you hotlink this image.


A month ago, when I first decided to turn the webpage I had been working on for months into a blog, I had apprehensions. The point of this blog was to be my writer’s journal as I could never get myself to write in an actual journal, but what if my writing went stale? What if I had a lot of readers who expected the same thing and I delivered that same thing over and over again instead of challenging myself as a writer? What if I let people comment on my writing and instead of leaving constructive criticism or a positive note, they all told me I suck and should die?

I’m still a bit apprehensive about this blog thing, but at least I know that it’s getting the most important thing done- it does, in fact, help me with my writing. Through this blog, I feel like I’ve challenged myself on a regular basis and I’ve learned what my strong and weak points are when it comes to writing and my outlook on life. On the days where I don’t want to write at all, I force myself to write. Often, I even post what I wrote despite any misgivings I might have about the piece. If you knew me, as in lived with me and really knew me, then you�d think: “My God, what a miracle! She’s actually writing!”

After working with fellow writers my age, I’ve learned that it’s not uncommon for people who want to identify themselves as writers to actually be scared of writing. I suffered from that fear and became lazy about how much and what I wrote in an effort to keep the image of being a writer in my mind alive. If I actually wrote, then I would be forced to examine the words in front of me and maybe even discover that they’re horribly put together and I need to be shot for creating such drivel. If I didn’t write, then I didn’t have to confront my ability as a writer.

This blog has not only made me confront my ability as a writer, but now that I’m constantly posting comments and stories, it has also allowed my writer’s mind to awaken. These days, I always have ideas floating around in my head that I’d like to capture in words. On the days that I don’t post anything, I find that the reason I didn’t post is not because I don’t have ideas, but that my body either feels like shit or I’m exhausted from a long and busy day. In the recent past, I would never write anything due to being afraid of myself and thus shutting down any potential ideas that I could write about. Now, I at least have those ideas, even if they end up being boring.

Another good thing that has come from this blog is that Tyler is now writing. He probably started his blog due to the fact that he reads blogs all day long, but I’d like to think that I inspired him at least a bit. It’s so refreshing to see him actually create something instead of sit on the internet and read rants about this and that all day. Of course, he still reads those rants all day long, but at least something creative has come from them. Now if I can just get him to dive into that box of junk of his and put together one of those wonderful sculptures he used to have hanging on his walls in the dorms…

Fixing a Hole Where the Rain Gets In

A month ago, I said my goodbyes to Twyla outside the Thaiger Room and crossed to the other side of the Ave. While walking north to my apartment, I saw a small elderly man with a brownish green duffle bag larger than his brittle torso stumble under its weight. He fell to the ground, a mass of pamphlets and postcards scattering about the sidewalk in a swirl of hysteria. The man huddled into the duffle bag strapped across his back for a moment, hiding his thinly round face deep in the crook of an arm. All around him, college students and middle-aged adults passed in a hurry, agitated with how he was in the middle of the sidewalk and thus in their way. I was soon in front of the man and crouched down to the cool sidewalk and gathered up his pamphlets. Wondering why he collected so many different advertisements and stuffed them in his duffle bag, I asked him whether or not he was hurt. He answered my question in a quiet and sharply squeaky voice that I couldn�t understand. I handed him a stack of his pamphlets which he then hurriedly stuffed in the top of his brownish green duffel bag. Standing up, I offered him my hand. His was rough and weathered when he clasped mine, but the movements his body made in order to stand were delicate and feeble. Squeaking something I understood to be a �thank you�, he clutched his duffle bag close to the front of his body and scuttled off. I watched him rush down the street, realizing that his entire life was in that duffle bag- a life of pamphlets and postcard advertisements.

This afternoon, I said my goodbyes to Twyla outside the Thaiger Room and crossed the Ave. When walking north to my apartment, my eyes squinted against the onslaught of rain, I saw the same squeaky voiced man. He was standing with his back against a wall near the Russian bakery with it�s sandwich board sign jutting into the sidewalk, boasting the best piroshki. The man held out his hand to me. I did not take it, nor place anything in it, but nodded at him with a smile. Did he remember me?

Ananas commotious

The very minute I had entered the Conservatory Plant Sale with Jane and Jeff, I split from my friends and made a bee-line towards the bromeliad table. After straining my neck and walking briskly around the outside of the horse-shoe table, I finally found what I had come to Capitol Hill for. And better yet, I had seven different pineapple plants to choose from. I took my time examining each one and selected one with the least damaged leaves, although it also contained the smallest and greenest fruit that might not ripen with the upcoming fall skies. Carefully carrying my coveted prize, I weaved in and out of the booths, trying my best not to stab strangers with sharp leaves that jutted out in all directions. If I was ever to become a comic book hero, I realized that this should be my weapon of choice. “Prickly Pineapple, the Piercinating! She’ll stab out your eyes and finish you off with her castration boots!”

After browsing through the booths over and over again, randomly running into my friends who were experiencing the same overwhelming feeling of “plant overload”, I finally managed to tear myself away from the drainage of money and make my way towards the exit and pay booth. As I crossed the small taped off section of lawn, fellow plant lovers who had previously expressed annoyance at being stabbed by my weapon suddenly turned into admirers of the small fruit proudly protruding from an otherwise unremarkable plant. What soon followed was the chaos otherwise known as the “gotta have it” phenomena compulsive buyers suffer from.

“Oh wow! A pineapple! Where’d you get that?”

“A pineapple! Where are they?!?”

“Where did you get that pineapple plant?”

“The bromeliads,” I said, no longer feeling overwhelmed by the selection of plants but rather by the demanding voices that came from all directions.

“Excuse me, miss. Can I have your price tags?” a volunteer, who had seemingly appeared from the air besides me, asked politely. Confused from the immediate flood of attention, I looked blankly at the short brown-haired man who was already trying to pull the plants out of my hand and grab their price tags.

“Hey, how much is that pineapple and where’d you get it?”


“Can I have your price tags?”

“Oh sure, here…. The pineapples are over with the bromeliads.”

“That’ll be $27,” a small elderly woman told me after I gave her a slip of paper the other volunteer had handed me. Glancing down at the paper for the first time, I saw it had the total of my purchase scrawled out in abrasive letters. I handed my money to the smiling woman, gazing at the fluffy white hair she had piled on her head.

After she handed me my change and I was about ready to exit, I realized that a commotion at the back corner of the bromeliad table had erupted. It was where the pineapples were tucked away. A mass of people had gathered around the corner, most coveting their bruised, battered and rather ugly plants while they watched a pair of women argue bitterly over who had seen the last available plant first. “You racist bitch! Just ’cause I’m black doesn’t mean you can steal what belongs to me!” one of the women cried. In the next instant, the white middle-aged woman was tugging on one end of the pot while the black-middle aged woman tugged back on the other end, both screaming at each other.

“Wow, Min! You really bring out the worst in people,” Jane observed as she handed a wad of cash to another elderly lady who also sat at the cashier booth.

“I don’t know why everyone wants these plants all of a sudden,” I wondered aloud.

“Because you’re a hip trendsetter,” Jane responded jokingly. With that, we exited the plant sale and made our way to the parked car where Jeff was already waiting. We walked along the peaceful and sunny sidewalk, admiring the park waterfalls and sculptures while discussing a possible future visit to the Conservatory. As we walked, I could hear the argument fade behind me. It reminded me of my Senior year of High School and the horrid middle-aged beanie baby customers who pettily bickered over anything and everything. No matter what unimportant reason started the bickering, they often found excuses to verbally attack the staff at Hallmark. As I usually hadn’t worked the beanie hell shift, I had never been attacked. Others were less fortunate, such as my friend Kim who had been brought to tears at least three times and suffered countless other ferocious attacks. At these memories, a shiver tumbled down my spine. Fortunately, it was forgotten the instant we saw Jeff’s purple monstrosity of a plant perched atop our deep green car, making it look as if the car had a stylish cascade of hair.

My Life in a Box

First there was my random assortment of plastic necklaces from the 80’s that I had adored before I was in school. I would never wear any of these necklaces, and haven’t since Kindergarten, but they brought back memories of shopping with my mother at the Bon Marche and coming home with a bag of work clothes for her and one plastic pastel necklace for me. After much indecision, the necklaces went into my “To Ebay or Throw Away” pile on the bed.

I like to call the transition from my current apartment to my future apartment The Great Move. I’ve given it this name not because it’s the first move I’ve ever made, nor because it’s the last, but because it’s the first move where I have to downsize all of my possessions. Most of my friends haven’t had to experience this yet as they are on good terms with their parents and can keep their unneeded but wanted belongings in their old rooms. I, however, am not on good terms with my father and accordingly was forced to either move every last possession of mine or suffer having him throw them away. I choose to take everything that I owned when I first moved into my current apartment, including the 13+ giant tubs of beanie babies that consist of my inheritance. Now that Tyler and I have found the most perfect of perfect apartments to live in, which so happens to be only 505 square feet (our current place is about 700), I am forced to analyze the volume of all my possessions and try to decide what to keep and what not to keep.

Then there were the micro machines and die cast cars. These brought memories of pushing them on the kitchen floor in an attempt to see how fast and far they could go before our terrier (or terror) mutt attacked them. Since they were small and wouldn’t consume much space, I placed the mirco machines and my first ever die cast car (a silver DeLorean with doors that can be opened or closed) into my new and much smaller memory box. The remaining cars went into a paper box full of small toys that I am going to try and give away to trick-or-treaters this upcoming Halloween.

Because of the 13+ giant tubs of beanie babies, downsizing all of my possessions is a ghastly task. I did what I would in most circumstances- I tried to prep myself for the work by starting with the simplest task first. The simplest thing to downsize just so happened to be what I call my memory box. I used one of those plastic under the bed containers and filled it with random bits of junk from my childhood on through my last days of high school. It also ended up containing a couple of items from my mother that I inherited when she died. Most of the contents wouldn’t be bought on Ebay, which in my mind means they’re completely useless junk. However, when I opened up the contents of the box and dumped them onto the bed, I soon remembered the reason why each item had made its way into my memory box in the first place.

Items that might be considered important- such as my high school diploma- went into the new memory box next, with the cars filling in the wasted space of plastic groves beneath. A bag of marbles I had loved, tapes from past orchestra concerts and collectable coins given as gifts took up the rest of the space, leaving a little left for the odd assortment of pig and westie figurines I had bought my mother for one gift-giving occasion or another. My mother’s old glasses, random key chains, and other junk that had indifferent memories attached went into the “To Ebay or Throw Away” pile.

After I had sorted all the contents of the former memory box into their various destinations, I carefully examined the contents of my new memory box and found myself satisfied. I then decided to throw out the items that didn’t make it into the box or find another useful purpose. While collecting the random trinkets and junk into an old grocery bag, I found myself wondering how it was possible to attach so many memories to inanimate objects. Because each item I had kept, no matter how small and useless, had a pleasant memory attached to it, I soon realized that the contents of my box were not junk but physical memories.

A memory, whether physical or mental, is a hard thing to throw away.

Message Machine

Does listening to home brewed slippery jazz funk while eating falafel or cheesecake at a café sound appealing to you also?

Message Machine will be performing at Mr. Spot’s Chai House in Ballard tomorrow, Friday, September 12th from 8-11 PM. Click here for more details.

If you’re into the Indie scene in Seattle, don’t miss this chance to see them.

Give My Umbrella to the Rain Dogs

I often tell non-natives that there are two seasons here- three months of warm sun and nine months of cold, wet overcast days. Most of the time I feel like I’m exaggerating, but nothing seems closer to the truth today than this. It seems like we had a transition period of three or so days where it was a bit colder while still managing to be sunny. But even so, the weather change seemed to come out of nowhere.

I have mixed emotions about the return of our typical Seattle weather. On one hand, I’m happy it’s raining because this summer has been too dry. On the other hand, I’m kind of sad that we’re moving out of Summer as it means I’ll have to start German 202 (nothing makes me shudder more than this). I’m also going to lose the joy of eating all of my freshly grown tomatoes and basil. How sad!

The adjustment between Summer and Rainy (my name for the season that is considered three seasons elsewhere in this world) is the hardest for me. Just when I’ve acclimated to the hot days, the cold and rainy days hit me out of nowhere. Fortunately, I have a longer season to adjust to for the cold days. But, then again, out of nowhere the temperatures seemingly skyrocket and I find myself sweating buckets for the first month of summer. Deodorant may keep me from smelling bad, but it sure doesn’t keep me from sweating like many advertisements have informed me it should. (Does that mean its false advertisement? Can I sue and put myself through college because I bought said product to keep myself from sweating and it didn�t work?)

Anyway, it certainly looks like Summer is officially over and Rainy has officially begun. I better get off my ass and go dig up those pepper plants I wanted to overwinter for next year. Ah, the joys of a P-Patch…

P.S. The title is from Tom Waits’ “Rain Dogs”.

She Was Named After The Queen of Scots

Last night, I had a heart-wrenching nightmare that my dog, Mary, had died. If I ever woke up in a cold sweat, it would have been then. I vividly remember my eyes flaring open while my chest constricted from a mixture of stress and fear. When the throbbing of my heart began to recede, I could hear my dog�s congested snoring to the right of me. Unsure of reality, I gingerly moved my hand towards the floor and felt for her warm white fluff. My fingertips touched her ear and I then rubbed her head, causing her to start from her slumber.

Maybe I have no faith in this world, but I always imagine that were anyone to be in my place they’d be relieved when my dog dies. She’s old (albeit healthy), and has had a good life. But most of all, it’s not easy taking care of a dog while struggling with school-related financial troubles. I have lost count of the times someone has told me to get rid of my dog because she’s a financial burden. Their advice may be practical, but do they understand what Mary means to me?

Mary has been my companion since I was ten years old. She has stood by me for over half of my lifetime and is the only true friend I had before college. None of my friends, not even Tyler, have been there for my most pleasant childhood memories. Mary was by my side during the lazy summer days I spent with my nose shoved in a book, swinging under grape vines. She’s the only one who knows the delightful taste of the blue grapes I would strain to reach, and how they popped in one’s mouth with a burst of flavor that I have not found elsewhere. Only Mary was there for me throughout my three years of High School- the same three years that saw my mother’s beautiful body turned into a crippled and hunched shell of pain. And most important of all, Mary was the only one who stayed by my mother’s side during the long hours I worked throughout High School and after I had moved to the dorms for college. Not even my father can claim that he spent as much time taking care of my mother as my dog did. She may not have been able to cook fish sticks, but the extent of Mary’s selfishness was to sit next to my mother in order to receive attention. That simple act of constantly being by my mother�s side, comforted her during the peak of her pain.

I have vowed to return my dog’s loyalty with a loyalty of my own. I will take care of her and attempt to provide the best life possible while concentrating on the joyful moments we share with one another. Money is a small price to pay for the joy that Mary brings me on a day to day basis. Most people cannot understand this, but that’s okay. All that matters is that I understand.

So why all of the depressing posts? The period of September and October is a time of reflection for me. It’s the time that my mother’s health took a major turn for the worst three years ago, followed by a choice or two that I regret. What I write here helps me reflect upon my past and my present. It also helps me continue my healing and self-improvement. It’s a somber time of reflection for me, a time that trumpets the coming winter months which often dampen my spirits. But Spring always follows, and with it all of my favorite flowers and the ability to play in the soil for yet another year.

The Vacant Video Store Bum

This morning I went to the Kinko’s near The Metro for work-related business. I’ve been going to this Kinko’s for work related business so much recently that all the morning people know my face, and most know my name. Every time I go to Kinko’s to pick up something, I leave a little earlier than I’d leave for work, walk west to Roosevelt and then south until I hit 45th. When I get to 45th, I turn the corner around the former video rental store and make my way towards Kinko’s. Decorating the vacant video store are faded and paint chipped carnival columns that create a gaudy and misplaced feeling. I always examine these columns as I pass, wondering about their history. I often find the need to know what type of store found a use for them, as I’m almost positive the video store wasn’t responsible.

When I turn the corner, there is always a big man in a sleeping bag nestled in the rain-protected niche the front entrance offers. I usually exchange a friendly “hi” with this man if he’s awake. But sometimes, he’s passed out and smells of cheap whiskey and piss. It’s a smell I’ve decided to call “Bum Piss” as it seeps from every tucked away corner on Roosevelt and the other streets near where I live. On these occasions, I walk by thinking of what cheap alcohol I’d pass out with if I were cold, lonely and on the streets of a cynical city. Tequila is my alcohol of choice since it makes a really tasty drink known as Margaritas. But is cheap tequila the cheapest there is? I’d probably try to maximize my money and buy the cheapest, hardest alcohol available. And yes, if I was living on the street and had no one to take care of me or to take care of, I would probably buy alcohol and drink myself to oblivion at every chance I had. Wouldn’t every other person do the same, whether they want to admit it or not? Even the pompous businessmen walking the streets of downtown Seattle who always make it a point to yell, “get a job!” at the bums aren’t protected from the same fate should they fall into similar circumstances.

Often, when I walk by the man a second time on my way to work with my box of copies tucked under my arm, I nod to him and smile. When I pass and he remains in his sleeping bag, receding unseen, I wonder if anyone else smiles at him? Do the bus patrons standing in front of him make it a point to ignore his very existence? They probably do, as I often do the very same thing with other bums. But this bum is different for some reason. He has never asked me for money, and has never cat called me or yelled creepy sexually suggestive comments in my direction. He simply smiles and gives me a big cheerful “Hello”.

For some reason, I’ve never stopped to talk to this man, even though every time I pass him I want to. I want to ask him his name. I want to ask him where he’ll sleep when the vacant building opens as a bike shop and the owners decide to chase him away. I want to take him to a restaurant or caf� and buy him a meal where he can sit and enjoy the soft music and warmth. I want to hear his story, and then I want to go on my way to work and make a difference in this world. But instead, I pass him and continue on my way.

And So it Continues

If you notice anything a bit off about this site, it’s because I’m in the process of moving everything from Blogger to Movable Type.

Sure, Blogger is a good service, especially if you just want a blog to update and don’t have anything remotely complicated you want to do to it. Since the beginning of this blog, it’s been a constant struggle with setting up everything how I want it on Blogger. I guess some of the stuff I wanted to do with my site was a bit too complicated. The comments problem pushed me over the edge. With the php for Blogkomm. I had to have my archives in my root directory, thus creating a really messy directory as I have a lot of other pages on this website. As you might realize, I am definately not one for messy directories.

So, I spent most of yesterday loading MT onto my server and most of this morning setting it up. Things still need to be worked on, so you’ll probably see some funky stuff while I’m setting everything up. Just bare with me in the next day or so and then everything will be back to normal and I can move onward to more interesting posts.