Of Dog Owners and Parents

When I signed up for the Seattle P-Patch program a year ago, I thought the most appealing part of having a garden would be planting whatever vegetables I chose and watching them grow into plump, delectable produce for my consuming pleasure. Never did I imagine what joy I would derive from ripping up grass and other weeds. But needless to say, this is the best part of my garden. Screw the easy way of weeding, which consists of “Roto-tilling” the entire plot with an unwieldy machine from the pits of garden shed hell and then leaving the unearthed weeds to dry in the sun. No, this stressed college student prefers to plunk her ass down in the dirt and gleefully rip chunks of grass by the handfuls. And as I found out today, my dog apparently enjoys sitting next to me in the sun while airborne grains of dirt fleck her white fur.

So this is what part of my day was like. After months of having neglected my plot due to the dismal Seattle weather, daily demands of school work, and absolute laziness, I finally hauled myself, my dog, and my gardening gear up the road to my garden plot. The abandoned plot wasn’t completely alone as there were others here and there overtaken by grass, but mine was immediately identifiable by the twelve massive broccoli plants sporting bright yellow blooms. Overgrown broccoli is not a new sight to me, so I hunkered down into the dirt and settled in for a couple of hours work of weeding. And there I sat, happily ripping mounds of grass from the rich, soggy soil while the pleasant “spring” sun kept my back warm.

A savage soundtrack of dog fights and dog owners who believe in negotiating with their pets played over my blissful weed ripping. After an entire spring and summer of listening to the chaotic chorus of the dog run near my garden plot, I’ve learned to ignore most of the yips, yaps, howls and screams of dogs and their owners. However, my ears couldn’t block out one dog fight in particular. Vicious snarls from two large dogs echoed across the dog run, through the parking lot and over to my garden plot. The snarls continued to echo. And they continued some more. Finally, the voice of one of the owner’s could be heard over the violent dogs; “Penny! Now, Penny, you know that’s not good. Stop fighting with that other dog. Penny! Penny, if you don’t stop fighting with that other dog I swear I’m going to spray you with this hose here. Penny, don’t make me…”

I always thought it was horrible how some parents try to negotiate with their misbehaving children lest the child throws a temper tantrum and cries in public, but the ridiculousness of negotiating with a dog just goes to emphasize how ineffective this method is for children (who, hopefully, are much smarter than dogs).

The fight eventually ended with both owners dragging their dogs across the shit-encrusted dirt in opposite directions, both heading for their cars and hopefully out of the park and out of my life forever. Soon, Penny and her new friend left me alone with the mournful howl of a basset hound and a few abrasive yips of joy. Once again, peace enfolded my corner of the park as I adjusted my loose-fitting jeans lest the crack of my white moon should offend anyone wandering the gently curving woodchip pathways of the P-Patch.

Soon enough, a mother and her daughter appeared- no doubt church goers who decided to spend the wonderfully sunny afternoon wandering the park and playing at the playground. “Alison! Al-ee-son! Walking through gardens that don’t belong to you isn’t nice- you walk on the pathway.” I peered through my weeds and watched pensively as Alison continued to trample through gardens. “Alison, come over here! Look at this bug! Alison!” the mother cried frantically in a vain attempt at enticing the kid to step on the proper pathway. But Alison had no interest in a bug and so ran through a couple of more garden plots. She stopped at a plot across from mine a started stomping on my neighbor’s onions and lettuce. “Alison! Alison! Look at the bug I found over here!” the mother cried, running after her child. When she reached the scene of the crime, she yanked the child through some more onions and onto the woodchips. Then, she stared right at me and asked, “Do you have a problem?”

“Funny you should ask,” I replied, “I do.”

The mother glared icily at me, and I could tell she knew what I was thinking. I left it at that and went back to pulling my weeds and showering my dog with dirt, trying not to listen to the mother mutter about “how rude people are these days” as she dragged The Abominable Onion Stomper towards the playground.

Hey, Buddha


Hey, Homie Ho

See what kind of trouble I get into when procrastinating? I tell you, it’s bad when I have too much homework to do.

Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork

When I applied for college, I applied only to the UW, but I remember being assaulted by a constant barrage of paperwork. There was the initial application form to fill out, along with an essay and a list of academic achievements, followed by an acceptance form where one had to declare that I would be in the Arts and Sciences College rather than the College of Engineering, etc. On the same form, I also had to disclose unnecessary information for statistical purposes. Did the UW really need to know what my sexual orientation and race were? Say I hadn’t fit neatly into the straight/white American ideal and had been a lesbian Native American/Hispanic (Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban)/African American/Other. As a high school student, I know I wouldn’t have been comfortable checking off all of those boxes and breaking down the percentage of my “racial heritage”. In reality, I wasn’t even comfortable checking off that I was 100% white; it made me feel guilty for my race. In what I now realize to be a failed attempt at retaliation, I chose the “Other” box and wrote “Euro-Mutt WASP”.

That barrage decreased slightly after I was accepted to the UW and had registered for classes. But once January shuffled around, the paperwork returned in the name of taxes and the FAFSA. As a poor student, taxes aren’t so bad- unless you have the unfortunate circumstances to find yourself in the complicated realm of the 1099-R and how the hell you’re supposed claim that thing. But then, that’s what Turbo Tax (and a high speed internet connection to “download” it) is for. A synopsis of the two years following my freshmen year would read: taxes, the FAFSA, correction to the FAFSA, an application into the English department, an application into the Comparative Literature department, more taxes, another FAFSA, another correction to the FAFSA, and another application into the Comparative Literature department because the Registrar lost the first one. All in all, things weren�t so bad after I had made it into the UW.

But then this year happened and I suddenly found myself knee-deep in paperwork. So far there has been/will be/might be if I’m not too lazy: an application for “graduating senior priority”, a graduation application, an internship application, an internship contract for credit, taxes, the FAFSA, a study abroad application, a third application into the Comparative Literature department because the Registrar lost my first and second one, a passport application, and an application for a student visa. And I haven’t even strayed into the world of the GRE and graduate admissions yet!

So this is what my life has come down to: a mass of paperwork and forms and filling out personal information in all capitals with blue or black ink in the white areas only.

Brave New Spam

I usually don’t get much in the way of spam on either of my personal e-mail addresses. The spam that I do get at work consists solely of ads for penis enlargement, horny college freshmen or anything Jewish related. The Jewish stuff is okay- being as I work for a bunch of Jews and I have yet to see anything along the lines of “h0t & h0rnie Jewish Mamas l00kin%g for @ G00d Time!”- but the other stuff is annoying as it’s clear the same two people (or perhaps it’s just one loser who runs two outfits) have nothing better to do than send 100 identical copies of the same e-mail with different headers each day (this is not an exaggeration!).

So, you can imagine my amusement when Tyler happened to show me the below spam for Soma. Is this real? Has Soma really stepped off the pages of Huxley’s book and into our everyday lives? Is this a government conspiracy?

Relax with Soma!

A simple Google search has proven that there are a couple of spammy looking drugstore websites that do, in fact, sell a muscle relaxant known as Soma. As for whether this is a Bush Administration conspiracy– well, I’ll let you be the judge…

Update 10/11/2004: if you hotlink this image, you will be punished.

When Pigeons Attack

What a beautiful spring-like day it was in Seattle. I enjoyed a nice saunter to the HUB on Campus to grab a cup hearty soup before wandering around aimlessly and taking pictures. I didn’t end up taking too many pictures during my two-hour break, but I did enjoy the warm weather. I didn’t even have to wear a coat!

Apparently the pigeons were enjoying the weather as well. These two were certainly enthusiastic about a wire belonging to Flowers sign. Their fight over the wire lasted at least ten minutes before a third pigeon joined in. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to witness the rest of the fight and who the victor (if any) was since the bus rolled up just as the third pigeon decided that delicious looking wire was worth braving two of it’s fellow vermin.

In the Beginning Throes of Spring

Ever since I read Middlesex, I’ve found crocuses to be quite sexual. Yeah, I know; those crocuses are always so proud and erect, how can you not naturally draw a connection between them and sex? But I honestly never did make that connection before. But now I can’t even briefly think about them without sexual connotations. The funny thing is that it took me awhile before I realized the reoccurring motif of the crocus in Middlesex. Sure, the first time the motif appeared, I thought, “Wow, that’s a cool way to describe that.” And the connection Eugenides draws between crocuses and sex makes perfect sense: crocuses are the first flowers of spring, spring is deeply associated with mating and thus sex, and flowers are often deeply associated with sex. Thus, it’s easy to connect the dots to create a line that reads “crocuses and sex are connected.” However, Eugenides’ motif was so subtle and matter-of-factly placed that it carved a deep impression in the dark corners of my mind before I noticed it. Now I can’t get the blasted correlation out of my head.

I suppose it’s a true testament to Jeffrey Eugenides’ skill as a writer since his words made more of an impression upon me than Georgia O’Keeffe and her vagina flowers.* I’m not saying O’Keeffe is a horrible artist, since what she created was quite revolutionary for her time. However, the words of Eugenides stand out more in my mind than the constant barrage of O’Keeffe’s paintings I’ve encountered over the years. I find this quite interesting as most people would agree that images from paintings are more likely to stand out in one’s mind than images from books. And yes, I am quite partial to books and literature, but I often find that photographs and paintings can evoke powerful feelings byway of concrete imagery where books cannot. Though Eugenides certainly has done well to prove this isn’t always the case since I can’t get those damn crocuses and their sexual connotations out of my mind.

Pale yellow crocuses basking in the mid-day sun.

*It’s good to note here that there is a controversy over this topic, and that I don’t read her paintings as sexual repression like most critics who lean towards the sexual interpretation of her works.

Dear Thief

Dear “Rattanack”:

I hope you enjoyed the embarrassment that ensued once members of your bulletin board saw the naughty picture courtesy of my boyfriend’s porno collection. Because you either lack any ethical convictions or are too dumb to realize the consequence of your actions, let me explain something to you:

I have made a selection of my photographs and words available on the internet for the enjoyment of others. However, this does not mean that said “others” can steal what I’ve made available. I take it personally when someone takes my photos or words and does not credit me as the author since this is a direct violation of my rights as the sole creator of those works. In the future, when you decide to directly link images (or steal them) make sure you note the origin of what you linked/stole out of common decency toward your fellow human being(s).

Furthermore, I’d like to remind you that I am also a student on at the University of Washington. Do you really desire to make enemies with someone who may share your classes and could potentially make you’re life a living hell quite easily? I didn’t think so. I don’t give a rat’s ass what your excuses and validations are for what you did, but I do want you to know that it was wrong and you offended me.