Tuesday, November 7, 2017


       Earlier this year, in one of my Creative Writing classes, we were given the exercise to recreate a narrative by rearranging lines from lyrics, poems, books, etc. Of course, we were then encouraged to build off of that foundation to write something more original. But here is what I constructed with some of my favorite lyrics written by female singer-songwriters about art, love, confidence, community, politics, not knowing what to say, and what is pop?


You’re only as loud as the noises you make.
I’m learning to laugh as hard as I can listen,
cuz silence is violence.
It’s all in our hands, got to learn to respect
what we don’t understand.
We are fortunates ones, I swear.
I got a bowling ball in my stomach.
I’ve got a desert in my mouth.
Figures that my courage would chose to sell out now.
Could try to sell you out
or I could show you all the reasons
why my ARTPOP could mean anything.
If graffiti on the wall changed anything at all,
it would be illegal.
If scars could go away,
what would you body say?
Don’t ever hide your feelings.
Don’t ask me any questions,
my personal life is a bore.
Admire me in glory, an art groupie.
That’s all.
Life is no cabaret,
we don’t car what you say,
we’re invading you anyway,
you mother fuckers,
you’ll sing someday.
Love is paint and paint is art.
Show me your graffiti heart.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Survivor HvHvH EP 6

      On May 31, 2000, I stood at the stove in my parent's house cooking stir fry with one eye on the television, peaking at vibrant blue Malaysian waters off the coast of Borneo Island. It was the season premiere of Survivor. Outwit. Outlast. Outplay. The adventure intrigued me. By the season finale, when Susan Hawk rips both Richard Hatch and Kelly Wigglesworth new assholes, we were hooked. My parents and I have watched ever since, routing for the more-family-oriented contestants. When I officially moved to Portland three and a half years ago, I started taking notes as I watched each episode to email to my Mom. That way, we can still bond over the show. This season, Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, I will be sharing my thoughts.
       I am so glad for 2-day weekends! Due to a schedule swap last week, I only had 1 day to relax between work weeks. However, this weekend, I have enjoyed live music, writing, napping, pizza delivery, and finishing Stranger Things 2. How cow, that show. I get sucked right into their world, and as scary as it can be, I never want to leave. To help quench my Stranger Things thirst, I watched the after show, Beyond Stranger Things. The creators, the producer and most of the entire cast joined in on the fun to share stories and provide a sneak peek behind the scenes. Highly recommended. Saddened, yet not surprised by the absence of Wynona Rider, though. But now, for a completely different change of pace, I’ve got a Fijian beach to catch up on.

+ Starting the show off the right way. With tears! I wonder how many Survivor tears Fiji has seen.
+ Ali’s gotta wipe those tears and fight harder if she wants to make the merge.
+ Haha! Dr Mike dropped his fish in the fire! Super sweet of him to share though.
+ Cole on the other hand. I certainly wouldn’t miss seeing him on this show if he went next.
+ I’m with Fisherwoman - Unimpressed: “Talk buddy. Talk til your heart can’t talk no more.”
+ Jeff: “The last person voted out… Roark.” And everyone looks at each other like, “who’s that?!”
+ I never want to do anything involving a balance beam. This looks hard!
+ Poor Ashley and Dezzy just can’t get it.
+ Wow. Jeff is actually wading in the water. I never see him get wet!
+ Joe and Cowboy have already lost noticeable weight.
+ Oh, now hungry Cole has to share his precious pizza?! I never even want to share a pizza!
+ I do like JP, so I’m not thrilled Bellhop is thinking about voting his way.
+ I also kinda don’t mind Joe these days. I wouldn’t mind seeing him make it a bit further. But I like Dezzy too, so I hope they don’t go to Tribal.
+ And Cole hits the ground. Not even a medic came out? I wonder if he did it on purpose so Jessica would give him her food.
+ Cowboy: “Before he came out here he should have packed on a few pounds and not worried about his six-pack.” Cut to Lauren nodding seriously in the background.
+ Lauren is sitting out the challenge again? I have a feeling she’ll make the merge, but I’m interested to see how well she does at solo challenges. 
+ This puzzle looks impossible to do with a group of people!
+ Whoever wins certainly deserves it.
+ OMG! I can’t believe how close this is!
+ They are ALL TIED! I can’t believe this!
+ Jeff is shitting himself!
+ Damn. Roark’s team is heading back to Tribal.
+ I have a feeling it’ll be Ali. I like her, but her strategy has sucked, she’s had bad luck and she shouldn’t have yelled at Bellhop earlier.
+ I’ll be sad if Cole makes it further in the game than JP. I like JP a lot.
+ Ali: “I’ve put my loyalty in the wrong person.” Yeah, no shit. All of them.
+ Tribe of 3. They better win or merge next week.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Everything In Moderation

Sober October
…and then some.

What normally is my No-Alcohol-November has turned into Sober October. This is the fourth consecutive year that I have taken the month-long abstinence from booze. It’s a pep talk to my immune system! It ensures I’m hydrated and helps me enter the long winter months with a sense of mental clarity. This break is something that I look forward to yearly.

I started my No-Alcohol-November tradition in 2014, my first year in my current apartment. It was a choice. In a way, it felt empowering, like those first few, easy checkmarks off your to-do list. I knew it would be a satisfying way to be in control, and a quick turn-around to feel the strength of success.

Now I know that “4” is not a typical anniversary year, however, I believe what we accomplish (or chose to exclude, in this case, I suppose) should be celebrated daily. Because we’re worth it, dammit. And everyone should know.

That first year was an easy attempt. The concept is a bit gimmicky in general, so by excitingly telling my peers, their attention was caught and I was held accountable to meet my goal. I wanted to lead by example and though some folks were impressed, some Happy Hour goers just didn’t get why I’d go dry.

Alcoholism runs in my family. I’ve dealt with it directly and indirectly with family members, though many of them have gone 100% sober after years of overindulging. Although the darker years are never forgotten, the sense of accomplishment and pride will forever outshine. But it’s in my genes too. So to keep myself in check, I give it up once a year, for a month, and then ease back in throughout the Holidays, because it’s COLD after New Year’s and that whiskey warms those places that space heater don’t.

And I sure do love me some whiskey. Or, sometimes, a celebratory cocktail. Maybe the occasional glass of red or white wine, vodka in the summer, or tequila on the beach. I even don’t mind a $10 Bud Light at an outdoor concert, back home, in Boston, in July. As long as the music’s good. But usually, it’s the whiskey. Preferably Bourbon. Never Scotch.

I’m not sloppy though. I don’t get angry or overemotional. Like with a Red Bull energy drink, I grow wings. I remember my conversations, I create and laugh, and get just plain chatty. I don’t over-consume, though I’m the kind of person where if it’s in the house, there’s a glass waiting in the kitchen. Much like with my coffee consumption, it’s not how much - it’s how often. And my Father always taught me: everything in moderation.

I must admit, I cheated once last month (first week - White Russian – worth it) and once in 2015, during my second annual liquor-fast. Though it’s called a fast, it didn’t go by very quickly that year. On a roller coaster of work stress and personal weight, I craved a drink to relax every other day. One day, I finally broke and begged for a shot at my friend, Amanda’s door. I drank it with zero regrets. Then she offered a lovely dinner.

Last year, 2016 was also very difficult. I mean… The. Election. But my friend, Pope came out West to visit for the last week of the month, which helped get me through the home stretch, alcohol-free.

This year, to mix it up, I decided to detox in October instead. Really, I just have too many fun things planned this month, and I expect to have more than just a Holiday toast. This month yields 3 Tori Amos concerts, 2 Seattle trips, 2 Emily Saliers concerts, and 1 amazing Thanksgiving dinner with my friend, Lela and her family! I even have an Ani Difranco ticket! What am I most excited for? Lela’s meat stuffing and guava pie, for sure.

I predict I will fully enjoy myself at these special events over the next few weeks. However, to keep my pennies in my piggy, I will not be visiting the liquor store until Christmas. This will allow for larger Christmas shopping funds in the meantime! Shutterfly shipped my stack of 2017 Holiday cards, and although I had coupons, that cardstock ain’t free! Most importantly though, this extended diet will maintain my gorgeous complexion.

So, let’s CHEERS to that!