Monday, March 31, 2008

LONELYMIDNIGHTDRIVERSDRIFTINGOUTTOSEA


"3/30/2008, Bruin players James Keefe, Alfred Aboya, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Darren Collison, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and Josh Shipp addressed the media following the Bruins' 76-57 victory over Xavier in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA tournament in Phoenix Saturday afternoon."

WE'RE OFF TO THE FINAL FOUR, BABY!!!

i think we stand a good chance of winning against memphis, but if we have to duke it out with north carolina, we're fucked.

STILL, LET'S DO THIS PEOPLE!!! bring on the eight clap . . .

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

u

c

lllllllllllllllllllllllll

aaaaaaay

u

c

l

a

fight, fight, fight!

IFIEVERFINDTHETRUTHI'MGONNALETYOUKNOW




the american heart association came out today with new guidelines for CPR: pump "as hard as you can . . . as often as you can" and don't worry about stopping for air.

beavis and butt-head, were they here, would have a field day with this bit of news . . . for my part, i guess this means i don't need to update my certification 'cuz frankly i'm already very good at pumping hard and long.

word.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

GEEIREALLYLOVEYOU. . .


this is for you, jz.

happy now?

going hiking in azusa tomorrow morning (me, gigi, blu, mr. gigi, terminator, maybe a couple other peeps) . . . perhaps i'll come back with something with which to entertain you. that is, if i'm not too busy gluing back on any lee press-on nails that may have fallen off on the trail.

you know how we cholas do it . . .

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I'VELEARNEDEVERYTHINGFROMLOSS;FORWHAT'SGAINEDTHERE'SANINNERCOST



"One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

GETYOURMONEYFORNUTHIN'ANDYOURCHICKSFORFREE


(this beer costs $1M in . . . oh jesus, what are they calling it now? the zim? the rhodesian dollar? bearer checks? i digress . . . according to "official" figures, that beer should cost about $33US, but the "real" price, that is, the black market price would be closer to less than $1US. and you know, i'm all about cheap beer. well, actually, i hate beer, but wine . . . ooh, a nice gewurztraminer or riesling . . . now we're talkin'!)
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i just found a country where the US greenback is STILL worth something!

ZIMBABWE!!!

yes, friends, if you hurry to your local travel agent NOW and hop a flight to zimbabwe this instant you could be able to go to a magical land where your american currency would be able to buy you stuff . . . lots of stuff . . .

ok, you might lose your life in the process, but hey, it's worth it, right? i mean, life is about acquiring more and more and MORE crap until you explode and if you can't do that, then is there even a point in taking in another breath?

exactly . . .

seriously though, people . . . news outlets are reporting that zimbabwe's economy just hit 100,000% inflation!!! AS IF they didn't have enough problems already, right? i didn't even know that THAT was possible!

there were several interesting articles about the situation all over the net. i've posted some of them for you below, if you're interested.

there is some particularly good information over THERE on the link to your right: voices without votes.

or, ethan zuckerman has a wonderful piece about it at: http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/

or if you prefer, newsweek, too, has an article about zimbabwe: http://www.newsweek.com/id/129010?GT1=43002

why do i care, you ask? why might YOU care? well, just a few days ago, our president had the gall to come out and say that the us economy is going through a "rough patch" . . . saying that inflation is nothing to worry about.

oh no?

i know, I KNOW! let's ask the people of zimbabwe and see what they have to say.

fine, i get it: we're NOT zimbabwe. thank god. we're not even remotely close to being in the same situation. but as americans, we're so insulated from troubles . . . from our own and the world's . . . that it's important, i think, to take a look at what's going on around the world . . . to get outside of ourselves and really think critically about where we stand, where we COULD stand . . . unless we become more informed and then use that information towards positive change.

many americans think that peaceful protest and voting are passe. that peaceful protest and voting are the zeitgeist of a bygone era; activities that only hippies engaged in in the 60s and 70s. but this is not so. protesting and voting require--or ought to require--critical thinking, which never goes out of style . . . and contrary to present popular belief, is the crux of a modern, high-functioning, ethical, humane, and civilized society.

it's hard for me to listen to people who say that there is no point in protesting or voting; that no-one is listening. the truth is that for however bad america might be right now, WE STILL HAVE A VOICE. if enough of us speak up, speak out, then our government will have no choice but to listen. it is our DUTY as citizens to keep this country's leaders on the straight and narrow.

the moment we lose sight of that is the moment we lose everything.

Monday, March 24, 2008

YOUDROPPEDABOMBONME,BABY


i loathe oprah, but this was cool . . . or maybe i'm just totally nuts.

ok, ok, it's probably the latter over the former, but here it is anyway, if you're interested:

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Five Things Happy People Do
By Gabrielle LeBlanc
From O, The Oprah Magazine, March 2008

Sages going back to Socrates have offered advice on how to be happy, but only now are scientists beginning to address this question with systematic, controlled research. Although many of the new studies reaffirm time-honored wisdom ("Do what you love," "To thine own self be true"), they also add a number of fresh twists and insights. We canvassed the leading experts on what happy people have in common—and why it's worth trying to become one of them:

1. They find their most golden self. Picture happiness. What do you see? A peaceful soul sitting in a field of daisies appreciating the moment? That kind of passive, pleasure-oriented—hedonic—contentment is definitely a component of overall happiness. But researchers now believe that eudaimonic well-being may be more important. Cobbled from the Greek eu ("good") and daimon ("spirit" or "deity"), eudaimonia means striving toward excellence based on one's unique talents and potential—Aristotle considered it to be the noblest goal in life. In his time, the Greeks believed that each child was blessed at birth with a personal daimon embodying the highest possible expression of his or her nature. One way they envisioned the daimon was as a golden figurine that would be revealed by cracking away an outer layer of cheap pottery (the person's base exterior). The effort to know and realize one's most golden self—"personal growth," in today's lingo—is now the central concept of eudaimonia, which has also come to include continually taking on new challenges and fulfilling one's sense of purpose in life.

"Eudaimonic well-being is much more robust and satisfying than hedonic happiness, and it engages different parts of the brain," says Richard J. Davidson, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "The positive emotion accompanying thoughts that are directed toward meaningful goals is one of the most enduring components of well-being." Eudaimonia is also good for the body. Women who scored high on psychological tests for it (they were purposefully engaged in life, pursued self-development) weighed less, slept better, and had fewer stress hormones and markers for heart disease than others—including those reporting hedonic happiness—according to a study led by Carol Ryff, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

2. They design their lives to bring in joy. It may seem obvious, but "people don't devote enough time to thinking seriously about how they spend their life and how much of it they actually enjoy," says David Schkade, PhD, a psychologist and professor of management at the University of California, San Diego. In a recent study, Schkade and colleagues asked more than 900 working women to write down everything they'd done the day before. Afterward, they reviewed their diaries and evaluated how they felt at each point. When the women saw how much time they spent on activities they didn't like, "some people had tears in their eyes," Schkade says. "They didn't realize their happiness was something they could design and have control over."

Analyzing one's life isn't necessarily easy and may require questioning long-held assumptions. A high-powered career might, in fact, turn out to be unfulfilling; a committed relationship once longed for could end up being irritating with all the compromising that comes with having a partner. Dreams can be hard to abandon, even when they've turned sour.

Fortunately, changes don't have to be big ones to tip the joy in your favor. Schkade says that if you transfer even an hour of your day from an activity you hate (commuting, scrubbing the bathroom) to one you like (reading, spending time with friends), you should see a significant improvement in your overall happiness. Taking action is key. Another recent study, at the University of Missouri, compared college students who made intentional changes (joining a club, upgrading their study habits) with others who passively experienced positive turns in their circumstances (receiving a scholarship, being relieved of a bad roommate). All the students were happier in the short term, but only the group who made deliberate changes stayed that way.

3. They avoid "if only" fantasies. If only I get a better job…find a man…lose the weight…life will be perfect. Happy people don't buy into this kind of thinking.

The latest research shows that we're surprisingly bad at predicting what will make us happy. People also tend to misjudge their contentment when zeroing in on a single aspect of their lives—it's called the focusing illusion. In one study, single subjects were asked, "How happy are you with your life in general?" and "How many dates did you have last month?" When the dating question was asked first, their romantic lives weighed more heavily into how they rated their overall happiness than when the questions were reversed.

The other argument against "if only" fantasies has to do with "hedonic adaptation"—the brain's natural dimming effect, which guarantees that a new house won't generate the same pleasure a year after its purchase and the thrill of having a boyfriend will ebb as you get used to being part of a couple. Happy people are wise to this, which is why they keep their lives full of novelty, even if it's just trying a new activity (diving, yoga) or putting a new spin on an old favorite (kundalini instead of vinyasa).

4. They put best friends first. It's no surprise that social engagement is one of the most important contributors to happiness. What's news is that the nature of the relationship counts. Compared with dashing around chatting with acquaintances, you get more joy from spending longer periods of time with a close friend, according to research by Meliksah Demir, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Northern Arizona University. And the best-friend benefit doesn't necessarily come from delving into heavy discussions. One of the most essential pleasures of close friendship, Demir found, is simple companionship, "just hanging out," as he says, hitting the mall or going to the movies together and eating popcorn in the dark.

5. They allow themselves to be happy. As much as we all think we want it, many of us are convinced, deep down, that it's wrong to be happy (or too happy). Whether the belief comes from religion, culture, or the family you were raised in, it usually leaves you feeling guilty if you're having fun.

"Some people would say you shouldn't strive for personal happiness until you've taken care of everyone in the world who is starving or doesn't have adequate medical care," says Howard Cutler, MD, who co-authored The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World with the Dalai Lama. "The Dalai Lama believes you should pursue both simultaneously. For one thing, there is clear research showing that happy people tend to be more open to helping others. They also make better spouses and parents." And in one famous study, nuns whose autobiographies expressed positive emotions (such as gratitude and optimism) lived seven to 10-and-a-half years longer than other nuns. So, for any die-hard pessimist who still needs persuading, just think of how much more you can help the world if you allow a little happiness into your life.

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it might be total crap OR not . . . either way, it appears i have some things to work on . . .

to this list, i would add something about spirituality. this is going to sound weird, but i haven't been very happy since i gave up on god.

don't get me wrong, i'm not saying there IS a god. what i'm saying is that the case might be that my absence of faith IN god has been to my detriment. maybe i'm right and maybe he/she doesn't exist at all, but that's not the real argument or even problem for me . . .

what if FAITH is what partially kept me happy all these years?

(i'm probably not explaining myself well.)

it's not that i think that i've been experiencing more unhappiness in my life as a result of being punished by god for not having faith in him/her.

i think that i've been experiencing more unhappiness in my life as a result of losing my faith.

a friend of mine, who's a die-hard atheist once told me that he really admired my faith in god. i told him to fuck off and quit patronizing me. he persisted, saying that when it came down to it, i had nothing to lose by having faith in christ and, potentially, everything to gain . . . eternal life, eternal bliss (even if by "eternal bliss" he meant an eternity spent praising god . . . none of this islamic version of infinite happiness surrounded by hotties and gourmet food and wine.)

but i have another idea as to why faith might be good . . . why i might not have "anything to lose and everything to gain" . . .

what if "faith" is a psychological exercise human beings engage in, that has nothing to do with the ACTUAL existence of a divine power, but that nevertheless makes us feel better about ourselves and our world?

wait, i suppose, though, that if I KNEW that i wasn't really believing, then it wouldn't really be "faith". would it?

(i'm still not making sense, huh?)

ah, shit! you see that? i think i just violated numbers 3 and 5 above.

bah! well, when i figure myself out and find nirvana, i'll let y'all know. i'm sure you're at the edge of your seats right now . . . quick, stop biting your nails! no, really, it's unsanitary and unsightly!

ONCEIHADALOVEANDITWASDIVINE.SOONIFOUNDOUTIWASLOSINGMYMIND


(2008: la habra, ca. took this picture tonight with my phone, which is why it's small. i also added a "paint" effect. so, if you're asking yourself why it looks like a screen shot from a grainy 1970s porno, then now you know the answer.)
an experiment in goth?

some days you just can't win . . . i was actually trying to look sexy and "smoldering" with my new MAC make up, but instead i ended up looking moldy . . .

seriously now, like someone punched me in the face, huh?

i FEEL like someone punched my face.

this afternoon i finished and submitted my TPAs (teaching proficiency assessments, 1 and 2). together they were about, oh, i don't know, SIXTY pages worth of work! i'm exhausted. frankly, i think that rather than a trip out to the sequoias i'm going to take a trip out to my couch and sleep . . .

i should be ecstatic that i finally got that monkey off my back, but instead i'm in a pretty juicy funk.

i know, I KNOW, i'm an idiot. but i just can't seem to shake prj off. i mean, i'm really doubting myself . . . this is totally an exercise in "patheticness", but i really am having some sort of meltdown. maybe i AM an asshole. maybe i am a mostly bad person. or maybe not "bad", but just "fucked up" . . . what's killing me is that if i am bad or fucked up, i'm not exactly sure what's bad or fucked up. and THAT is THE WORST. maybe prj was right and i'm fucked up and can't be fixed and i don't even realize it.

i feel myself hermitting again (yeah, yeah, "hermitting" isn't a word) . . .

fortunately, i can never say no to anyone, least of all my adorable nephew and niece who called me today to "request" that i take them to disneyland.

my nephew had his tonsils out last week and is apparently feeling better. plus, he and his sister are also on vacation this week, so i'll likely acquiesce and drag him and the other rugrat to the happiest place on earth later in the week . . . friday seems like a good day.

Friday, March 21, 2008

CONTIVOYACAMINARPORLASNUBES


spring break!

not sure what i'm gonna do now that i'm staying home over the vacation . . . i'll probably go to sequoia national park for a few days. that forrest always seem to help me put things back into perspective and recharge.

i love it there and when i die, i want my ashes spread beneath those branches . . .

if i forget to blog again before easter, then let me wish all of you and yours a blessed, safe, and peaceful easter holiday.

UPDATE 3/24/08: thank you to my friend, jz, who offered to wait until today, monday, to incinerate me . . . as he said, in case i decided to die on friday or saturday and make my "return" on sunday. very funny, jz. you're lucky you're jewish, otherwise it'd be straight to hell with you!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

SUPERSONIC.THE'S'ISFORSUPER,THE'U'ISFORUNIQUE. . .





a brief shout-out to KABA MODERN from UCI who was straight-up off-the-hook tonight on "america's best dance crew"! y'all made me proud to be a part of the UC system.

you guys were amazing and inspirational . . .

HEY,DON'TWRITEYOURSELFOFFYET.IT'SONLYINYOURHEADYOUFEELEFTOUT


right about now, i was supposed to be on a plane to london . . .

you know, i understand that i'm not perfect. in fact, i am acutely aware of my perfect imperfection. i have a lot of things to work on, admittedly . . . more than most, i suspect. but that doesn't make me a bad human being, does it?

i make a lot of mistakes, but i'll be damned if i'm not one to recognize them, own to them, apologize for them, grow from them, try to be better in light of them . . .

sigh.

gonna try not to think of prj in the next ten days, but fuck . . . it's going to be hard. really, really hard.

WHOA,WHOA,WHOA,OOOH,OOOH




(2008: whittier, ca. my link crew dancing/lip syncing to michael jackson's "thriller". for the finals, we're going to add zombie-like make up to our presentation and sparkly, silver gloves for everyone's left hand . . . it's gonna be no contest. this year's routine might even actually be better than last year's "what is love?" by haddaway, which was incredible.)

WE WON!!!

AGAIN!!!

now, WHAT did we win, you ask? well, i'll tell you . . . today, my students and i won our school's 2nd annual freshmen link crew lip sync competition. ok, ok, it's only the semi-finals, but STILL!

but what about "again", you say?

let me explain . . . see, last year my link crew ALSO won the lip sync competition (over 25 other link crew classes), so this year there is a lot at stake. namely, my reputation as the teacher with the mostest.

finals for the competition are week after next, when we return from spring break. knock on wood, but we're probably going to kill the rest of the groups . . . erm, uh, i mean, it's the camaraderie and having fun that REALLY counts . . .

wish us luck!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

WHENI'M64. . .

my good friend and colleague, blu, turned 28 TODAY!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, darlin'!

her yearbook staff, my news staff, and i threw her a little surprise party in my (brand spanking NEW!) classroom this afternoon. i don't think she was very surprised since i apparently wasn't an especially good liar . . . still, she seemed excited and grateful . . .

the pictures below are PART I of the blu bedazzling and bewildering birthday bonanza bash!

(all photos 2008: whittier, ca.)

(my classroom isn't finished yet and i felt it wasn't fit for a party, but blu has a VERY convincing yearbook editor . . . besides, it wasn't anything that a few streamers and balloons couldn't overcome . . .)


(mmm . . . pizza, cake, cookies, soda . . . glad those kids weren't in MY class for 6th period!)




(i'm such a FABULOUS artist, huh? nevermind, don't answer that . . .)


(pretty, right? i hope she liked them. i got this arrangement because it had my favorite flower in it: the daisy!)


(what you can't see or hear, thankfully, is the ridiculously obnoxious musical card i got her that played "shake your groove thing" on loop . . .)


(guess the pizza's good.)


(and the cookies too, apparently!)


(any more candles and the fire alarm would've gone off . . . (just kidding, blu!))


(it's a wonder she had enough breath with which to blow ALL THOSE CANDLES out . . . (still kidding))


(add "good cake" to the list . . .)

PART DEUX:

(nothing says "WE LOVE YOU" more than getting your car covered in post-its and plastic wrap. the note from blu's editor-in-chief says: don't kill us for this . . .)


(this is my editor-in-chief. blu had her for an SAT prep class last year (the SAT or the scholastic aptitude test, which, for my overseas friends who aren't savvy about america's educational system, is a high stakes test that supposedly helps colleges determine who's in and who ain't). here my editor is thanking blu for helping her achieve a high score on the exam. but frankly, if this is thanks, then, no thanks . . .)


(hard to believe, but blu's a re . . . re . . . rep . . . hold on, i have a little bit of vomit in my mouth . . . a republican . . .)


(so, here were some subtle hints as to whom she should vote for come november . . . note says: hillary 4 prez!)


(note reads: obama! now, i didn't write this one, but i think whoever wrote it is a brilliant, attractive, genuine, kind, caring, intelligent, witty, honest, sincere, down-to-earth, heck of a person!)


(and when all else fails: mr. bean.)


(note reads: scintilating school marm. SHOULD read: scintillating schoolmarm . . .)


("be who you are and say what you feel, 'cause those who mind don't matter and those who matter won't mind.")


("march confidently in the direction of your dreams.")


(hell devils.)


(queen hell devil.)


(note reads: titilating . . . ahem, titilLating . . . temptress.)


(REAL life skills . . .)




(mwaaah aaah aaah aaah!)






(the pi├Ęce de r├ęsistance!)


(and now we wait . . .)


(and wait . . .)


(and, no joke, FORTY minutes later . . .)


(wait, MORE waiting . . .)


(FINALLY!)


(guess blu found the "obama!" sticker . . .)










(the game IS ON, blu! bring on journalism camp!)