Monday, April 30, 2007

rush, rush

my schedule of the past week has changed and it's been tiring. learning how to pace myself. four shifts of work, plus this memoir class, a morning of office work, and an afternoon of tutoring. i've been free/unemployed for a while, it's been a bit of an adjustment for me. hence the lack of blogging.

tonight my church (along with 2 others) hosted a time of worship surrounding those who are living in in a form of slavery today. that's 27 million people. that's 27 million people too many. for more info see it's challenging stuff.

trivia: props to the person who can name who had an important cameo in the video of the song that is in the blog title. please name the cameo person, the singer, and what film the video references.

Monday, April 23, 2007

a little help?

i keep getting email reminders that i owe $2 in overdue fines to the woodward library at UBC. these were incurred over a year ago. i wouldn't really care (though i do hate things hanging over my head) because i don't go to school there anymore. but i'm annoyed i keep getting these emails. any vancouver friends want to help me out? it's only a toonie! i will send you 2 crisp american dollar bills for your trouble.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


today i found out through a coworker that a manager had been observing me at work and told him that that i didn't smile enough and wasn't friendly to customers. now, this is a rap that i've gotten before (in different settings), and it's kind of true. i'm a kind lowkey person, it's not that i'm not friendly or that i'm grumpy. i think it's also because it's so busy there and i'm still learning things that i get pretty intent on what i am doing. i know that it's something i usually have to work on. but i also think i have done a good job so far keeping things clean and looking good for the customers, and i work hard, which i think is are equally important parts of my job and should also be taken into account.

(in retrospect: perhaps it didn't help that i was talking about the "this american life" podcast i listened to where they conduct a experiment about if you got more or less tips by being an aloof waitress. i remember her not looking amused. stupid move on my part. but would you really think i would try that? no)

the main bummer is that i had to find out through my coworker. apparently this manager spoke to both of my coworkers but not me. that's what irks me the most, really. how am i supposed to change if i don't hear about it?

my two coworkers kept making frowny faces at me all afternoon, so at least someone was amused.

Friday, April 20, 2007


well, i'm formally signed up for my memoir writing class. i've been excited, but today i hit the nervous phase of embarking on something new. the age-old worries, "will i be good enough?" or my personal favorite, "what if i suck?" at least these thoughts has come up and i have ridden them out to know that it is just fluff. one of the advantages of getting older and living life, i guess.

this week i have renewed my job search for a more permanent day job. i feel like other coworkers at this place are in a position of limbo, like me. and it is easy to stay in that place. so we'll see.

nevertheless, i still find value in this experience. it's interesting to see what the restaurant industry is like; i haven't been familiar with it before. i've seen a chef chop dozens of mushrooms while staring off into space - if i tried that i'd be missing a few of my fingers. this same chef has sauteed entrees in six different pans at the same time over stove burners with flames 3 -4 inches high. insane. once i saw the head chef and butcher chop up an entire lamb. waiters and food runners balance plates of hot food down the length of their arms. it's all a controlled frenzy, with everyone at their designated function.

my mom is in china. she's gallavanting around the country with her best friend from nursing school. beijing, shanghai, and hitting a resort southern philippines on the way back. nice to see her living it up. in the meantime i am stuck with the high maintenance cat and my dad, who is not so high maintenance. it's quiet around here. a little too quiet.

when you don't consult an advertising agency...

... sometimes the results are awesome. awesome in a terribly bad, but still awesome, sense.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

in the kitchen

actual conversation between me and one of the mexican chefs:
him: hola bonita! como estas? (hey pretty girl. how are you? - he always says this to me)
me: estoy cansada. (i'm tired. - it was towards the end of my shift)
him, looking perplexed: you're married?
me: huh? what?
him: oh, i thought you said "casada." that's married.
me, laughing: oh no. no, i'm not married.

end of conversation.
let's just look at the conversation from his side:
"hey how are you doing?"
"i'm married."
ooooookay. what a difference a letter makes.

reminds me of the story one of my crew teammates told me in college. she was in china on a student exchange trip. while at mcdonalds she asked for a refill on her drink of 7-Up. the worker recoiled in disgust/confusion - "what?" but then understood once my friend pointed at the soda machine. when she got back to her table and told her teacher about it, she was informed that she had asked for a "raining vagina."

okay, that phrase is going to get me all sorts of random visitors from google searches. oh well.

Monday, April 16, 2007

doin' stuff

time it took me to get lonely while housesitting: 3 days (after exulting in having a whole house to myself).
time it took for me to wish i was housesitting again, upon returning to my parents' house: 30 seconds.

in other news: i recently learned of a writer/arts co-op in the city. it sounded like a cool community of writers, sharing in office space, encouragement and basic neuroses. i checked things out a "meet the teachers" night - they offer a few workshops. after the copyediting class fiasco, i was a little wary of taking another class.

i was pleasantly surprised though (there was free wine and cheese!). it was inspiring to meet people that actually wrote for a living and other aspiring writers. i chatted with a few different people, talked about what i studied at regent, and it didn't seem to faze them, which i found refreshing. at least they didn't look at me perplexedly and ask why i wasn't working at a church (the usual response).

i think i was sold when one writer, julia, held up a Salt & Pepper Flavored Krinkle Cut Kettle Potato chip and declared, "these chips taste excatly like KFC mashed potatoes and their gravy." because she was right - i had eaten these chips before, wondered what they tasted like and never was able to put a finger on it. this was the most awesome thing i had heard in a while.

after some thought, i've decided to take the class she is teaching about writing a memoir - based on other factors besides the potato chip comment (note the flecks of pepper in the gravy!). i just borrowed her memoir from the library. i'll let you know how it is (the book and the class). i think this will help me have some accountability to write as well as get some constructive criticism, learn more about the publishing world and just be with other creative peopel. and maybe eat more potato chips. preferably more free wine.

Friday, April 13, 2007

pie in the sky

i just ate a most delicious banana cream pie. i've never even had a banana cream pie before. I heard this report on NPR about Pie Ranch, a local sustainable farm that also serves as a place for urban youth to learn about where their food comes from. it sounds like a great place. they've got a pie shop in the city and i went there tonight after i went to a book reading. i'd have to say i enjoyed the pie more than the reading. visualize a lisping young asian man reading his story while suffering some kind of acid refllux and drinking maalox out of paper bag. the other writers were better, but that guy kind of set the tone.

a belated easter post

been mulling over my thoughts during this past easter...
i went to my church's tenebrae service on good friday. i love this service, which is rich in symbolism - powerful in the simplicity of the candles and growing darkness in the sanctuary. the silence in which everyone departs is rare in worship; one can meditate on the single candle re-lit at the end of the service, the reminder in the great darkness that there is still hope. indeed one cannot get to the brightness of easter morning without going through the darkness of good friday. i wonder what the intervening saturday was like for the disciples - must have been the worst 24 hours of their lives, full of grief and confusion, which made easter sunday even more bewilderingly joyful and amazing.

the next night i happened to watch v for vendetta. it's an interesting movie; i've got the graphic novel on which it was based on hold at the library. brief synopsis: it is set in futuristic england, a country that is under the strict rule of an oppressive government that exerts its power through fear (a little close to the mark, i'm afraid). anyone that sticks out - political dissenters, homosexuals, other minorities - is "black bagged" by the imposing police force. they arrive in the night, and take people away with a black bag over their head and are not seen again. no one dares resist until "V" a man in a guy fawkes mask comes along, determined to free the people through any means necessary. you could call him a terrorist. natalie portman is evey, a young woman caught up V's mission.

what struck me is the way in which people were taken by the police. the scripture of the previous night struck me - of how they came for jesus in the night. i had long accepted this part of the story in my familiarity with it. this time, an new perspective came to me. but for people who have been and are under the rule of cruel governments where this has happened and still does, for people living in fear, who are unprotected, who are powerless, who are on the wrong side of the tracks - this imagery must hold much meaning for them; that jesus has shared their suffering in this way. and in knowing that Jesus's resurrection is the final word is an incredibly great hope to hold on to. hard for me to imagine, on this side of a comfortable first world democracy. the occasion of easter takes on a greater meaning here.

as for further thoughts on this movie... V asserts that violence is a necessary (and perhaps only) way to conduct a revolution. in the film motorcycle diaries, che asserts that "you can't have a revolution without guns." the story of jesus stand in stark opposition to this viewpoint. when peter defends jesus with his sword, he is rebuked. in addition, V is masked as Guy Fawkes (an 15th century (?) english rebel who attempted to blow up parliament, and V carries out this mission). i think i see what they were trying to do here, in that V represents all the people. but can you truly trust a person when there remains this barrier between? jesus stood behind no mask. he crossed the distance between God and man and became human. ... here is where my thoughts kind of trail off... i continue to think this over. anyway, anyone else there seen this film? thoughts?

perhaps i overthink things, such is the formation from my time at regent. an acquaintance at church who has spent time at regent, jokingly defended her comments to me, referring to me as "a regent person who is all into brokenness and thinking and blablabla." i think she finds me intimidating or something because this isn't the first time she has qualified her comments to me in this way. i find it odd/irksome and a bit unecessary. i don't quite know how to respond in these situations. besides telling her that i think she's going to hell. that, also, is a part of what i learned at regent - who's going to hell and who's going to heaven. what, you didn't take that class? oh, well.

bad discoveries

finding out that my travel mug, which had been sitting in my car for roughly 2 weeks or so, had not been emptied of a particularly bad cup of coffee (and that was when it was fresh - now it is something truly awful; i can definitively say the new car smell is gone). washed the mug out in the bathroom at the town library, only to splash some of the water onto the front of my jeans. i will sit here at a table until i no longer look embarrassing. and i still can faintly smell the rancid coffee.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


"keep it simple, stupid." that's the saying my journalism profs used about reporting.

if only everyone else thought that.

i'm trying to find a new pair of jeans. an impossible and awful task, second only to shopping for a new bathing suit. why are there so many fits for jeans that just don't fit right? i hate superlowriseflarebootcuttightblablabla jeans. stupid stupid stupid. costco used to seel these calvin klein jeans for 20 bucks. i'm wearing them right now. i love them. should've bought a million pairs when i had the chance.

Monday, April 09, 2007

the mundanity of it all

if you've been wondering where i've been, i've been house-sitting and taking care of two dogs that snore really loud and throwing a tennis ball for them over and over and over again. other than that, i've been working which has it's own little subculture of oddities. i've heard a co-worker's coming out story in brief; seen another come in totally high (this is not a job that requires a lot of higher brain function, obviously); been jokingly charged a five dollars by another for my hand accidently brushing his butt in the crowded kitchen; geeked out with a chef about fantasy baseball and discovered the wondrous taste of the cara cara navel orange (a cross of an orange and grapefruit). and there's all the sorts of work office drama/sniping/power dynamic that you'd find anywhere else. the yuppies here drop a lot of money for the adjective "organic." kind of makes me wish i worked on commission. it bums me out that fresh food here is deemed a luxury, when it doesn't really have to be that way at all.

in having some shape to my schedule these days, i am trying to shape the time i have outside of work. trying to get the ball rolling on writing opportunities, finding a community of other writers to catch a spark from or commiserate with. i'm not used to being my own boss. small steps... the other night i bought a cheap desk off of craigslist, so that's a start.

been thinking about easter; will probably share those thoughts in a future blog post.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

one for the anecdote file

thought my pastor-type friends out there would appreciate this. probably one of the greatest stories i've heard in a sermon. plus there's a mild obscenity in it and that makes me laugh.
referring to our flawed natures and how God is now residing in his people and no longer the temple, one of mark's favorite conversations with his youngest son sam was when he was five or so. the two of them were looking at a book cover that had a picture of jesus riding on a donkey. sam was looking thoughtfully at the picture, tracing jesus with his hand and then he put his hand to his chest and said, "you know, jesus live in my heart." mark said, "that's exactly right, sam," heart appropriately warmed at his son's faith. then sam asks, still looking at the picture and his hand on his chest "but where is the donkey?" and mark responds wryly, "trust me, sam, the ass is in there. it's close, right in there with jesus."
a good reminder at the beginning of holy week. may this week be rich in blessing and celebration.