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01/01 Direct Link
I really feel like watching La Femme Nikita or The Professional right now. Something dramatic and jarring and French. Something a bit violent, a bit sexy. But, I donít have the luxury of being alone and being able to satisfy my urges that way. Maybe Iíll watch a downloaded episode of DS9 later on tonight or rewatch part of Ergo Proxy. I canít turn to food, as Iíve vowed to take better care of my body this year and that means less sugar. Iím not much of a snacker anyway, so itís okay mostly. I guess Iíll have some fruit.
01/02 Direct Link
Itís my first night trying to live according to my resolution for the new year. I made borscht with beef stock, pasta sauce, red cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, and beets. Whipping cream and onions sautťed in butter added a touch of sweet richness. It was a success and paired well with a glass of Riesling. I feel very sated and relaxed. Endorphins are going to town on my brain. Iím enjoying this. Good food is so essential to overall well-being. Tomorrow, Iíll make another pot of the stuff, but a bit lighter this time, with red wine vinegar instead of sauce.
01/03 Direct Link
After some negotiation, I finagled my dadís Acer to watch my downloaded DS9 episodes. One of lifeís little pleasures. I canít stay up too late though, as Iíve got a full day ahead of me. Several loads of laundry to do, plus some correspondence. To be honest, I donít know whether I can really cut it as a counselor. The counseling part is fine. Even the full-time residential aspect I can deal with. But using an outhouse five days a week? Be still my heart; the thought makes me wince. I can be tough enough. But do I want to?
01/04 Direct Link
Why does Ries make more money than my dad? Theyíre both programmers; they both work with computers. The difference is that my dad has a Ph.D. and years of experience. Ries is much younger, lacks the experience, lacks the knowledge. Yet Ries makes so much more money right out of school. I guess another difference is that my dad is a foreigner. A permanent resident, yes, but a foreigner. Ries is American. It really is pretty unfair, but I guess thatís just life. I have to do my best to succeed, whatever that word means to me. Iíve no choice.
01/05 Direct Link
If I get accepted for this counselor position, I think I have to go for it. It would be as much of a boot camp for me as for the kids. I would have to make some sacrifices in terms of not eating organic food, not having time for my projects, not having time for sports I like. The very thought of all those sacrifices is daunting. I would also be gaining a once in a lifetime experience. I doubt I would ever do this again, once (if) I get accepted into grad school, the next stage of my life.
01/06 Direct Link
I canít wait to make my wrap dress tomorrow. The polka dot dress on Craftster is way too cute. If I can find a similar fabric, Iíll make the exact same dress. If I canít, weíll see what I find. Maybe a fun print or a whimsical pattern. Hopefully I will have good luck and be able to find something unexpected and great. Being crafty is such fun! Iím actually a bit tired tonight. Thatís a good sign (of a full day). I hope tomorrow will be a productive day of shopping and crafting. I have a lot to do!
01/07 Direct Link
Itís been a draining day. My body isnít what it used to be, thatís for sure. I didnít actually do much other than walk around and shop. But my legs are tired and even somewhat sore. I hope that means Iíll be able to sleep really well tonight. This morning, I woke up from a weird dream sequence and jotted down some notes so that I would not forget: my ex-coworker Agassi told me she quit; we hugged and kissed; I hung out with my ex Cruise; I ďair-surfedĒ at the gym on a special machine. Not an unpleasant dream.
01/08 Direct Link
I read an interesting article concerning the positive psychology movement in the NYT today. The way positive psychology is being applied in schools to ďcounteractĒ the negativity inherent in teaching children classics such as ďLord of the FliesĒ or ďRomeo and JulietĒ is very troubling. It seems needlessly prescriptive and moralistic. It may also work to increase subjective well-being. That is, it may very well achieve its objective and increase happiness. But at what cost? Is happiness worth a diminished understanding of the complexities of human nature? Is happiness worth a diminished potential for creative output? ÖIs pain so terrible?
01/09 Direct Link
My thoughts are not really coherent today. I think Iíd rather make a tag cloud: beauty bobo boys bstanwyck cleaning cold commitment communication cooking debug delicious dreams emule eo26 exercise fear food friendship future gradschool hair health jack jeff job kiri learning lizphair love money msn music panties perfume projector psychology reading relationships responsibility sewing sex skin sleep sorrow startrek stress tagging tea technology tennis titanic troops verdant wesleyautrey writing yahoo yemen Conclusion: either this was a slow day or Iím really myopic. I need to quit being so emo; so preoccupied with my own bundle of interests and concerns.
01/10 Direct Link
I donít know what good 20,000 more troops in Iraq will do, but I do think the U.S. has an obligation to secure the situation for their inept puppet government. For the sake of the Iraqi civilians.

If I were an Iraqi in Iraq right now, I would feel so bitter toward the U.S. for coming into my country and creating this havoc. Saddam may have been a dictator of sorts, but at least he provided a degree of security. At least there wasnít a civil war. How can democrats advocate a cut and run strategy and forget the civilians?

01/11 Direct Link
Itís heartening to feel appreciated, understood. Iíve been questioning myself lately, having doubts about my abilities, capabilities, and the things I perceive to be my strengths. But the situation I find myself in currently isnít really so dire, isnít really so horrid. I have come a long way. I have amassed diverse experiences and worthwhile skills. I have developed an understanding of different people through being embedded in two completely different cultures. My background is a gift and itís not something easily acquired through artificial means. I can move about two worlds and see through native eyes. Thatís something, baby.
01/12 Direct Link
Li Yin'sYun Shui Yao did not work for me as a love story. It was obvious that the author of the original story was a man. Qiushui, the male protagonist of the story, is portrayed in a heroic fashion and is an obvious stand in for the Taiwanese author, who also crossed over to the mainland.

The female protagonist, Biyun, is such a thin, single note character: completely devoted to her man, apolitical, kind, considerate... in short, virtuous beyond reproach. In the end, Qiushui marries another, then dies, while Biyun mourns his death into old age. What an ideal woman.

01/13 Direct Link
I cannot believe people who level criticism towards Lu Chuan's magnificent Kekexili, calling it pro-Chinese propaganda! How can anyone fail to be moved by this story of vigilante justice, conservationism, and human survival in the most desolate of places? This story may be many things (Western, ethnography), but Western critics are so quick to appraise (dismiss) it from a political angle.

This tendency infuriates me because what passes for concern about "human rights in China" is really a subtle, patronizing form of Western imperialism aimed at emasculating the perceived threat of a growing power through implied Western cultural, moral superiority.

01/14 Direct Link
Watching professional athletes is always so inspiring for me. Their single-minded pursuit of attaining greatness, their complete dedication to their craft: I want that hunger, I want that drive.

I remember asking my friend Kay, what could be better than working so hard at something to achieve the singular goal of being the best? It was a rhetorical question on my part, but she replied with ambivalence, saying that sheís not sure if she would want that kind of life. It would be intense, extreme. It would be a life of sacrifices. Iíve always wanted to sacrifice myself for something.

01/15 Direct Link
I like changing appearances, online and IRL. I enjoy playing with appearances and thinking of people as brands. I'm fascinated by the process of branding and by all the components that go into building a brand. What makes a brand relevant to people's lifestyles?

Of course, Madonna is the goddess of staying relevant. There's nothing shameful in marketing oneself to make a living as a star. What is this thing called ďreal talentĒ that supposed singer-songwriters supposedly possess? Being mildly entertaining is a talent. Remaining relevantly entertaining for over two decades is a superpower: human willpower, magnified and writ large.

01/16 Direct Link
It will be helpful just to have the handouts that go along with the textbook. Iíll also get to watch the accompanying video and practice speaking aloud. Auditing the course will at the very least ensure that I spend four hours a week immersed in the language, reviewing the language. I just hope I can keep it up. I donít know how completing homework assignments will work out, or whether or not Iíll get to take the quizzes and tests with everyone else. I think it wonít be a big deal with the teacher. I just hope itíll work out.
01/17 Direct Link
I enjoyed watching Zhang Yuanís Green Tea tonight, although ultimately, Iím not sure what to make of the film. Christopher Doyleís cinematography was easily the most compelling component of the film, followed by the strong acting from leads Jiang Wen and Zhao Wei.

The script, on the other hand, doesnít stand up to close scrutiny. The story doesnít have much of a plot beyond Jiang Wen and Zhao Wei sitting around and talking. As a meditation on post-modern life in urban China, the film has its merits. Itís quite representative of Sixth Generation Chinese filmmaking. I want to see more.

01/18 Direct Link
I canít believe Iím setting up tennis dates when I donít even have a stable living situation right now. But what can I do? I only hope that partaking in something I enjoy will alleviate some of the stress in my life. Being in a relationship might not be bad. That is, having someone for now; something simple, fairly innocent, casual. And those could be my fatal last remarks.

Ha. I think I have things under control. I always think that I can handle whatever comes up. Itís all experience, after all. Everything becomes water under the bridge. Eventually, inevitably.

01/19 Direct Link
I don't think I'll go out of my way to talk to Verdant again. It's strange, because part of me still misses him in a way that's disproportionate to the amount of time we spent together, or how close we became.

He can be sweet and endearing sometimes. Especially when he's self-deprecating or showing me his vulnerable side (as opposed to his arrogant, selfish side). But he's hurt me a few times, and I don't feel open around him. I don't want to be the innocent little girl that shows him her naÔve smile and trust, only to be rebuked.

01/20 Direct Link
After watching the rather repressive melodrama Curse of the Golden Flower, I was in a strangely expressive mood. Yellow is supposed to be physiologically stimulating. Whatever the reason, I was in the mood to talk about him, and talking about him always brings a smile to my face.

I miss him, I miss him, I miss himÖ

Itís a crazily anti-intuitive feeling mixed in with a healthy dose of cynicism, wistfulness, andÖ lust. I will admit this: we had a lot of chemistry out on the dance floor. Those are my favorite memories of him, of us. Uninhibited, crazy, tireless.

01/21 Direct Link
Martina pulled through and Na Li self-destructed. Losing that first set must have been a jolt. If Na Li had kept it together, Martina would have been off that court before she knew what was happening. Instead, Na Li was the one who lost her cool, started going for winners left and right, and missing. Marty stayed mentally strong and returned all of Na Liís balls. As commentators have noted, sheís probably the most infuriating player to play: like a human backboard. I am so proud of her. She looked so fit out there and what great defense. Go Hingis!
01/22 Direct Link
Jack called today. He was feeling low because his girlfriend broke up with him. I tried to be a good friend and a good listener, but I didnít really know what to say to him. He didnít even like her that much.

She complained that he wasnít treating her well enough (e.g. making an effort). So she dumped him. Makes sense to me. Jackís relationships are always so messed up. Heís not the type of guy who will stand up straight and end things if necessary. Heís always complaining about the situation heís in, but never taking responsibility for himself.

01/23 Direct Link
Iíve been tracking my diet each day online with thedailyplate.com for a while now. When I started, I was just excited to find such an easy to use resource to help me improve my eating habits. But itís pretty amazing how Iíve actually been logging everything Iíve eaten (practically everything, anyway) every single day. Now Iím tracking my exercise through the site as well: five minutes of push-ups and five minutes of stair climbing a day. Itís rather little, I know. But, you have to start somewhere, right? And the important thing is to be consistent and to have discipline.
01/24 Direct Link
Attitude is a determinant of fate. I was in a sour mood today after getting lost on my way back from tennis. Then I watched an interview with a Chinese female entrepreneur who is known as the ďQueen of FurnitureĒ, for having started the hugely successful brand ďIllinoisĒ.

She started out life as an athlete, then married, had three kids, and became a housewife. That left her depressed and with low self-esteem. So finally in her thirties, she went abroad to study interior design, to pursue her dream. She had clearly articulated goals and established a plan for achieving them.

01/25 Direct Link
I donít know if Iíll have anything in common with this Gary person. He seems like a perfectly nice guy, which may be part of the problem.

I like my boys a little bit off, a little dark and unwholesome. I want someone who can enjoy indie rock music and is willing to go crazy on the dance floor. Even Bobo had the indie spirit within him; he was just too shy to get out there and dance. But I knew inside of him was a great wilderness. He was my kindred spirit in that sense.

You never know though.

01/26 Direct Link
When words are kept secret, they can take on a special power. A secret love note becomes so much more than the sum of its parts. When its contents are made public, held up for open scrutiny, it becomes more apparent that-- those airy promises, lovely thoughts, and romantic wishes-- are simply so many words on a page... however well-intentioned.

The feeling behind those words stirs the heart and trespasses upon the mind, coming and going like some unsettled specter. On Sunday nights, when the coming weekís concerns press upon a world-weary mind, this feeling saturates, intoxicates, overcoming lonely hearts.

01/27 Direct Link
I almost slipped and killed myself trying to get away at the end of that date. My first blind date, and the worst date of my life. And what's worse, I think the guy is a really nice guy. Just... completely not my type, not to mention, clueless.

It was such a nightmare, I even started thinking about Peach, who I was also incompatible with, but at the very least, knew how to treat girls. I really really liked that about him. I remember telling him my birthday once, casually, and he actually managed to retain that fact months later.

01/28 Direct Link
Gary is a nice guy. Seriously, he is a very honest, decent human being. And thatís a rare find. On the other hand, if I didnít look this way, would he be interested in me despite not having anything in common with me? So Iím not the only one being superficial here.

I donít know. Can girls and guys ever be truly, purely, friends? This is a stupid question, and Iím sure the answer is yes. But I donít know what it is about my relationships that make them so fucked up. At the moment, I strike a tenuous balance.

01/29 Direct Link
Deep breath. Tomorrow promises to be fun. Iíve got an interview scheduled for the afternoon, my first tennis lesson in the morning, and Arabic class in the evening. Now this wouldnít be so bad except for the transportation mess. I have to drive my dad to work, then go to tennis straight afterwards. Then right after tennis, Iíll have to rush downtown to my interview. Hopefully Iíll be able to find a decent parking space. Thatís supposed to last an hour and a half, after which, Iíll have to pick up my dad, and then rush to class. Joy.
01/30 Direct Link
Gary sent me a scathing e-mail for giving him an excuse for why I didnít want to see him again. (The old ďIím not looking for a relationshipĒ line.) Well my dear boy, did you think I owed you a better explanation after only a single date? I donít even see what there is to explain.

Maybe Iíve become inoculated to the modern realities of dating. Itís possible to have the most amazing date with someone and never hear from him again. Itís possible to have the most amazing relationship with someone, and devoid of commitmentís anchoring, drift apart silently.

01/31 Direct Link
At my best, I could probably play like a pretty good twelve-year-old boy. I have the musculature of a young boy even though I have a slight frame. The thing is, it doesnít take excessive strength to generate heavy balls... just good technique.

Observe Justine Henin-Hardenne: only 5í6Ē and 126 lbs. Yet she has a powerful serve and her ground strokes are surprisingly heavy. Martina Hingis used to beat older opponents far stronger than her with ease. I think I have enough power to win matches. I just need more practice. This is a game I could get good at.