Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I have been meaning to write about this for ages, and finally, with my temp job being extra slow today, have found the time.

Nearly a month ago, F took an Excel class in Tacoma. One of her classmates told her about a local coffee place. F, E, and I decided to make a detour on our way to Portland a few days later in order to experience it.

The coffee place, a drive-thru espresso stand called Hot Chick-A-Latte (which is such fun to say) in the metropolis that is Lakewood, was amazing. It was hot pink; there were long lines (all lone men except for us). As we pulled up to the window, we read on a blackboard that our barista was porn star Heather. (A camera phone picture of the sign is now the image that appears whenever F calls me.) We were expecting her to be in a bikini, as that is the stand’s gimmick, but she was wearing so much less. She had on lacy lime green, transparent boyshort underwear and an apron, nothing more. (Except for braces, which, at least for me, ruined her porn star image. I would recommend 'girl next door' Heather instead.) As she leaned to give us our coffees, we received an eyeful of cleavage. We worried that we would see nipple, but we also worried at the possibility of her scalding herself with so much exposed skin in such a tiny cube of a coffee stand.

It felt too early in the day for so much skin.

And, I suppose is to be expected of a place that markets the baristas looks over the quality of the beverages, my Americano was lousy.

Friday, March 14, 2008


I have a job - or will as soon as the contract is put together - at my parents' church. I will be the Youth Ministries Coordinator, which means I will be supporting the youth group in various ways. I'll also be sort of test-driving the position, so all of the various youth, volunteers, staff, committees, etc. can figure out how the position works before they hire someone more permanently for the fall.

On Sunday, I joined the youth group, who -- fresh from a con and daylight savings time -- were not particularly conscious. At the end of the time, we played Apples to Apples. And I realized that I was the sole representative of my generation in the room.

Most of the kids playing had no idea who Sean Connery is. True he hasn't been in anything of note in their lifetimes, except, I would argue Playing by Heart, but still. There are aspects of the culture that people just need to know.

They also didn't know who Bill and Ted are. Neither did the adult advisers, as far as I could tell. I can't work up the same level of outrage about this, but I do wonder what movies these kids watched when they were ten. Probably Pirates of the Caribbean.

I hope that part of my job is choosing the movies to show at sleepovers.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I haven’t been blogging much of late. I am still unsure what events in my life are interesting enough to be shared, but impersonal enough to be on the internet.

I have been accepted into two graduate programs and should hear from two others in the coming weeks. I am already starting to dread the decision-making process. I only applied to schools I would like to attend. Part of me hopes that the financial aid packages will be divergent enough to make my decision for me.

Another part of me wants to go to whichever school will turn me into Chris Hedges. My admiration of Chris Hedges is nothing new, but with the improved access to libraries and bookstore brought about by my return to the states, I have read more of his work. With this prolonged exposure, his is no longer my imaginary boyfriend; I want to be him when I grow up.

I could quote pages and pages of his writing to cite my case, but I will limit myself to two passages.

I read the following passage on a plane. When I landed, I immediately called a friend who has been struggling with feeling like a failure to read it aloud to her:

All lives, at their deepest level, are failures. We fail to be the person we want to be; this is inevitable for we are human. We will fail to achieve all we want to achieve. We fail those we love in small and large ways. We are failed by them. We suffer betrayal and feel unappreciated. We are never as good as our expectations. We never overcome all our faults. We act in ways that are foolish, inconsistent, mean or thoughtless. This is part of our ordinariness, part of the failures inherent in human life. We live, however, in an unforgiving culture, one that tells us constantly that what we have, along with what we have achieved, is inadequate.
But only if we can accept our failures and our ordinariness, only if we can have the courage to face this wounding pain, can we find sustaining joy and happiness.

Losing Moses on the Freeway, page 164

I read the following passage this afternoon in my neighborhood coffee place. It made me tear up. This was the second time in just over a week I have had Hedges-induced tears in that café. I need to stop reading his work in public. In describing his own religious beliefs, Hedges writes:

God is inscrutable, mysterious and unknowable. We do not understand what life is about, what it means, why we are hear and what will happen to us after our brief sojourn on the planet ends. We are saved, in the end, by faith—faith that life is not meaningless and random, that there is a purpose to human existence, and that in the midst of this morally neutral universe the tiny, seemingly insignificant acts of compassion and blind human kindness, especially to those labeled our enemies and strangers, sustain the divine spark, which is love. We are not fully human if we live alone. These small acts of compassion—for they can never be organized and institutionalized as can hate—have a power that lives after us…These acts recognize and affirm the humanity of others…Those who sacrifice for others, especially at great cost, who place compassion and tolerance above ideology and creeds, and who reject absolutes, especially moral absolutes, stand as constant witnesses in our lives to this love, even long after they are gone. In the gospels this is called resurrection.

American Fascists, pages 8-9.

This might be the best articulation of the faith of a religious liberal that I have ever read. I’m adopting it as my credo, at least for now.

Friday, February 15, 2008


To celebrate Valentine’s Day, F, E, A, and I went to The Stranger’s Valentine’s Bash. People brought mementos of their failed relationships, told the stories of said relationships, and Dan Savage destroyed the mementos of said relationships with a blender, machete, sledge hammer, blow torch, tar and feathers, and other things. Good times.

F, E, and I told the epic saga of BC, or HWSNBN, as I referred to him two blogs ago. It was the first time in Valentine’s Bash history that three people told the story of being wronged by one evil ex. (Well, E didn’t really speak.)

The biggest applause lines of our story were when I said that BC gave me Dianetics for my birthday and when Fauna said that we were all roommates at the time of the goings on.

The object that we brought was a Scrabble game – the only time we ever played it was the night that BC told Fauna that she ‘had a sexual aura’ and wanted to ‘see her blossom like a flower,’ and watch ‘her sexual walls come down.’

Dan Savage chopped it in half with a machete.

And we became famous. Look!

(Thanks, E, for sending me the link.)

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I am now four days younger, at least officially.

A few days ago, I had to call the IRS to get a document. As I verified that I was who I said I was, the woman on the phone told me that the Social Security Administration didn’t have my correct birth date. I then called social security and learned that they think I am four days older than I am. I don’t understand how I could have applied for passports, filed taxes, etc. without this ever coming up before.

Consequently, I spent some of my morning at the Social Security office setting them straight. I was really dreading the experience, fearing that it would be a day-long headache. It wasn’t; the woman who helped me was friendly and kind. I was out the door within a half an hour.

It was only as I write this that I realize that why I had been dreading it so much was because I had expected the bureaucracy to be like it was in Serbia. I was envisioning a day at the MUP.

As I left the office, the woman who had helped me told me that I have the next four days as a do-over. It’s a nice thought, although I am not quite sure what I will do differently between now and Sunday.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Last Saturday, I bussed out to my hometown to attend the Washington Democratic caucuses. Nerd that I am, it was super exciting to see hundreds of people taking time out of their Saturdays to state who they think should be the next president. I am often negative about my hometown, but my perceptions were changed. It was much more diverse racially than I remember (which would probably not be the case if I was at the Republican caucus), but still a strange place. I was shocked by the number of people who did not know what ‘LGBT’ stood for. Apparently the Democratic Party wanted to see how diverse the party is.

I brought Obama ’08 stickers and handed them out to fellow Barack supporters. I wanted to be a delegate to the legislative district and county conventions. There were six of us vying for five spots. My brother thinks that my generosity with the stickers and my relative youth would have guaranteed me a spot as a delegate, but I opted for alternate status. My inability to vote at the conventions will be compensated for by being able to guiltlessly leave if the proceedings bore me to tears.


This morning, I participated in The National Center for Health Statistics National Survey of Family Growth. An eccentrically dressed prone-to-over-sharing woman asked me about my sexual and reproductive history, opinions on sexual behavior, and family background. It was mildly interesting and I was paid $40 for my 45 minutes.

The interviewer kept saying that my answers represent thousands and I should be honest as possible. I don’t feel like I am a particularly representative person; I hope the sample size is large. As I answered, I kept thinking of what sort of correlations researchers might find based on my answers:

- People who have been tested for HIV because they needed a negative test to get a visa are more likely to want to have children someday.
- Unitarian-Universalists (their hyphen, not mine) are more likely to think that same-sex relationships are ‘all right’ (again, their words).
- Women whose mothers were 28 when she had her first child are more likely to have moved many times in the past 7 years.

Or something. I’ll be interested in seeing the results when they come out.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


I'm really getting tired of this crying thing. It's at least once a day and it's ridiculous. I wish there was a pill to take to toughen up the skin - or at least the tearducts.

I bawled at church this weekend. (But nearly everyone in the audience did. They should have tissues in the offering baskets when they have homilies by people who were shot by hate-filled extremists.)

I thought crying at a reality show was ridiculous, but I seemed to have trumped that. Just over a week ago, I cried at the reader board at a fruit market. They had a MLK Jr. quote about universal love. I almost stopped the car for a bit, but I pulled through. I was late to meet friends at a naked spa. (More on that later.)

I will write more soon, but first I have to get through a graduate school phone interview. I hope she won't be able to hear me cry.