Monday, June 29, 2009

holy atomic pile batman!


Reminds me of this:

An old photo in which I am making my debut (alongside my older brothers and their good and great friend Kenny) as the newest superhero to hit the streets of Seoul. Her name was Helmet Woman and she was the fiercest opponent of evil South Korea had ever seen.

Friday, June 19, 2009

What I Saw at the Bus Stop

The other day I was sitting at a bus stop reading a book. The sun was high and hot. It was a fine day to eat a popsicle.
As I sat there, a young man approached and sat to my right. I glanced up and mumbled “hello” when he first arrived and returned my attention to my book.
After a few minutes I noticed in my peripheral vision that he was holding something in his hand. The first thought that my mind generated, based on my very limited visual clues and what I assume were random firings of the neurons in my brain was: “oh, he is holding a grape-flavored popsicle!” Which made me wonder where he had been stashing the popsicle when he first walked up and I’d glanced up to greet him. In his pocket? In his fancy work satchel? How did he keep it cold?
I was ready to congratulate him on his incredible ingenuity. How did he devise a way to store this frozen and deliciously icy-sweet treat so that he could whip it out at the exact most ideal moment for its consumption (i.e. long wait, hot bus stop, mid-day)? I had often pondered methods for doing this exact thing, but found no simple solutions.

Soon the curiosity was too great... I turned my head for a closer look only to realize that he was not holding a grape-flavored popsicle at all!! He was holding a cellular telephone, on which he was actively composing and sending text messages.

I was gravely disappointed.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the world were always as it appeared from a peripheral gaze? If not wonderful, it would at least be more exciting!

I’d much rather sit next to people at bus stops holding grape-flavored popsicles than cellular telephones.

Monday, June 15, 2009


things I do not like:

-giant prehistoric-looking dandelions and their disturbingly large seed-heads
-seeing people far off in the distance and not being able to tell if they are walking towards me or away from me
-feeling lonely/heavy boots

things I like:
-small, regular-sized dandelions
-kittens. namely, my kitten St. Crispin
-mushrooms growing wild in people’s yards
-compost, recycling and garbage containers—all in my kitchen
-fresh garden produce and all of its wonderful imperfections
-old slide projectors
-turning on the fan after using an olde slide projector to ensure it doesn’t overheat/explode
-silent e's
-movies about imaginary friends and delusions: Lars and the Real Girl, Drop Dead Fred, Harvey
-the word tabernacle
-the place tabernacle
-referring to the body as a tabernacle
-my grandfather’s poetry
-fleur de sel caramel ice cream
-handmade crafts from Kazakhstan

today, the things I like are winning out.

what do you like/dislike? and which side is winning out lately?

Thursday, June 11, 2009


My all-time favorite quote about relish: "RELISH! What a special name for the minced pickle sweetly crushed in its white capped jar. The man who had named it, what a man he must have been. Roaring, stamping around, he must have tromped the joys of the world and jammed them in this jar and writ in a big hand, shouting, RELISH! For its very sound meant rolling in sweet fields with roistering chestnut mares, mouths bearded with grass, plunging your head fathoms deep in trough water so the sea poured cavernously through your head. RELISH!"

-Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

Also, please note the long essay on love that I posted below.
This post might be better than that one though. Especially the picture of the relish.

An Essay on Love in 5 Parts

Dulce Convivencia.

His face peeked out at me, startlingly familiar and just a little painful.
Smooth brown skin, round cheeks, and dark eyes—the way they curved just slightly.
The similarity was striking.
I hadn’t realized how I loved him until he was staring out at me from a TV screen, breathing and blinking and gesturing with his hands. I felt like I had lost him.
Losing comes only with loving, I realized.


It’s funny, really, how everyone looks like someone else.

In Chile I learned to make ghosts of my classmates. Everyone there was someone from home. I spent several weeks unconsciously re-assigning identities, establishing a security blanket of familiar faces to surround me.

Then I came back home to Hawaii and I had the same problem. Everyone I saw was suddenly from Chile. I couldn’t avoid them. I went to the grocery store and saw Tío Olvaldo wandering the liquor aisle, or my friend Francisca leafing through magazines by the register—strange and aching remembrances.

I still do this. I am constantly turning my head to see people who aren’t really there. Shocked with an electric second of familiarity—the trace of I face I know well hidden within the face of a stranger.

I find the most surprising people in the most surprising places.


This time it’s in a short documentary about panela production in a Mixtecan village in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
Panela is a type of raw brown sugar.
In this particular village much of their community life centers around the cultivation, harvest and processing of the sugarcane crop into panela.

It is a nice, quiet little film. Sparse dialogue scattered between long shots of farm workers sitting in the tall grass of a wind-whipped hillside, wiping sweat from their brows, and the calm constant creek of the wooden sugarcane press as it churns out a sweet, pulpy juice. Simple messages about good food and where it comes from. It’s refreshing to hear the same wisdom here, from this community, that every hip young social activist and his younger brother seem to be writing books and making documentaries about these days; know where your food comes from, know what’s in it and how it is prepared.

But this still isn’t the main impression I take away when the film is finished. There is something else which presses more heavily on my mind...

Near the end, the filmmaker—a young man returning to his home village after several years away—makes a short cameo to thank the audience for watching.
And when his face blinks onto the screen, my heart gives a quick painful start and my insides ache just a little.

He looks exactly like Daniel Soto. From my 12th grade class in Chile.

So much so that it shakes me up. I’m not prepared for it—surprised that after 2 ½ years, his image still causes such a raw and visceral reaction. It leaves me breathless and wondering: what power does this boy have over me?

Well, I’m not sure, but I think it’s love.

I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately. About what it is and whether or not I have experienced it.

I had a friend once who told me she fell in love every day, sometimes even multiple times a day.
I didn’t know what she meant by that. I thought it was a little bit ridiculous. I also thought she must be very loose in her definition of love.

Lately, though, I am starting to understand her meaning. My perspective is shifting and I am starting wonder if maybe that's not impossible. Maybe a person can fall in love every day, or multiple times a day. And maybe I could benefit from being a little looser with my own definition of love—allow myself to love more people, more freely. And to call it that.

I did love Daniel. I didn’t realize it. But then I found his face in a movie and my insides ached, and I can’t think of any other explanation.

I loved him with his colorful beanie and his old guitar. The way I would look for him every day at school and listen to him sing songs of revolution: Inti-Illimani and Victor Jara. I loved our long and clumsy conversations about politics, spanish-english dictionary in hand, flipping to entries like “neo-marxism.” He made me read the Communist Manifesto. I made him read Animal Farm. I liked his glasses and the way he smiled. I liked his muddled anger, joy and frustration the day we all found out that Augusto Pinochet died, and the time he took to sit down in the desk next to mine and explain to me all that this meant. I loved how he took me home on the micro my last night in Arica and gave me a pin with a Chilean flag on it, looked me in the eyes and gave a passionate discourse about “his people” and mine and the windows we had opened with our friendship, all while gripping my shoulders.

This is love.
And maybe it isn’t always as complicated or as involved as I once thought. Maybe, sometimes, love can be simple.
I am still very young, and I realize that. So maybe, for now, simple is fine.
If I think of it that way, then I have loved more times than I can count.

I loved the fire-juggling man from my Oregon summer camp. With his wild beard and kind eyes. I think he had a wife, or maybe she was a lover—a folksy dreadlocked woman who wore a long quilt-patterned skirt. He would smile at her when he performed and in between acts he would go and stand with her.
There was a child too, a little boy that he hoisted on his shoulders and swayed with to the music of the African drum group that was also performing that night. When I watched him there with his family, I loved him. I loved that he existed, I was fascinated by him. I watched him all night.
(I also might have imagined an alternate universe where I was the dreadlocked woman, traveling across the country with him and the other fire jugglers in a beat-up Volkswagen bus. Kicking up dust, racing buffalo herds, letting my growing brood of children run barefoot and free in the plains...)

I loved Martín with his tongue ring and his cigarettes. He lived in the apartment above mine in Chile and asked my host father for permission to take me out on a date. This was my first date. He walked me to the boardwalk on the beach by my house, bought me a diet coke and asked me not to tell his mother that he smoked.

I loved AJ, the Rwandan refugee I met on the bus in Orem. I loved how he dropped everything to come with me and find the nearest Starbucks and told me stories about leaving home at 16 to search for his deadbeat father, his inheritance in Rwanda and his experience with a band of gypsies in Europe.

I loved Joe from the airplane, and those 9 hours we shared easy conversation--talking and laughing. The music he shared with me, the love stories and the loneliness. The panic and urgency with which he spoke when he realized the plane was landing, and although our worlds had been intertwined for a brief moment as we flew suspended between continents, soon we would stand up, walk to baggage claim and part ways to lead two very separate lives.

I have loved perfect strangers: Jorge from the Laundromat. Hyun at the grocery store. Olga from my music class. Cello Joe from the Shake Your Peace concert. The Romanian woman and her little sandy-haired son with his dinosaur toy who I see on the bus occasionally.

I think of them all and I smile.

Dulce Convivencia.

The English title for this film is “Sweet Gathering”—but I prefer a more literal, if less graceful translation “sweet coexistence.”
To me, that is love: the simple sweetness that comes from knowing only that someone is alive. That somewhere in this crazy universe they, too, exist: breathing and blinking. And for that to be enough.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tune Up


Hello loves. These days I am muddle-minded and scarcely quenched.
My days are long and spent in offices.
Sometimes I forget to drink.

and then I get monster headaches that I can't shake all night long.

But it’s not all bad.
I do research on potential show topics and find wonderful things like the edible schoolyard and the wastach community gardens.
Now I am contemplating attending workshops on solar cooking and urban chicken keeping.

I am working on getting someone from the gardens to come on our show. I think it would be great to do an episode on the benefits of gardening with children and starting gardening programs in schools, or tips on how to start your own community garden.

At my other job I have ample time for movie-watching and intensive music-listening and blog-perusing—all while my hands are busy scanning articles in books for library patrons.

Here are a few things I am excited about that I have been watching/listening to/reading:

Glass: A portrait of Philip in 12 Parts. I started watching this today. I only made it to Part 8 by the end of my shift, but I enjoyed the first 2/3 very much and plan on finishing it later tonight.

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Knock knock.
Who’s there?

Philip Glass.

Joseph Childress--I heard a song by him called Chariots on an online radio station and I fell in love with it. Sadly, it is nowhere to be found online, not even on his myspace. He also doesn’t even have a record out yet. But he is worth giving a tentative listen to anyway. I expect great things from him in the future.

My discovery of Childress led me to my discovery of this blog on the Naturalismo/Freak Folk genre. Genre names and petty categorizations have always confused me. But if this genre includes Joseph Childress, Animal Collective, Joanna Newsom AND Devendra Banhart, it just might be a new favorite.

Movie trailers that I am excited about (mostly old news but...)
The Princess and the Frog
Away We Go
500 Days of Summer
and, of course:
Where the Wild Things Are

Lastly, I am very excited about this year's Twilight Concert Series. Particularly Bon Iver/Jenny Lewis, M Ward/Land of Talk and Iron and Wine/Okkervil River. Those are some pretty great lineups, and you can’t beat free!

Sorry about the media-saturated post. I'll try to post something more substantial soon.