Saturday, May 29, 2010

Food For Thought: Porto-Bella

One of the only reasons I want to get the iphone is because of the slop machine food app (Urban Spoon). If you ask anyone who knows me they will immediately roll their eyes when you ask them what it's like deciding where to eat with me; I'm indecisive. And by indecisive I mean it takes ages. My friends have actually install a lengthy questionnaire in order to help fix the problem.

"What genre of food"
"I dunno."
"Fast Food or Sit-Down?"
"I dunno.."
"Ok. Left or right?"
"Ok. We're on the 8 West. Left or Right?"
"Oh god."

When I hear about the iphone I heard only about the slot-machine app. One look at that commercial and I said: "YES! I WANT THAT!"

Easiest decision ever.

Yesterday, Urban Spoon did not fail. My friends and I have made a promise as a group to go and explore San Diego's diverse culinary opportunities, so instead of hitting our same ol' spots we actually let the roll of Urban Spoon decide. I was off the hook.

Ritual Tavern: interior decor think lumber jack married a victorian. Dark wood panel outlined the seating area with dark flowery curtains and creamy beige walls. A deer's head proudly hung in the center of the tavern just as you walk in and know, you're in North Park. Dining out in North Park has a special touch to it. Cooperate-run chains churning out all the same appetizers, all the same entrees, and all the same desserts are not part of the North Park experience. What I love about the neighborhood is that your taste buds are in for an adventurous treat, every time.

The Tavern has an extensive beverage menu. Lots of ales, hard ciders, reds, and whites. A dessert wine too. I opted for the light version of a hefweizen (according to our lovely waitress who was very helpful and informative and I'm sure has actually enjoyed the food she serves). A Pint of RB Hula and I was already satisfied.

The menu was small in the sense that it didn't hand you a buffet of options. (That's one of my problems with the "American" way. WAY too many options. Sometimes, especially for food, you gotta just trust the chef and the owner to tell you what's good.

However, Ritual Tavern had an option for all food lifetsyles: carnivore, vegetarian, chickentarian, and vegan.

Now vegans, I admire your cause and kinda understand what you're getting at, but growing up in a rich Guatemalan food culture, being a vegan would be turning my back to my ancestors, which in turn is disrespectful and being disrespectful in any Latino culture is not tolerated whatsoever.

But the balsamic, herb-marinated portobello mushroom with grilled onions on a rose petal ciabatta sounded AMazing. And different. And going to a new place I felt it was only right to go outside of my food box.

My dish would be served alongside the Tavern's house fries. The ketchup was homemade.

Yup, home-made.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have achieved a new level of ketchup and it was excellent. Fresh and just the right amount of mushiness, I've tried greatness and I'm sorry Mr. Heinz, it was not you. Heinz is street-walkin' cheetah compared to the purity of Ritual Tavern ketchup.

But the sandwich. It appear ominous at first. One thick, black portobello sat in a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, and grilled onions. This was the menu's vegan option, but I felt no sinful guilt against my choice to have it. This felt right, and I knew my Guatemalan ancestors would forgive me. (I had and cooked frijoles earlier that week. Con queso fresco. I had paid my respects).

My first bite was juicy. My sandwich was inking all over the place but I didn't care. With my tide-to-go pen, I really don't care anymore. The messier, the better. The portobello was perfection. For several years now, I have completely fallen in love with the mushroom. As a kid you try to give me a mushroom I look at you like you gave me a dead kitten.

But today my palette screams for mushrooms. This sandwich with the light, fluffy ciabatta made me understand why the portobello is like the grandfather of mushrooms. A mushroom so great, it can be meat. It can be its own sandwich and it's a offer you simply cannot refuse.

The house fries were quite good. Thin and crispy-they added a good crunch to my meal and well the ketchup, you know about the ketchup...

I finished and I said a silent "well done" to all the vegans out there.

Well done.

I am chickentarian. And my friend Kristiana tempted me a bit with her choice of the chicken on prairie roll with avocado but my portobello treated me, and my tummy, right.

It was a different experience to look around at my fellow neighboring diners and see similarity. Gumbo at three tables, chicken on prairie roll on four, and my portobello shared with 3 other diners and a few at the bar. The thing about the small menu is that it brings an unexpected unity in our dining experience, not just with company we choose to go with, but with the company we don't notice are around us-sharing in the same variety of dishes and others enjoying the exact same one as you.

Great food I love as much as the loyal company it keeps.

In a country where others see us as just a bunch of fatasses looking out for the next McDonald's, I like to write the good fight against such awful stereotype. America, the great melting pot, is a playground for food exploration. No culture is left behind, and though you may think your area is limited, look harder, or drive a little further. Good food is waiting for you out there.

Take a risk.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Purple Elephant

I worry a lot. Especially as of late.

I blame my mother. And my ambition. Together, I really can't just-sit.

Every day it gets a little bit worse. The anxiety ebbs and flows, but nevertheless present. My white elephant. Although, for personal taste I see it as purple. My giant purple elephant sits in the corner of my living and appears out of nowhere.

I try not looking at it. But it's purple, so I really have no choice.

Ambition is an odd thing. It's a very fine quality to have but at the same time, it kills you. It kills you when you let it sit idle, even for a few months. My ambition does not do idle. If I'm not doing something towards the overall proactivity of my life and my life's goals, I'm pissed. And agitated: no bueno.

When I was 14 I made a decision: I would do it all. I would study, I would play basketball, I would try out for the musical, I would volunteer, and I would run for school president; I would leave no stone unturned. I can proudly say that I accomplish most, except the school presidency-damn you Kyle Copeland. When I reflected on all that I had done that June, graduated with the "Best Student" award, I nodded and told myself that this feeling is what I wanted; I wanted to be impressionable. Wherever I went and whatever I did, you would remember me.

9 years later, I still want that, but it proves, with each passing year, to be more difficult to obtain, or maybe I feel more afraid. Ironic, huh? 14: fearless go-getter, 23-hair twirling worry-wart. I thought the older, the wiser. Hm.

I believe my fear to come from the place of idleness. Yes, I write to you all here, on this blog forum, but after my 30 minutes of writing and editing have passed, I am back.

I've been waiting at the fork in the road for a whole year and well, I'm just over it now. NYU stop torturing me so. L.A. please don't torture me if I go.

One side of the country or the other. I'm going mad.

I need to apply myself. I need to show someone I can do it all. Fear comes from the unknown. And waiting is the infinite unknown.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Island

Yesterday was the series finale of LOST. 6 years of biting my nails, pulling my hair, hold my fist in anxious agony in the air, crying, and gasping, and thinking about the last episode for two weeks after its aired. Granted, I must be honest and confess that I started late. Half-way through. So 3 years. I will not disrespect others who have started from the beginning.

The finale came on at the end of a very eventful weekend. Friday through Sunday were all a rush to the head. Friends walking across stage after stage. Screaming and waving proudly and lovingly, I lost myself.

Though we were not on an island, being chased by ravenous polar bears or haunted by whispers, we were in it altogether. "It" being college. The Big Times. The Don't-Fuck-Around Time (even though most do and did) but we wanted something out of the four or five years we spent at San Diego State. You come here and tell others you are there, high academia does not come to their minds. They see a visual train of parties and booze, loopy girls, and horny guys.
But trust me, it's a misconception or really a reflection of a minority.

In my group (The Herd) we felt larger than our school and the lost souls who majored in business. (I'm sorry, but most times out of not people who say their majoring in Business at SDSU are the ones who couldn't major in undeclared.)

We crashed unknowingly into college, hitting the land of Zura first. Dorm rooms, dorm halls, dorm showers, dorm food. The ravenous polar bear was actually the guy who wouldn't stop being half-naked-preying on the floor's female virgins. A half-naked man dressed in a tuxedo thong in the dorms was like a polar bear in the jungle for me: I never saw the logic.

We traveled away from Zura and headed to caves-the first apartments. They were dirty, messy, and home. We gathered and help each other cook, and sustain life. Learned out to go out for our food and collect it. And I got a job. I got a job at Blockbuster and life-our lives-would never be the same again.

Watching Lost for the first time is so like that first and final shot. Your eye shoots open and you, see. You see the beginning of a fascinating journey. I was Jack my first night in the dorm. I laid there, not being able to move, my eyes unable to close and the noise around me, muted. I had no idea where I was and how I got here.

Throughout LOST you are as the titles says: lost. They have set up a labyrinth and the end seems impossible. College is this-seemingly impossible. Instead of cutting down jungle trees and hunting boars you're cutting down courses and hunting A's (The rarest meat).

But it's your fellow survivors that keep you sane. You're not alone, and that by far could be what college is truly all about: not the educating (of course you learn) but about the surviving. And you choose in the beginning whether you want to die alone or live together.

I know this a real cheeseball analogy I'm throwing at you but please, bare with me. There is a point and or really hell, this is just how I see it. Deal.

I always choose to "live together" because I am only as good as my friends. I am only a better person because of them. That's why I highly believe that husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends must be friends. You have to both "love'" and "like" the person. There is a difference, and it makes all the difference.

Over the years people have figuratively died out of the herd. You make friends-you lose friends. The black smoke monster eats them up-they were no good.

Jacob is embodied in the professional world awaiting us at our collegiate end, telling us we're all its "special candidates-" if the resume is right.

Watching the end of LOST hit close to home. Close to this entire analogy I laid out for you. Fans talk of the sad goodbye to a show they were connected to for 6 years, and I, I said goodbye to college a year ago, but my friends, will now be moving on to say goodbye as well.

"The Herd: SDSU Years" is a series coming to the end this August.

The series finale is of a certain time we have spent here: living every day with them. Knowing and sharing the small little things: what they eat, when they shower, and how they burp.

I have the Sawyer to my Jack. The Kate to my Claire. The Hugo to my Ben, and the Locke to my island. Your own life, is unexpectedly the best written show out there-besides LOST.

So Thanks Damon Lindef, J.J. Abrams, and Jeffery Lieber.
Thanks Darrell, Gina, Kristiana, Megan, Shanna, and Alex.

Happy Graduation to you both-I love you (Lost and you guys).


Thursday, May 20, 2010


I am happy to say I know a lot of people who travel. I am happy that many of them are traveling this summer. Seizing their fresh-out-of-college opportunities and just GOING. I am happy that they can and that they are excited, bursting to fly off to a different place, a different culture, and different memories.

I am not happy that I'm still-here.

I have been practical person for most of my life, which is a bit of contradiction because emotionally, I'm wildly reckless and daring. But in the reality of my day-to-day life and finances, I am safe.

During my undergrad the thought of studying aboard never even settled in my mind. My parents, bless their souls, paid for my degree in whole. I left college debt-free, which I know matters more than any European excursion but still-what's life without its experiences, its adventures? There's a part of me that wished I would have worked harder, found financial aid or a scholarship, to put me out there with the rest: traveling and SEEing.

What irks me the most is my limited perspective. However, I must thank my books (all hundreds of them) for helping be push the boundaries of my mind when traveling could not. But the book is still limited in the imagination. There's nothing like seeing the Pyramids or the Effiel Tower in person: 4-D.

The last time I was aboard, I was incredibly blessed to be doing what I loved: theater. My high school theater department applied and was accepted to perform at the Edinburgh International Theater Festival. Wow. The trip took hard work in raising funds to have half the trip paid. We performed "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare" and we were there, in Scotland. It was amazing. I rolled down a Scottish hill. I shopped at a thrift store: real italian leather clutch for a steal. I walked on cobblestone. I ate way too many carbs. I traveled with my second family.

Almost 5 years has passed since that trip and I'm restless. I want Greece, I want Paris, I want Italy (ALL of Italy), I want more London, I want Spain, I want Ireland. I'm an oppressed glutton-ist for travel.

I know someone going to France, someone going to Israel and Australia, I know someone that lived In New Zealand for a year and half, someone who went to New Zealand for 4 months, someone who got their master's in Australia, another studying for year in Australia, two people who study in Oxford, another adventuring in Costa Rica and studying in Spain.

Trust me, I feel really cool that I'm in company with such ambitious travelers, but because of knowing, I am constantly reminded: my feet are firmly planted to the ground-San Diego, CA 92115.

In an ideal world. I would be heading to Greece right now. Writing with a clear ocean blue in front of me and white-washed rooftops behind me. I would have such a dark brown tan when I came back that tanning salons would shrivel in its presence. Take that fake rays. This tan has true character!

But I'm waiting. Waiting to get a job or an education. L.A. or New York. Yeah, New York came calling again. Long story short-I was referred to another Master's Program through NYU. Limbo my home for another handful of weeks. Oi vey.

I'm older now and know I need to uproot myself, my damn planted feet. I know, as a writer, I need to see more. Feel it and smell it. Taste it. Food is amongst one of my highest passions, but in order to evolve what I love, I must do it justice. My life needs a double serving. Heaps of Italy mixed with Florence, Venice, and Naples, a side of Spain and live Spanish guitarists, and a large cocktail of Greece (stirred-not shaken). I need to sit down one day and enjoy my meal. Happily swinging my feet back and forth, because I'm sitting-relaxing.

Feeling high above the ground and lifting off.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Spy...

School campus always look so tranquil when there's no students to mess it up. Mouth-breathers (as Alex puts it) ruin a lot of things for me: the library, the classroom, the cafeteria, the bus stop, the bus, and so on and so on.

Mouth-breathers I define as the subject of an act. A necessary but vial act. Honestly, have you been in a room when there's a lot of people breathing all at once. That inhaling and exhaling and then you suddenly realize that it smells like people. You know the smell: muggy-kinda of sour. Pungent. The smell of people, and I know that includes me, is no perfume bliss. Roses are WAY ahead of game. Our natural odors from simply breathing can make any place claustrophobic. Or at least in my case.

Right now, SDSU is bustling and jittering with Finals. Brains are being freshly fried everyday, sleep is neglected to a point of just plain non-existence. Muffins, chocolate, and caffeine are being consumed in the hundreds, maybe thousands. It's Finals and no one is in a good mood. And you want to know why? The Mouth-Breathers.

You walk into the library ready to spend 8+ hours of your life in it and determined to not let this Chem/math/english/business final get the best of you: you WILL graduate. But as you walk up to the 3rd floor (because food is allowed there) and you enter into the long, wide room filled with chairs, tables, armchairs (those are evil) and numerous of electrical plugs to keep your viral life powered up. As soon as you sit down and spread out your crew: three books, notebook, pen, computer, charger, skittles, doritos, and iced double espresso, you stop and realize. You realize the-smell. And you look up from our academic bubble and realize you are 1 out of 100. Each table is crammed with at least 4 to 6 people, and suddenly the friends you're sitting with smell too. You love them, party with them, and cry with them, but right now, they smell and you're starting to feel sick.

When sudden, disgusting clarity hits you, you start seeing even more. Down to the very pores. Friend to the right has sweating sitting all along her hairline. Her eyes are unnatural wide-eyed. You stare a bit longer to see if the sweat will start trailing down the bridge of her nose and settle on the upper lip. When you realize you are doing this: panic. Run. This is not good.

Looking at Friend Right will only get you started on all the coughs and sneezes that go off every other second all around you. It's the loud swipe of the nose from the person's shirt sleeve or bare hand that gets to you. The sound of the sniffles being stuff back, inhaled only to be exhaled later. Dirty Mouth-Breather.

This, is what I mean about Mouth-Breathers ruining places for me. I could write a whole collection on all the places that have been contaminated at one point or another. And maybe I will, now that I think of it. Mouth-Breathers: A Tale of Walking Conundrums.

As of late, working full hours at Peabody's throughout this week I've seen them. Spotted them coming out of the darkness of the library. Making their way to me and the drugs. They never make eye contact and if they do it's not to me, but to the double chocolate chip muffin. I try not stare and pass judgement. At least here, the outside air helps circulate out their stuffy library smell.

Personally I found my best study places to be at cafes or coffee shops. The smell of espresso and milk steaming is soothing to me (I work with coffee entirely too much and therefore am a big barista geek). But despite the cafe's soothing qualities it really helps out with my mouth-breathing situation because coffee smells, a lot. And when it's made hourly, maybe even more, the aromas truly take over and everyone is at peace. Everyone being me.

So to all my readers out there, whether you are in crunch-time or not, remember the essentials during stressful days or week: shower (no French), brush your teeth, and pack some mints. Mints go a LONG way. Also, ease up. Take a deep breath every so often (yes, deep breaths are allowed because they even you out). Mouth-breathers are created amongst chaos.

Good work will come during the calm of the storm. Sorta.

Ok, I'm lying.

I just don't like the smell of "people;" let's keep it together.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Going Down the Rabbit Hole

People and trash are pair to reckon with.

There's plenty of us (the people) and plenty of them (the trash). Together we take up a whole lotta space. We fight with it every day, pushing it to remind ourselves as much as it, that we are in control. The almighty powerful leader of the trash. And trash, trash is but our weaklings. It's pathetic and in the way; it reflects what we really don't care to see about ourselves. Trash is cruelly revealing. Why do you think all the great book detectives (and stalkers) start at the trash dumpsters? Our trash is our worse enemy because it can't lie.

Houses, apartments, or studios can be cleaned and painted over to give the of appearance of order. No one really ever likes to admit that they live in chaos and if they do admit to it, they're bragging and annoying the rest of us. However, back to my point, the trash swept aside and thrown into a hole-more or less- is the key. The key to habits and lifestyle. Are there generic brand wrappers? Or designer? Or Wal-Mart (the shame is too much). Is there moldy food, bananas, or tomatoes? Do you never cook even though your kitchen is lined with Rachel Rays and Jaime Olivers? Do you recycle? (Are you lazy?)

All these questions are answered by the evidence: the trash.

Sometimes, I think it's very curious when we create trash places. We decide and designate what is the trash and what is not. This I see at work DAILY. FYI: any space left empty is a space for trash. No napkins in the napkin holder? TRASH CAN. No sleeves in the sleeve holder? TRASH CAN. No bag in the trash can while I'm out putting away the old bag? TRASH CAN. (technically there's still a can and apparently, therefore, still game. ) The last one really gets to me. Do we really believe we have the magic wand when it comes to the throw of the trash in the can? It disappears and out of our hands and out of our minds and POOF! Magic.

That's our main problem: we believe we're magicians. Trash is like our rabbit coming out of our top hat, but in this case, we stuff the rabbit back in and leave it to the magic to make the hat empty and ready to wear again. Where the rabbit is will be the least of our worries. We got a top hat to wear!

When I see pictures and displays of our landfills or dumpsters, or beaches, or oceans, or parks, or streets, and even porches littered with our waste, I consider the rabbit and the top hat and grow increasingly concerned of the fact that the magic is not magic but merely a trick. Our trick is piled-far away- and gives Pixar psychic powers (i.e. Wall-E). Out of all the fads I have seen in my time, this "eco-friendly" kick is by far the best one we got. It's actually necessary and practical. Sorry fanny packs and scrunchie socks or ray-bans and vinyl records, but eco-friendly actual has a purpose outside of our own vanity.

True, recycling is only a solution to part of the problem. There's no escaping our every day waste and our every day mess. We eat, drink, blow our noses, and forget the shredded mexican cheese in the bottom draw of the fridge. We throw, and throw, and throw-shed off our skins. We emerge anew, hoping to God no one saw us taking out our trash, because the real magic is that we can. Still.

Enjoy it.

The rabbit's not going to cooperate forever. TA-DA.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Food For Thought: Burger Chivalry

It's burger time.

Burgers have been around for some time. I learned on the Travel Channel that the first burger was made at Louis Lunch in New Haven, CT. A man was on the go and there was no time to sit and eat his meat, his meat had to become mobile. Owner improvised (all great food is improvisational) with two pieces of bread and ground up beef. The beef was cooked in gas-fired broiler, bread was toasted and wah-la!: the birth of burger.

Now since then the burger has quite evolved from just your simple sliced bread. Decorations have been added and the burger continuously gets a new makeover every year, if not every month. The cheeses are different, the veggies can vary, the condiments are here, there, and mixed, even the buns have evolved. Buns can be white, whole wheat, multi-grain, or non-existent (aka the burger salad as I call it).

I dig burgers. I'm not much of a red meat eater. I'm a chicken. I eat chicken almost every other day and I wouldn't want it any other way. Chicken me up any-time. Maybe next friday. With red meat, I can definitely live without it if I so pleased, but the burger, the burger is my one true weakness with it comes to the cows. I can never resist one, especially a really good one.

The burger is a one-on-one relationship. When you're eating it: it's just you and the burger. You'll occasionally take a break and give your fries or onion rings some attention, but in the end, it's the burger you take home at the end of the night. You want to call the burger the next day and meet up again, but you know you can't sound too desperate-come off needy. The burger's popular and hot. You're just another admirer, another suitor, to add to the list. You wait three days and you're dying to see burger. Dressed up all sexy in grilled onions and a touch of thousand-island dressing that makes you weak in the knees. (You keep a bottle at home to remind you-quick fix).

You casually date and throughout you keep hidden the engagement ring you've kept since date no. 2. It's too soon you tell yourself. Burger has milkshake up all on its grille (pun so intended). But you calm yourself and just enjoy the ride. There's the juicy moments you live for when it all just melts into the heart of your tummy. Butterflies and all.

This is burger: the teasing sonvabitch of red meat. Forget steak-it's expensive. It's not hard to stay away from expensive when most of us are on a budget. But the burger is a bargain, and at The Burger Lounge it's trouble.

For 7.95 plus tax you get the supermodel of burgers. Grass-fed, this slice of cow is mooing in all the right places. Most cows are fed grain, which is an unnatural diet for them. Cows fed with grains are basically obese cows, but all that extra fat does not equal good in this equation. Being grass-fed, the meat is quality-not quantity. It's juicer, tender, and damn delicious. I had mine only a few hours ago for dinner. A healthy bonus is all the higher levels of omega-3's, Vitamin E, and favorable unsaturated fats. On each table-top, The Burger Lounge educates you on it's specialty beef with a pamphlet. It's good, curious reading material while you wait for your order.

Enjoy a beer too. Three taps: three great choices. Or the milkshakes-dear lord. I tried something different tonight though, and I went for the black iced tea, which was surprisingly refreshing. Without all the sugars of soda or the milk thickness in a shake, the iced tea allowed my thirst to be quenched while still leaving room to enjoy my burger without hurting myself, and my stomach.

I've been in a relationship with In-N-Out for sometime and we've had some great times together. We've been good to each other. But I'm not gonna lie, The Burger Lounge is new and exciting. It's the beginning of something different...the nerves, the need to impress, and look you're best. I mean it's grass-fed for God's sake at one single farm. It doesn't get around and you like that. Wholesome. Innocent on it's open pastures and sunny skies in Kansas.

I say, open the door and pull out the chair for this one. It's special.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bubbling Up

We live in a cell phone world. We have come far and even beyond being just a material girl in a material world.

Today I heard a conversation. A conversation I was definitely not suppose to hear. She was crying only a few feet away from me. There's was an argument occurring about how he doesn't get it and she's only trying. There's more tears. She's depressed. He doesn't care. She's tired. He's annoyed (she says). And there are more tears. I'm mortified that I'm even in the same vicinity as this conversation and I leave. I leave, supporting the tiny idea of privacy.

Funny thing: I left. She stayed. I'm going to argue with that.

How is it that we have become oblivious to our surroundings? Most times it's laughable but in my recent occasion it is not. Semesters ago, I had a creative writing professor ask us to eavesdrop. The assignment was to write down what we heard-snippets. And in class we would share our top ten. I don't know if was just SDSU-probably not-but this was too easy. If you sit at a public bench and just sit there, you don't even have to pretend to not be writing-people won't see you. It's disturbing and utterly fascinating!

We see what we want to see. It's an old cliche. But cliches are based on brutal honesty. I heard girls taking about cheating, sex, clothes, sluts, friends, friday night, and weight. Personal conversations were being held, again, only a few feet away from me. We are walking bubbles.

We prioritize our bubble and only allow what we want to be inside of it. It's our bubble-duh. But is there any hope out there for a pop? Are we afraid to think of the "outsiders?" I don't think so. We are faithful in the power of the bubble. And the bubble, is naturally, sound-proof. How convenient!

Perhaps the bubble is an explanation for our generation's lack thereof. Or perhaps, and I hope, perhaps the bubble is just necessary to make awareness-apparent. Maybe we won't appreciate our space until it's invaded. But I'm not talking about invasion that's all bad and hostile. I'm talking about invasion that can be good-invigorating. We are a global community with an immensely diverse collection of cultures and foods and mannerisms.

We kiss on one cheek or both cheeks. We bow. Eat with our hands. Eat with tables and chairs. We drape ourselves in colors, furs, or eco-friendly threads. We write. We blog. We recite and we equate. We fight. We bomb. We rape. We murder. We oppress. We are the best-no WE are the best. We tug and we break. We all make mistakes. Pop. Pop. Pop.

There was a part of me that wanted to hold the girl on the phone crying to her insensitive boyfriend and just hug her. Hug and ssh her that he's not everything. She has herself and she should appreciate the beauty of self. I wanted to smooth out her hair out of her wet face and dry her up. Tell her to finish her finals and finish this surrender to sadness.

I am a deeply compassionate person. My bubble is constantly pop with people I don't even know because I allow it. It's thin-the bubble. It's people-I'm a sucker for them! Dios Mio.

This is a personal blog and I'm not sure why. This will happen from time-to-time. I'll get very introspective on you all. I apologize-to an extent. Ice Cream For Breakfast is a no bullshitting game.

There's gonna be some bubble pops.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Black Widow Feminist

I'm a book nerd. Through AND through. Alex is a comic book nerd. With a our mutual geekery in one form of literature or another we bond. But many times, Alex goes off about issue 34052 of X-Men and I start picking at my nails. Vice versa when I start going off about my recent trip to the Festival of Books and the great old man who was the greatest bookseller and my free penguin books tote bag with the purchase of 2 paperbacks, Alex starts picking at his toenails.

We love each other, don't get me wrong, but the "geeking out" moments we have are sometimes not translated to one another. But we respect each other's interest and because we love each other we pretend to listen for at least half the time the geek moment lasts.

Last night though, there was revelation: I geeked out and geeked it just like Alex. I had my "O" face (not that one) and all I could say was "Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod!" I've seen Alex's face many times go in the similar fashion of pure excitement and sheer fanboy joy for Batman, or Wolverine, or The Shadow, or Hulk, or The Last Airbender.... and many more. Last night, in the dark crowd illuminated by the action spectacle of Iron Man 2, Black Widow and I had a moment.

I couldn't stop thinking how cool she was. I couldn't get over the fierceness, the ruthlessness, the EPIC-NESS MAN! I became a fangirl.

I'm a feminist. And I shave. And I wear make-up and stiletto heels (not all the time. Lord, not all the time) I'm a feminist and perhaps better yet-I support kicking ass. Tearing down the concept that girls are nothing but dainty "things," I want to roundhouse kick dainty. I want to punch weak right in the jugular and throw my meanest right-hook at passivity. The 3rd wave of feminism needs be an army of Black Widows. That, I am convinced in my fangirl fantasy, will make our past fighting sisters proud.

I know I sound ridiculous comparing a female comic character named after a spider to the new revolution for 21st century feminism but hear me out, I am supporting pure fearlessness and yes, a few defensive moves wouldn't hurt. Maybe a taser that slaps on the ground and shoots at your target from feet to head. Perhaps us ladies could take a second look at those yoga classes posted at our local gym and reconsider the benefits of flexibility. Self-Defense workshops should never be turned down and that punching bag where you spin should be your new friend for the summer.

Perhaps we can all find that Black Widow badass voo doo inside ourselves. Look in front of our mirrors and decide to KICK ASS.

As women we naturally would never abuse our newfound powers. We would be sly and secretive about it because common misconceptions must be shown not told. This sounds like I'm commending violence, and I am. I am commending the power to manipulate violence with intelligence and together be one helluva bitch.

I guess all I'm trying to say is that this my way of geeking and dreaming that I will one day lead an army of Black Widows to the world and finally get this 3rd wave of feminism some serious headway.

And Palin, you're not invited.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sweaty Rebellion

First of all, I would like to send my apologies to you all out there for neglecting Friday's "Food For Thought. The past two Fridays have been unconventional because I've had things to do and places to go after work. This Friday, there will be one. Promise.

Today though, let's chat about cleaning. Cleaning is now on the same level as spinning. Granted, the reason why my cleaning was in spinning class fashion was because I let my messiness get out of hand.

There's no mystery food hiding under my bed. No science experiment with bologna and cheese. I have socks I never knew I had and socks I know Alex have forgotten existed (living with a man is a whole new animal for me). Alex is not extreme with his messiness in any way, but like myself, we are easy about the standard of cleanliness. I declared that when the time came and we owned a house, I would hire a maid.

For that, I am not my mother's daughter. My mother is a dictator when it comes to the her country (her house) and her citizens (me, dad, and sisters). I grew up waking up every Saturday to dusting. Every other Saturday to dusting AND changing my bed sheets. A random Saturday my mom and I would turn over my mattress.

There was a cabinet for the fresh, clean bed sheets. A cabinet for the dusters (my father's old shirts) and there was a space, corner, edge that needed to be tended to in my room. As a loyal citizen I executed my duties with sufficiency and precision. However sufficiency was seen not as time saved but as time not used. This was not good.

"I'm done Mommy." (Yes I call my mother mommy. I call her mom and she believes I don't love her enough)

"Hm, ALready?...."
"Yeah, look..."
I start dusting again. She smiles, nods, and goes back to her duties. Whew.

Now by the dictator, I don't want you thinking that my mother beats me every time I miss a "spot" or don't smooth out a crinkle in my newly laid bed sheet, I say dictator because my mother possesses a power to the clean house like no other. Dictators for all there bad reputation and obvious abuse of power, are still in power and somehow-somewhere-got enough people under their persuasion to say yes: you are always right. My mother is always right. And my dad and sisters get that too.

The house will be clean. Your room will be clean.

I would later move to college and I would rebel.

There is a part of me that saw my childhood as a cleaning oppression and all I wanted was my liberation in the form of scattered clothes and un-dusted counters and desks. I proudly waved my idiocracy.

I'm 23 now, and have been out of my mother's cleaning regime for 5 years. And I get it. Yes, my mother's talent takes cleaning to a higher level, but the basic necessity I get, because my mother doesn't sweat profusely when she cleans. She's tired from working all the time, and her body aches, but she does not sweat. I've watched. When I visit nowadays, my mother is still cleaning while catching up. No sweat. I try not to stare. Trying not to squint to see but a glimmer of hope. Nothing. My mother is dry.

I'm still a bit of a sweaty, wet, mess. But I clean up well-I swear.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This is Megan

I've decided to make a tradition of my "public internet birthday card." So Megan Gamble, here is yours my dear...

Megan is the epitome of "do not judge a book by its cover."

Throughout centuries of societal expectations, "ladies" are meant to be as such: ladies. No bullying, no pushing, no wit, no banter, no yelling, no, no, no. For women it seems we have spent the better half of our gender history being told no. Megan, Megan screams yes. (metaphorically)

Megan can scream when she wants, trust me, but that's not what I mean. What I mean is that she embodies what I think the women of the 21st century should have: guts. And gumption.

Gumption is an old word in a sense. You think "gumption" and you think screwball comedies of 50's and 60's or the great heroines of the 40's. Basically the word is part of a past, a past of women who on the silverscreen took up the whole space they came into. Megan brings a room to its knees.

I met her because she was a friend of a friend and moved into my friends' new house. She, at first, was a stranger among friends. "Don't judge a book by its cover" statement comes into play when I first met Megan. She was cordial and serious. Her face read to me that she would break me in half if I said anything disagreeable. I smiled and kept quiet. (I'm very polite to strangers, and obscenely rude to friends).

But like all great things in life, especially in friendships, you can't recall when the "magic" happened. When I finally looked pass Megan's seriousness and saw the glint of sassy vibrance in her eyes.

Megan is listed in my phone as "Sassy Megan" and my nicknames do not come without absolute merit.

I'm picky with women, especially ones I care to hang out with. And mean actually hanging out. By this, I mean nothing fancy, hanging out to me is sitting around, talking, laughing, and enjoying the company you have. In this situation you care to hear what the other person is saying and not the person who you're waiting to stop hogging the keg pump.

When I sit and "hang" with Megan I'm happy. She's my kind of woman: insightful, articulate, sassy, and fierce. You will never meet someone as fierce and beautiful as Megan. I believe gumption manifests itself into true beauty. For a woman to have "it" within only emulates naturally to the outside. This is Megan.

In friendships you admire many qualities about such friend and appreciate the unique person they are. Few times, you find yourself a role model. This is Megan-to me.

To influence the courage to be exactly who they are, this is Megan-to others.

Making no exceptions for what she represents and for how much she knows and will learn, this is Megan-to the world.

For being kind and affectionate and loyal, this Megan-the REAL Megan. These traits line the pages inside the cover, and the few words to introduce her true character. Her narrative voice is welcoming and smart. Loud when it needs to be and soft when she wants it to be. Profanity is often used and never excused (my favorite, favorite thing about her), and her odd sweetness beneath it is revealed to the best of friends.

This is Megan- Sassy, in my book.

Happy Fuckin' Birthday.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Get Naked

I volunteer at Poetry International, the literary journal edited and run by the MFA program for creative writing at San Diego State. I have been with P.I for 9 months and one of my main responsibilities is reading submissions.

Reading poetry can be difficult. Critiquing and judging poetry can be difficult. Feeling like you have no right to judge when you yourself have just sent out your own work for others to critique like you are that very moment, is difficult.

For a majority of the time as a volunteer, (especially when rejection letter writing came around) I felt bad. Awful. Now, that's not what you feel when you volunteer. Volunteering is the act of giving up your time and working (with no pay). You choose to be "free" but with the quality of "priceless." That's my goal when I signed up: I wanted to be great. But then I realized my guilt.

Fortunately I'm a perfectionist and often I ignored my guilt because hey, I didn't go to these poet's doors and say "Dear ______, Although we enjoyed your poems.... we wish you the best in placing them elsewhere..." in person. It wasn't personal, but during the winter especially, I was right there with my fellow poets. I had put my work out there, and waited to see if it would pay off. Mine, unfortunately, did not. I got the rejection letters (and I wondered each time what template they used. Was it template # 5: kinda nice or template # 9: straight-forward)

Some letters were template # 6: "we had such a hard selection to make this year...blah blah's the record for our school's history to have such an equally talented group...blah.

In my case, of course. Of course everyone that is the next J. D Salinger decides to sign up for an MFA the same time I do. It was like the sign-up sheet you see posted on the bulletin board for Student Council President. You scroll through the cheerleader, the charmer, the douche, and the rich kid, and you-bottom line, lowercase.

Only this time, I can't even see the names to know what I'm up against. Unfair. Cruel really. And for my poets striving to be accepted and published by P.I., it can be cruel too.

Hence my guilt came from my camaraderie to them as fearless artists. Being a writer and actively working towards publication, whether in poetry or fiction, is like being in your underwear in front of the classroom- all the time.

You're standing there, stripped to the bare essentials, and people just kinda stare at you. Their looking and you have no clue what they're concluding: Am I fat? Am I ugly? Am I pimply?

I worry about my words in very similar fashion: are they fat? (antidisestablishmentarianism) are they ugly? (it)* are they pimply? (cumulative)

*The ugliness of "it" was brought to light in my junior year honors English class. My teacher, the great Mrs. Wilcox despised the usage. I imagined her scrunching up her nose whenever she read one my essays and I began a sentence with "it." I might as well have pooped on the paper and handed it over the way she saw it: rude and unimaginative.

I read many poems (sex, love, dark, light, love, sex, trees, cows) and I have written many rejections (Dear John, David, Brain, Mary, Gaylord-no joke, Harry, Fred, Helen...) I have written collection of poems, three short stories, two creative non-fiction stories, and handful of articles. I have read 8 rejections, countless critiques, and red-inked opinions. But you carry on.

My legs may cramp up while I stand, still, in my underwear, the world sitting at its desks. I may, at times, seriously consider running away and crying in a dark corner or not even making it to the corner and crying right in front of everyone, but I stand.

To every poet I voluntarily spent time with: thank you. Thank you for reminding me that it's time to get naked.

You gotta let them see ALL the words.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Working Girl

Meryl Streep: can she do no wrong?

The answer: no. (I highly doubt any of you were thinking yes.)

And yes, I will make that ambitious and brave assumption because I'm convinced Meryl can, and will, win your heart.

Great actresses are hard to come by and I get a bit anxious over the future of my generation as I try to find any potential successor. Like any good researcher of my time, I googled Meryl. First hit was IMDB (The Internet Movie Database), as it is whenever you google any actor, director, writers, etc. Her page was as impressive, truly grasping the epic-ness of her talent. The list of movies, alone, was enough to at least respect the efforts she has put into her career. You may not like her, but you sure as hell gotta tip your hat off to her.

However, I found myself in the best section: Trivia. My Top 5 are as follow:

1. Devoted, loyal fans call themselves "The Streepers." (You actually say this word out loud and you realize it rhymes all to well with "Creepers.")

2. Was given an honorary doctorate degree in the Arts from Middlebury College "during her nephew's graduation in 2004." (The meaning of "during" is very important to me. Does it mean that she knew about the honor beforehand and use of "during" was merely the writer's way of setting the time of the event? OR did Meryl steal her nephew's thunder. And it was a surprise. Like "surprise! we found out you were stopping by and we thought: OHwhatthehell??!")

3. May 27, 2004 is "Meryl Streep Day": mark your calendars.

4. She left her Oscar from her win for "Kramer Vs. Kramer" in 1979 on the back of a toilet. (Meryl knows how to party.)

5. She's afraid of helicopters. (She's human. Thank God.)

You'll see now, and sporadic future blogs, that I like to know the little things about actors. (I love the section of US weekly that reminds me that the stars are "JUST LIKE US!") Knowing these trivial and sometimes, not so trivial facts, about my actors are comforting to me because they remind me that they're good people too.

I whole-heartedly believe that the best actors are the good people. Expect for Sean Penn (Damn him.) Every time I want to write him off he does "Milk" and I curse my theory.

But, ideally, and because I say so in my world, good people=good actors because they understand one basic necessary emotion: appreciation. When you appreciate, you work, and when you work you don't end up like Lindsay Lohan. Lindsay Lohan should hang out with Sean Penn just so I can nail the bastard. Once.

But I digress.

What I'm trying to say is: don't get lazy. If someone pays you well for what you are working to do. Then work. Meryl Streep does. Just google it.