Tuesday, August 30, 2005
"I hate Grace Park, man. She's a cylon whore."
"A cylon whore?"
Now really. Them be fighting words.
I was rendered speechless when I heard this earlier today. This is clearly just a symptom of the gaping gender divide. Ever since the new Battlestar Galactica series first began, I have been absolutely smitten with Grace Park, an inspired choice to replace the big black dude that first played Boomer on the original show. I reveled in her unassuming Korean-American beauty, typical enough that she might have been discovered while eating soondubu chigae at the Galleria Mall in Koreatown. I liked her lithe and feminine physique that belies a steely cylon interior. She gives delusional people like myself the hope that anyone can kick major galactic ass given the right outfit and a laser gun. I even love that she kind of sucks at acting. It pulls at my heartstrings. Now despite all this, I admit Grace Park is bad. She's a cylon for chrissakes. But is she a whore? Uh, hello. It takes two to frack. And since when does sleeping with two different men constitute whoring? What we're really talking about here is not whether a cylon should have multiple sex partners, but whether a female can sleep around and also hold the ultimate survival of the human race in her hands. Clearly this is a fact that may be hard for some guys to swallow. But for most women, who are used to swallowing much worse, they should rejoice in this new dietary alternative to the feeble-minded Manolo-obsessed women of Sex in the City, or the gardener-obsessed Desperate Housewives where instead, women can wield an unabashed sexuality and power without having to come in the form of Xena, warrior princess. (Who by the way is making an appearance on the next episode. Coincidence?) Comments like this make me afraid that we may be turning back to the same culture of male fear that once gave birth to ideas of "vaginal dentata" or the "succubus". So let's step back for a second and try to appreciate what the writers at BSG are trying to do here, which I think is to introduce a new order of things, maybe a new feminism, where it's okay for a woman to bury her head into the buff arms of her starpilot lover after unloading six rounds of cosmic ammo into an ill-fated enemy. So say we all.
Posted by babibi at 3:17 AM
Friday, August 26, 2005
Sometimes I feel sorry for guys. They likely have no idea how much women really tell each other about their sex lives. Which is of course. . . everything. My first distinct memory of this phenomenon was in high school when Pepper Lindsley described in explicit detail what it was like to give a guy a blowjob. We must have been 14 or 15. She had braces at the time and this presented some major logistical problems with his pubic hair. She also gave me this report with her neck covered in hickeys which was almost as gross as her blowjob story. Well, since that time, all my female friendships may be thought of simply as a long series of giggled confessions of their sexual encounters. As if the act of telling affirmed that something had indeed happened. The first blowjob, lost virginity, the elusive orgasm. And there was the advice too. Don't give a blowjob with braces for starters. Or never have sex in the sand. Girls learn a lot of important stuff from each other in this sort of tribal way. Even as early as fifth grade, my entire class read Judy Bloom's Forever, passing it around wrapped in an innocuous brown paper cover, handed off surreptitiously from one girl to another in the back of study hall as if we were dealing drugs. When it got to be my turn, it was like entering a secret society whose code words were penis, condoms, and sex on top.
By my 20s, not only did the stories get more interesting, but they got more explicit as well. But in all that time, I just sat there listening, nodding conspiratorially, without any lurid stories of my own to share. And even if I did, I didn't have the nerve to talk about it. I don't know why this was. Maybe it was because when I was five, an older neighborhood boy once trapped me in my bedroom and chased me around the room trying to get me to touch his penis. It wasn't particularly traumatic, probably because it wasn't all that "threatening", but I knew it was something I shouldn't tell anyone about. When I finally got around to being comfortable talking about sex, I was already in my mid-20s and it was as if the dam had cracked and all my innermost thoughts began seeping out of me, a little at a time, liberating me and making me wonder why I didn't start talking sooner. But what is it about women that enables us to share everything with each other? Is it chromosomal? Why do we feel comfortable getting naked in front of each other and assessing our tits, which we indeed do? The awful truth underlying all of this is that women totally objectify men, as much as we resist our own objectification. We talk size, we talk shape, we talk performance. We can be ruthless. We cackle. At any given time a women will know the penis size of all of her friends' boyfriends, and even boyfriends of the near and distant past. We then file this information away for future reference. We also talk with a complete vulnerability and transparency that most men will never experience unless with a woman. This is why men need women in their lives. Because though they may not admit it, they want to be a part of this secret society. In fact, I think that maybe men are only able to wholly fall in love with a woman when they acknowledge this feminine part of themselves, the part that has nothing to hide. Unfortunately, women are much more superficial. We just fall in love with the guy with the biggest cock.
Posted by babibi at 3:28 AM
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Monday, August 22, 2005
After reading Anthony Bourdain's book Kitchen Confidential, I had written him off as a total sellout, partly because of his declaration in the last pages of that book that Japanese sushi was the finest cuisine he had ever had, and partly because of his refusal to try dog meat when he visited Seoul, this from a man who professes that there is no food he will not try. What a wuss. So it was only out of reluctant curiosity that I watched his new show "No Reservations" where he travels the world in search of new culinary adventures. In this particular episode shot in France, he goes into cliched hyperbole about French cuisine being the greatest in the world. Yawn. Though I admit the food looked damn good. But just as I was about to change the channel, Bourdain looks directly into the camera and exclaimed that he was so cold that what he really needed was "a cup of hot chocolate and two fat chicks." Now that's funny. With that single line he has won me back, currying my favor, revealing his deliciously raw side that you don't see from most food critics. This is food porn at its best. Uncensored and straight from the heart.
Posted by babibi at 3:09 PM
Saturday, August 20, 2005
The Sox lost 4-2 to a sold out crowd of 44,014 fans at the Angels stadium today. I wouldn't have minded so much if Angels fans weren't such a bunch of pussies. They have a big chip on their shoulder about not being nearly as good and having only a tenth of the personality. At least I got to see some of my favorite players in action today. Damon and Manny were fooling around as usual in the outfield. And Sox fans, are still crazy the world over.
View from left field.
Damon and Kapler shooting the shit, or something.
The worst sign ever.
You can take the Red Sox nation out of Boston . . .
Posted by babibi at 11:03 PM
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Last night I learned that I have a Philadelphia dialect. This is something quite shocking to hear. Like someone telling you, "It's so cute how you wear your underwear outside your pants. Do they do that where you're from?" Well, something like that anyway. So we were sitting in this guy's living room, which was totally trashed, with shit everywhere on the floor and in piles on all the furniture so that we had to sit crouching or clean off a clean spot on the floor before daring to settle our asses down. They were in the process of moving out so it was understandable but then his girlfriend says to us, "Hey you guys mind not ashing on the floor?" That's when you do a doubletake and look around and wonder if you're talking about the same room.
Wait, where was I? Right, so as I was saying, this guy tells my friend, who is also from Philly, that she just said something that only people from Philly say, but that it is actually a grammatical flaw. She had said something like "Is she finished her shower?" Subtle huh? More examples: Are you done your homework? Are you finished dinner yet? Can you hear what's wrong? Well I totally couldn't. Apparently, if you're not from the Philadelphia region this will sound very wrong to you, even if you don't know technically why, but it sounds perfectly fine to me. To my reaction he responded in his expert self-assured neuroscientist's way "Exactly". I tried to protest, "But we're not really from Philly, we're from the suburbs outside of Phillly." "Doesn't matter." Wow, the dialect is like a dominant gene or something. Even if you're an immigrant, living in the outlying suburbs, her amongst Japs, me amongst Wasps, you still can't get away from it. So there I was, realizing I had been wearing my underwear outside my pants the whole time without knowing any better. What other atrocities had I been committing unwittingly? Well here are some other juicy Phillyisms, which I may or may not do myself but have certainly heard other people say:
This word is used commonly in phrases such as "I sall that new movie last night." (I don't do this but, cough cough, I know people who do.)
As in "Are you shore you want to go through with it?" (I definitely do this.)
As in "Youse better shut up already." (My next door neighbor used to say this.)
As in "Come auwn and shut up already". (Everyone who is really from Philly says this.)
As in "I don't smoke anymore." (Apparently this isn't a real word in England and was originally coined in the Philly area though it's more commonly used nowadays all over America.)
As in "Hey get away from that cookie, it's mayan!" (Again my next door neighbor.)
The Philadelphia dialect is actually pretty hard on the ears. Hard to imitate but a deep Philly accent is unmistakable. Then there's the South Philly distinctions that we won't go into here. I'm not embarassed to be from Philly or even speak like a Philadelphian actually. It's sort of heartwarming to know that you can leave a place and still have parts of it linger with you, identifiably even to other people, that ties you to a place so clearly and irrevocably. I love the special quirks of any place--like the hoagies and scrapple that you only get in Philly--but sometimes you forget that your hometown doesn't just seep into your memory but that you wear it with you always every time you open your mouth.
More examples to see if you speak like you are from Philly are here and here.
Posted by babibi at 9:11 AM
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Okay. So it looks like a freaking sardine. But check out the spots and the coloring. Isn't it a beautiful fish? If anyone tries to tell you that fly fishing is difficult, the first thing you should do is spit in their eye. They're lying to you. I'll tell you the real truth. I walked two miles up the side of this mountain, hauling a pack weighing 40 pounds or something at 8,000 feet above sealevel so that I thought my lungs would pop out of my face. And when I got to the top of the mountain, there was a beautiful lake, blanketed in a fine mist that could have been terrifying if it wasn't so damn beautiful up there. I dropped my gear, had my pole deflowered with line and flies and then I hurled that thing, ignorantly, flies and all, into the glassy water. On that throw I thought, "Oh shit, I just got snagged on a rock," but that "rock" turned out to be the first (and my last) catch of the day--a reddish green, stripey cutthroat trout that is apparently an endangered species because retards like me come up and fish them out of the water. Well I'll be damned. Of course, if not for the magical scene created by the mist, fishing might have really sucked the big one because quite frankly, it was cold as ass out there. It was raining. The fish were small. And I wasn't catching a damn thing after the initial 5 minutes had elapsed. But it was indeed beautiful. We had a good bottle of wine with bread and cheese because, it's all about the details. And of course, it was fun whipping that thing around my head in the air. Yeehaw. Alright so I think I can admit it now. Fly fishing is very very difficult. Most of the time my line was so long that it was flapping around getting caught in the long grass. I even nearly snagged a duck. Having thus worked up a significant appetite, my comrades and I trudged back down the mountain four hours later, soaking wet and chilled to the bone, trying our best to make it down safely without sliding on all the horse manure on the the trail. You have to keep all your wits about you to survive in the wilderness.
Posted by babibi at 10:17 PM
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Hopefully by this time tomorrow I will be knee deep in a river somewhere in the Rocky mountains, fly fishing for the very first time. Is it unrealistic to think that I'll catch something this big? And puhlease, don't believe anyone who says it's the 'motion of the ocean' because as girls the world over all know, it's all about size! Mwuhahahaha. Take out the tape measures gentlemen. Here's to hoping all those years of watching 'Rod and Reel' on PBS will finally pay off. I will also be staying two nights at the Stanley Hotel, the very hotel on which Stephen King based The Shining and which is presumed to be haunted to this day. Rumor has it that the most supernatural activities take place on the fourth floor, which was once the servant's quarters, but unless this involves some serious ectoplasmic bedevilry, I refuse to be convinced. I plan to be back on Monday, but if no one hears from me all next week, you will know that I'm still at the hotel, riding my bigwheels up and down the hallways, talking to my index finger, and gurgling "redrum redrum redrum".
Posted by babibi at 4:39 PM
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Is this the real life? Or is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide. No escape from reality.
Open your eyes. Look up to the sky and see.
I'm just a poor boy. I need no sympathy.
Because I'm easy come easy go.
A little high a little low.
Any way the wind blows, doesn't really matter, to me.
Only in Venice. God bless.
Posted by babibi at 10:00 PM
Monday, August 08, 2005
Back in the day, when the illustrious Sixers, Eagles, Phillies, and Flyers still dominated televised sports as we knew it, I lived on the ouskirts of Philadelphia where there was only one Korean grocery store located in the sketchiest part of North Philly a good 45 minutes away from our house. Like on a hallowed pilgrimage, our family would make the weekly trek there to stock up on necessary items of survival: kimchi, tofu, bean sprouts and other sundry perishables that were still unknown to the produce aisles at Shoprite and Acme. And there, bored out of our skulls, my brother and I used to play a game, a game where we would roam the aisles pointing out misspelled food labels with our uppity and culturally assimilated prep school snobbery that would leave us breathlessly clutching our bellies with laughter and sometimes rolling on the floor in between shelves of dried seaweed and ground chilli powder. There was of course, no winner in this game. We were both winners in that we suspended for a brief moment the kind of restless dread that comes with doing any obligatory family chore. And for these small snatches of time we could forget about the smelly interior, our uncomfortable church clothes, or the fact that outside this strange world we were normally at each other's throats 90% of the time.
Well some things never change. Ever since I've been following the Hanscoms to church, ostensibly to tame my bankrupt soul but admittedly for the Chinese food afterwards, I've had the unexpected pleasure of wandering the aisles of a Chinese supermarket with them, reliving this childhood memory of mine. There is a rush of excitement walking through the doors, as you're flooded with the unfamiliar smells, the weird packaging, all of this opening up an entirely new universe, one that is just begging you to run around laughing at some of the crazy shit they put on the labels. But now, I display proudly our greatest find yet. Indeed it is a masterpiece of cultural mistranslation, or transliteration. I present to you a grocery item that illustrates what happens when two distinctly different gastronomic cultures collide. I present to you the awesome, the enigmatic, the utterly frightening. . . cow pizzle. Hundred bucks to the first person who identifies it on the bovine anatomy correctly. Of course the Hanscoms and I already know the answer so we will be ineligible for the prize. And please note, the alarming lack of expiration date on the pack of pizzle. Ewww.
(Photo courtesy of the honorable Mr. Hanscom and credit should really go to the missus for discovering the pizzle in the frozen food section.)
Posted by babibi at 4:11 AM
Saturday, August 06, 2005
I have lost the power of speech. 90 minutes. Sixty 7th graders. Korean history in powerpoint. Na mean? Now I'm off to see something less stimulating to recuperate. . . like Wedding Crashers.
I leave you with some photos taken off Antelope Valley Freeway (14 South). The searing sun and tumbleweed speak of the physical desolation of this sacred place that is a monument left by the cement druids in honor of the Antelope gods.
Posted by babibi at 8:24 PM
Friday, August 05, 2005
I read once that Bette Davis was a notorious recluse who refused to give interviews for most of her career until she finally agreed to give one in her later years. At this interview, she was asked by the reporter if she had any advice to give to rising starlets new to Hollywood and she replied cryptically with the following two words: "Take Fountain".
Fountain, for those unfamiliar with LA, is a street just south of Sunset boulevard that runs parallel to it for miles. Sunset, both then and now, is always congested with traffic while Fountain is practically empty most of the time. It's a quiet residential road with nothing on it, a fact that's especially surprising considering the human activity taking place just one street above. This is the 'road less traveled' and a good metaphor for life that manages to give me a little tickle everytime I remember to take it. But 'taking Fountain' is easier said then done. There is the call of the flashy billboards, hot nightlife, neon signs and scantily clad booty that give you a sense that you're missing out on something. There is also the eerie loneliness of Fountain that makes you think you've made a wrong turn somewhere. That you'll be beaten, robbed, or hijacked. But Fountain will always be my road of choice. It's about listening to your heart, trusting your instincts, about carving out an identity in this overpopulated world of poseurs and followers. Growing up in a Korean community, I've seen a lot of lives laid to waste by the pressures of social conformity, status and prestige. Kids who trudge through life as doctors and lawyers who have no idea of why they were put on this earth other than to make money and to fulfill some superficial idea of success. Koreans are the worst about this. Lately as a teacher, I've really started to view this as a form of social oppression and wonder how long this pattern will continue to perpetuate itself. How long before Korean-Americans are free from these externally imposed determinants of self-worth? How long before they are completely free to marry people outside their class and race? And is this as inherently bad as I think it is? At least most of them are so busy building their portfolios that they don't have time to smoke crack, hire hookers, or sodomize young children in sleepy mid-Western towns. Or maybe they're just better at hiding it? If anyone knows any crack-smoking, hooker-hiring, child sodomizing Korean-Americans please send them my way so I can discuss with them how it is that they've bravely gone where (most) Koreans have not gone before.
(Photo of the southwest corner of Fountain and Las Palmas, Hollywood.)
Posted by babibi at 2:09 PM
Thursday, August 04, 2005
I woke up today still drunk from the night before. Me thinks it had something to do with seven vodka martinis and a bunch of Canadians. At 3 am we moved ourselves to the Wilshire Grand where everyone stripped down to their skivvies and went swimming in the hotel pool. Of course, no one was registered there. Fortunately I kept my wits about me and took a nap in a deck chair until things settled down. But there is a moral to the story somewhere here... ah yes, the moral is, if you're going to drink, make sure you do it poolside so you can watch drunken Canadians doing the jack-knife wearing tighty whities and wet plaid shirts. Aw yeah.
Thanks Lily for the good time last night. Safe trip home.
Posted by babibi at 2:11 PM
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Late at night when it's very still I can hear sounds wafting in from other homes. The clink of dishes being put away in the kitchen, snatches of familiar songs I used to play on the piano, canned laughter on someone's TV. Ambient noise that's sometimes better than listening to music in your room, made of sounds that are full of sentiment and warmth. That is, until the lady starts up. The one who screams bloody murder while she's having sex. This is terrifying and hardly arousing. It doesn't give the kind of forbidden arousal you get from lying awake in the middle of the night listening illicitly to your college roommate having sex in your room. Her screams start out kind of muffled, mixed in with all the other happy homey sounds, subtly enough that I pause in whatever I'm doing and tilt my head towards the window, wondering if I heard right. And a few minutes later, in a rising crescendo, this woman starts shrieking as if she's getting hacked to pieces by a mob with a steak knife. Sometimes this lasts for over an hour. Now I'm all for people having wild and randy sex. But if you've ever heard a person being hacked to death repeatedly night after night, then you will know the true meaning of psychological torture. There is no solution to this either. There are dozens of condos in my neighborhood that are within earshot, any of which can house this serial monster. How do I call the cops? What do I say? What do I say without sounding like a grumpy old lady? Instead I've chosen to grin and bear it. But at times I find myself staring at the many balconies that face mine trying to locate the source and imagining what else is going on behind their doors. I've narrowed it down to Mr. Peacock in the conservatory with a candlestick. I'm investigating a murder, except that this murder takes place on a regular basis, with the same weapon, used on the same woman, and I think I've just about had it up to here.
Posted by babibi at 9:37 AM