26 December 2006

H20, Tea + Video Games

My Christmas was rad. some of the highlights included the weather. it was 70 degrees and beautiful and my brother and i took a small pilgrimage to see this:

The sun, the ocean, the sky. . . these were blessings in our lives. these things helped me understand where i was and why i'm here.

Other highlights inluded my brother's accidental backhawk. after he tried trimming his hair with my electric shaver without understanding how short the 3 setting is, and with no mirror to see the back of his head, it looked like this:

And the apogee of my day was opening up this:

Which today became:

Yes my friends, the ds lite show is official. the season of lights has begun. thematically related to this, my brother and i were chatting about why japanese peeps live so long, and we've decided--against our mum's refutation--that besides the whole grain, sashimi-obsessed, green tea diet phenomenon, one of the reasons our people live so long is cuz they have a highly regimented way of life--which the body loves--and a undeniable element of play in its culture--which the soul loves.

It all comes back to my nintendo ds lite.

For all of the above reasons, i look and feel like this:

We out, for now. . .

24 December 2006

Connecting with Animals + Nature

Yesterday, i worked on my novel, walked to dog beach in del mar with my brother. then we spent time at:

Before going to zinc cafe, drinking some green tea and kicking it. then we walked up to henry's and i went and finished up my x-mas shopping for my mum and brother when i saw this in the sky:

Or, seen from another point of view, this:

Last night ended by:

Watching "v is for vendetta"--loved it, and my mum and i gorging ourselves on chocolate fudge brownies--hella yum. also, my brother, mum and i danced to amel wahby's "yahbet." it was so cute. it was like dance party usa. there was mum, wick and me, getting down to arabic world music. even midori, the green-cheek canure, starting shaking her stuff. classic stuff.


Today, i woke up kinda late (9:40ish), and after dancing to 80's music in the living room again, we got in the car, listened to more 80's hits like cindi lauper's "time after time," toto's "africa," a-ha's "take on me" and many many other great chorus-heavy songs, and then we finally drove to SEA WORLD--something I protested against, but my mom begged us (free tickets).

First, as you drive to the parking lot, you're greeted by:

Then we watched a cute little Chinese girl shaking hands with a polar bear. well, a man dressed in a pola bear outfit:

Finally, to the animals.of course, because they're the most beautiful animals in the whole world, we saw the dolphins first. the baby dolphin was so cute:

And then, i had this amazing connection with this one dolphin. i swear we were in love or something. for 3 minutes we just stared at each other. at first i thought i was just being anthropocentric again the way all writers are, but then, my mum was like yo, you and that dolphin had some crazy connection.

I wondered: does she see the tattoo on my forearm? does she know that i love dolphins, that i think they have the buddha nature.

Or, does this dolphin know that i'm muttering under my breath: you're so beautiful. look at you. you're so gorgeous. lookt at you. you're so beautiful. whatever it was, we connected. it was touching.

Then we saw fish in the aquarium:

And beluga whales. after that, it was time for the shamu show:

We also saw jellyfish:

Yup, despite my issues (many of them), it was a rad--and very unsual--christmas eve at sea world:

Finally, we made it back to north country where we drove to leucadia and ate fish tacos with guacamole at our fave place north of the border at juanita's.

Here's pretty encinitas:

Finally, we went to a farmer's market where i bought vegetarian tamales with green mole and organic avocados. then we came home, took a small break, then went to barbara's place for a christmas eve party where we ate smoked salmon and rich english desserts, i drank a really nice bottle of pinot noir and we chatted shamelessly. and now we're back and it feels good to be home.

Happy holidays and merry christmas and happy chanukah to all of you my beautiful friends. love you.

21 December 2006

Spending Time with My Family in Sun Country

Ah, these past two days have been wonderful. we picked up wick, my brother at the airport, then we went to mum's work, and met Ramu, her boss before we made it to mitsuwa. i bought TONS of wasyoku: nori, okonomi sauce, kyupi mayo, kabayaki, kamaboko, weird strawberry flavored soda, grilled corn snacks (don't ask, but they're a hit in japan). i also bought some strange toy thing that looks like fake japanese produce: daikon radish, carrots in a green basket with prices in yen, two types of noodles. but it satisfies some childish part of me that used to LOVE getting gifts everytime my parents would come back from japan.

Then we watched the "davinci code" and "little miss sunshine" before devouring vegetarian spaghetti--boníssimo! i finished my first chapter with Ginger Lin in section 2 of my novel, and then revised parts of the opening, which is still not quite done, but getting there.

Today, i woke up around 8:40ish, stretched, walked down to the beach and ran into my brother along the way, went to the post office, mailed 3 stories to ZYZZYVA, the west coast-only literary journal based out of san fran, and then we walked through downtown solana beach where i bought present for my mum and bro, including:

A bunch of bath stuff from Mistral, a french soap company from provènce like:
jasmine soaps in the shapes of sea shells
bath salts like pear and verveine
foaming bath mousse that smells like st. tropez
apricot and lime soap

And for my brother:

A lime green journal (his fave color) with a charles dickinson quote in large block letters
A nalgene bottle

And then after a fantastic salad of:

Fresh organic spinach
Organic red peppers
Organic radishes
Organic ripe avocadoes
Fresh slices of raw salmon
Kalamata olive oil
Goddess dressing

Now, my bro and i are at pannikin. and i am content.

19 December 2006

Oh My God The Sun Feels Good

The sun feels amazing. i'm sitting right in it right now. it's 60 degrees, which feels like 80 after the south bend's mistral, i'm in a t-shirt, i'm outside, and life is fucking beautiful man. i'm about to work on my thesis, but a few minutes of sun worship is great for my morale, and great for the universe too.

I'm at one of my fave cafes in socal, pannikin, sipping on some green tea, soaking up the winter sunshine. i feel almost totally healthy again. wick gets in tomorrow.

Everytime i make it back to socal, i always ask myself the same question: yo, why don't i live here? if i didn't have to drive, and if the cost of living wasn't so exhorbitant, i would live here. i mean, i've lived in:

Solana beach
Del mar

All west coast cities, all of them amazing places to conjugate the verb of human joys, but right now, it's just not time for me.

I do think about the following though:

Moving to japan and living there for a few years, maybe up to 6 years max, and then moving back to the west coast, specifically nocal, and in particular, the bay area, i'd be equidistant--well, kinda--from mum in solana beach and my peeps in p-town, and settling down there with one dog (a beagle) and two nekochans. god i can be idealistic. it's fucking vulgar. but i embrace it.

Now i can hear christmas music in the background and it's time for me to work on my novel. tonight, my mum and i gonna eat some indian food, i'm so stoked. it's been months since i've gotten down with the desi palette.

When i'm done writing here, i'm gonna go to the beach and watch the sunset, if i can time it just right.

18 December 2006

West Coast! West Coast!

After two days fighting a cold with my friend m2, who was also fighting a cold, an amazing coincidence of bio-rhythm, in chicago, where we also:

Ate eggs benedict at ann sather for brunch
Went to my fave thai restaurant and ate the best pad kee mao in the northern hemisphere
Watched "the office" and the final episode of "survivor" where the asians became the master race--go AJI's!
I also met my bro at filter in the WP
I slept 12 hours and still felt tired afterwards
I slept on the plane, listened to good house, ah , i feel as good as you can feel without being a 100% healthy.

Yes peeps, i finally made it to SoCal, and it was 60 degrees today, and i walked around in a t-shirt, the sunglasses came out of storage, there are palm trees coronating my return, my mum and i spent hours buying food at whole foods, then i took a nap, ah, california feels awesome to me!

Now we're gonna eat some vegetarian pho soup and watch trashy tv. i'm hoping to go to bed early, sleep for 12 hours, and see the ocean tomorrow. in a few days, i'm gonna feel like a brand new car, or something fancy and brand new that doesn't use gasoline, or push the world's fossil fuels to near extinction or cause global empires.

everyone, let's free toto. who's with me?

13 December 2006

Playgirl, Why Are You Sleeping in Tomorrow's World?

I'm done with everything for the rest of the semester, for the end of the year! i finished writing my fellowships cover letters, i sent them out at the ND postoffice, I took my 日本語 exam today--i pretty much aced it, hell yeah aji--and now i'm just relaxing in sobe until saturday, when i take the train to chicago, see my awesome friend m2, we're gonna kick it at her place, at my fave thai joint, at the chicago diner, we're gonna break the verbs down, walk through the city, catch up on our lives, it's gonna be hella cool. and then monday, it's socal. yo, i can't wait to see my mum, walk down to the beach, hear the ocean, feel the sun, hit the smoothie stand, and most importantly, crank out this novel that's been germinating for weeks now since i got sidetracked by academic stuff.

Normally, now that i'm done with all my shit, i'd play the fourth movement of mozart's 39th symphony in celebration--an old tradition, pardon the tautology--but you know, i'm not in the mood to hear mozart. when i get little 猫ちゃんs, then i'll start playing him again. they like him. i know. i've noticed. now it's travis. can't go wrong with "writing to reach you."

I'm gonna sleep in tomorrow, start revising my novel, go for a run, take a shower, shave my head and start writing again. it's gonna be perfect.

Today, i also played piano in the dark for about an hour. it made me so happy. i think i wrote a new song, as in lyric-piano-songwriter-kinda-song, but i'm not talented enough to play and sing at the same time, so i'll have to split this up into two steps. bring in the old skool 4-track!

All right, it's time to watch "ghost in the shell" so i can return these DVD's at the library tomorrow.

11 December 2006

The Beauty of Not Acting Your Age

1. Wrote a kick-ass recommendation for a former student of mine for MFA programs and got to use a bunch of hyperbolic statements that were actually true. nice to be on the other side of that power dynamic for once, seeing as i'm applying to all these fellowships and collecting rec.'s myself.

2. Talked to my mum, who is so goddamn funny. she was telling me she really hopes she gets picked to go on jury duty soon because she kinda likes it and ramu will pay her, so she gets paid to perform her civic duty. and she's dragging wick and me to sea fucking world, of all the immoral institutions. i guess it's time to kick it wih shamu, my friend. he'll recognize his sister immediately once my arms are exposed. . .

3. I persuaded my mum to buy me a nintendo ds lite for x-mas, which is kinda pathetic and childish if i think about it, but i prefer not to. . . until it comes to buying video games, then it's mariokart, castlevania and other useless shit. see, when i play video games, i'm reconNECTing with my japanese heritage, it's totally genealogical, in case you're wondering.

4. Frances got her shit together and she's writing me 3 more recommendations thank god, it was becoming a total nightmare.

5. I'm getting really stoked to hang out with my frirend m2 in chicago. also, i can't wait to get to socal, feel the sun, hear the gregorian ocean, and write my ass off. my novel's coming along, but soon it will bumping. . .

6. My tattoo makes me really happy. i mean, WHO gets a japanese poem tattooed on his forearm? if that's not a bold artistic gesture, i don't know what is. runner-up: the way yukio mishima committed suicide, and smoking yourself to death.

7. Valerie sayer's party was fucking great, even if her dog was humping little shoes. i talked to kelly, valery, v, brian, k, mfa alum's--and i devoured so many spinach croissants i was swearing in french by midnitght.

8. I went to carrie's house party, and got drunk with 2 of my former creative writing students, who forced me to take shots from a wine flask, that ended up being 2 months old. sure, if i thought about it, it was absurd that i was 12 years older than all the other drunk undergrads there, but like i said, it was better not to think about it, and somehow, i had a blast, especially when we started talking about paris and hemingway, that shit always puts me in a good mood. and the amazing thing is, i ended up spending the night with carrie, and we talked and listened to AIR, and though we crawled in bed together 1/2 naked later on, we didn't even make out--she was feeling generally unhappy about life--and i was okay with that. i think she just needed to see me for awhile, and i was happy to see her and cuddle. we always have great convo's, whether we hook up or not. i hope i made her feel better. the next morning, i looked like a wax statue, i was so tired, i looked AWFUL, and then after thai lunch, carrie drove me to my japanese oral final, and i HAD A HUGE RORSHACH WINE STAIN ON MY SWEATER. but i still did well, not perfectly by any means, but still very good. i think shiga sensei was laughing at my sweater.

02 December 2006

How Am I Single?

You know, sometimes, i'm trying to understand how i can be going to an excellent university with over 10,000 students and somehow i'm single. it just seems odd. and then, i see the blessing in that because i need to work alot right now. i feel like the next 5 months are like the last lap of this marathon, and i really need to pick it up and represent. i won't settle for writing a novel that's half-assed. i have too much love, too strong a work ethic, too much pride, too much conviction and creativity to settle. i want to delight, intrigue, infuriate, touch, move, inspire, anger, arouse with my writing. that's the alpha and the omega of my motivation. but i guess it's different when you realize how little time you really have left.

Man, i can't wait to hear the pacific ocean, sit at little socal cafes, feel the sun on my face. time's just going by so quickly now and i feel like i have so much to do between now and graduation. but for a month in socal, i'm going to visit the ocean often, see my fam, and write the hell out of my novel. that's the only way. and i know it. this is how we do.

Cool. now i feel much better now. i'm going to write some more, make some tea, and do some yoga.