Saturday, December 29, 2012

10 Ways to make a Brian Smile

So you want to make Brian smile and/or laugh. You long for the sunshine thrown forth from his radiant smile. You yearn to hear the melodious laughter that could only have been composed by angels. You just want to see his soulful blue eyes squint up, his nose crinkle, and his hands fly up to modestly cover his laughter. Here are a few easy ways to elicit the pure and simple joy my brother exudes when he's happily laughing.

1.) Sing to him. No, not like a lullaby; that will only produce a polite and gentle smile. Sing your heart out to him. Sing really loudly. But most importantly, replace disyllabic nouns with his name. For example, "Firework" by Katy Perry (I know...) is a surefire way to make him grin. Instead of saying "Baby you're a firework", you say, with all confidence, "Brian you're a firework!". Or, another good one, "The Way You Are" by Bruno Mars; instead of "because you're amazing just the way you are", you sing "cuz Brian's amazing, just the way he is". This is obviously a more complex lyrical re-structuring, but I'm sure you can figure something out. The best place to engage in singing to make him smile is in highly public places.

2.) Make a scene. Be tactful about this; Brian doesn't enjoy attention, but he does get amused when you involve him in funny stunts in public where YOU are the focus and are simply including him in your shenanigans. For instance, one of my favorites to enact in semi-public places: Brian typically will walk behind you. While having long legs, he enjoys taking his time, and will NEVER be caught rushing. When he's walking behind you, turn around a few times, looking nervously at him. (this in itself will make him laugh). Then, say in a voice loud enough to be heard, "Stop following me.". He'll laugh at this. Turn around again while still walking, and say "This is not a laughing matter, sir. You need to STOP following me". After a few more steps, stop walking, turn around, and say very firmly "STOP IT, ESTEBAN! I DON'T LOVE YOU ANYMORE! GO HOME, LEAVE ME ALONE!!!" At this point, he'll be in riotous laughter. You should stop the stunt now and go give him a bear hug in order to reassure the people standing by listening to this madness that you do, indeed, not only know him, but also love him very much.

3.) Walk up to him and tell him you love him. But don't be sentimental about it. Walk up to him in a businesslike manner, as if you're about to engage him in a serious conversation. Look him in the eyes, and firmly say "Hey". He'll most likely giggle and avert his eyes. Tell him "Look at me." More laughter. "No, look at me. Look at my face". At this point, he'll be giving you eye contact, and trying to contain his laughter. "I need you to know something". He'll nod his head and continue stifling his laughter. "No, LISTEN to me. This is serious. This isn't a laughing matter." He'll be basically crying with laughter now. "I need you to know that I love you. No, pay attention. Brian, I love you. Don't you DARE ever forget that". Now you smile and act like none of that just happened. He'll be cracking up, and he'll quietly say that he loves you too. Now give him a bear hug.

4.) No matter what day it is, tell him "happy birthday!". Even if it isn't his birthday (there's a large chance that it won't be) he'll smile and say "thank you". While this doesn't elicit laughter, it will amuse him, and it's especially good if you follow it up with "JK I know it's not your birthday. But I still love you". Always tell him that you love him; he's a precious treasure and deserves to be constantly reminded of it.

5.) Sing with him. This is different than #3, although you can still incorporate the element of the disyllabic noun replacement. Turn on a song he likes, turn it on loud. Proceed to sing loudly, like a maniac. Look at him while singing loudly, he'll likely laugh, then join in with you. He may even play air guitar if you get into it enough.

6.) Show him pictures of pugs. He simply adores pugs. Pugs wearing clothes, pugs at pug parties, pugs with their tongues out, old pugs, baby pugs, white pugs, black pugs, sleeping pugs, pugs doing stunts, any kind of pug; show it to him. He'll grin really big, and probably laugh. He loves pugs.

7.) Tell him to calm down. There's never really a moment when Brian ISN'T calm, so that's why this is hilarious to him. When he's sitting there, quietly watching TV and doing nothing, say firmly "hey, you need to calm down, sir." He'll laugh. Take it up a notch "hey, you're out of control. You need to get a hold of yourself. Calm down." More laughter. End with firmly saying to him "Sir, you need to check yourself before you wreck yourself! CALM. DOWN." He'll be cracking up, and at this point you should smile and laugh with him, because that was pretty funny.

8.) Tell him you love him. But be hyperbolic about it. Brian is literally most likely the last person in the universe that actually appreciates the perfection of hyperbolic speech.  Honestly, he would so much more appreciate a good hyperbolic complement than if someone were to hand him a billion dollars. Assure him that he's the best person to ever live. Ever. Tell him that his eyes are the most gorgeous and luminous jewels in the world. Tell him that his smile is the most perfect and wonderful smile of all time, and that it's literally better than all the puppies and kittens in the world. Go ahead and use the word "literally" liberally; that's the beauty of hyperbole. This sort of goings-on will not only evoke a warm smile and laugh, but occasionally, if you do it exactly perfectly enough, you may get his cheeks to turn red.

9.) Dance. Dance with him, dance around him, dance while walking in front of him. If you make any sort of a scene like this, it makes him happy. He doesn't like to dance, though. But he likes to watch YOU dance and make a fool out of yourself. So do that. He'll enjoy it, and laugh immensely.

10.) Tell him you're going on some banal errand that he'll have no interest in going with you. But make him come with you, even though he won't be getting anything out of it, tell him you just want to spend some "quality time" with him. He'll usually comply; he'll take his sweet time getting ready to go, but he'll go with you. Get in the car, tell him the errand you're running. i.e. "We're going to Von's. We simply don't have enough cans of green beans in the house, we need to pick up some more." He'll agree to that, somewhat bewildered, but he'll go along with your bizarre errand to obtain even more cans of green beans. DON'T ACTUALLY GO TO VONS TO GET GREEN BEANS. Don't go to Von's at all. That is not the point of this whole scheme. Make sure you drive PAST Vons, though. As you drive past Von's, he'll be concerned, and gently tell you "oh, you missed it... Von's is back there..." He won't be annoyed or frustrated by your apparent lack of navigational skills. He won't be amused. He'll want to help you get back on course. But no, say nothing. Drive on, on past Von's. Let him come to his own conclusions. "Oh, I guess we'll just go to Ralph's, then. That's okay." Say nothing. Pull into a parking lot for any fast food restaurant, at this point, he gets it. Excitement is mounting within him. He says, "wait... WE'RE GOING TO MCDONALD'S?!?!?!?!" To which you simply reply: "I thought it would be a nice time for us to spend together. I missed you a lot, and I want to catch up. Let's sit down, eat your favorite food, and just be together. ::smile:: " Delighted clapping and laughter will follow this. He will come up and hug you very tight. For a moment, though, a dark cloud appears on his brow. You ask "What's wrong, love?" He'll tell you he has no money to pay for us. You say "This one's on me, sweetcakes. My treat. You deserve it!" Here he will employ a bear hug and then go back to clapping. Tell him you love him, straight up just tell him that you love him, and are grateful to have him in your life. He'll very genuinely return the sentiment.

:::::note::::: Unless you are me, these techniques will most likely disturb him, or he'll ask you "how much did my sister pay you to do this?" So, the ultimate warning: DO NOT ATTEMPT UNLESS YOU ARE HIS KRISTIN :)

I love making my brother smile, so much. That smile is priceless to me, his laughter is like music to my ears. His happiness is my eternal joy. I would die a thousand deaths just to ensure that his life would always be healthy and happy.(And that's not me being hyperbolic!) It is my hope and desire that I can bring happiness and laughter into his life at least once a day. Most importantly, I truly do need him to know how much I love and appreciate him. Every day, I grab him, hold him close, and tell him I love him. Flattered, he will blush and smile, and then, best of all, he embarassedly mumbles back "" I then pull his head close, and kiss his forehead, fringed by his dark blonde hair, pull him back, and simply say "good. I'm glad" and smile. He'll smile back, and we'll go about our day. But a day seems incomplete without that tender transaction of words between a brother and his biggest fan in the world, the person that loves him the most, the girl that loves her brother more than she loves herself; a sister so utterly and completely humbled to be blessed with this amazing young man for her brother, a sister that would do anything just to see this brother smile, a sister that cannot imagine a day without her Brian in her life; a day is not complete before the sister tells the brother "hey, I love you, and I thank God every single day that you're alive, and that you're my baby brother. I'm so honored and blessed to be able to be your big sister. But I love you so much, and I will do my best to always love and protect you, no matter what happens. And don't you dare forget it". Not until that transaction has transpired can it be called a day. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Paul Simon

     Everyone remembers their first CD. Or cassette, or beta, or LP, or what have you. I remember my first CD. Someone from my dad's work had given me a walkman CD player at the tender age of 5. I had nothing to put in the player, so I looked through the few CD's my mom had. Billy Raye Cyrus. No. Phantom of the Opera soundtrack. No. Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. No. Sandi Patti. No. Random CD of piano music. Ehhhh. Paul Simon. HECK YES. I listened to the entire CD (Graceland) countless times on that walkman. I loved everything about it. Mom eventually "gave" me the CD, and I had my first album. Paul Simon's "Graceland".

     Now, I love all the tracks on that album (even still today), but one of my favorites has always been "You Can Call Me Al". Something about the intro, something about that bass, something about the lyrics, something about that SONG has always just drawn me in. I love it. Always have, always will. The chorus still gets stuck in my head, sometimes. "If you'll be my bodyguard, I can be your long lost pal! I can call you Betty, and Betty when you call me, you can call me Al!" (I still remember singing this at the top of my lungs as a young child. [I still sing this at the top of my lungs to this current day]).

     One day, several years ago, I was working at my place of employment. It was an extremely, excruciatingly slow day, I recall. The only people working were my boss, one of my coworkers, and myself. I was working the register, my coworker was off stocking shelves in the back of the store, and my boss was working in the back office. Since I was stuck at the register, I really couldn't do too much. I had already cleaned the surrounding area, organized the drawers, cleaned the workstations, etc. My boss had delegated the most asinine task of cleaning the register keyboards. Not just taking a cloth and wiping them down, mind you. He instructed me to pry up all the individual keys, clean the lint from under them, and scrub each and every key in a bucket of water until they were clean. Not having anything else particularly better to do, I did what he requested. I must have been too busy scrubbing the keys to notice when a customer walked in, because when he got to the register, it completely took me of guard and I nearly jumped out of my skin. (Note: I only cleaned one key at a time; I'm not so daft as to take the entire lot of keys off of the keyboard; I'd never remember the correct order to replace them in. Just thought I'd mention that).

     At the time of the customer's arrival, I remember I was scrubbing the "B" key. It was particularly darkened with gray sludge, as I recall. As the customer began putting his things on the counter, I replaced the now-clean "B" key back on the keyboard, where it got stuck and promptly caused a line of "bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb" to appear on the little screen until I could pry it up again. While I was busy with all of that nonsense, the customer finished putting his things on the counter. After I had finished fixing the keyboard, I looked up and apologized to him for the delay. He met my gaze, laughed, and assured me that it was quite alright.

     Normally, I would be incredibly timid with male customers my own age. (At the time I believe I was 18 or 19). But something about this guy made me feel at ease. He had dirty blonde hair, dark rimmed glasses, and a very friendly smile. He had quite a laid-back, yet fun-loving, aura to him. The closest thing I can compare him to is the character Tombo from "Kiki's Delivery Service", pictured below. He had a striking resemblance to him, both in personality and appearance. Momentarily I pondered if this guy had modeled himself after Tombo. 

Tombo, from Kiki's Delivery Service   
Definitely not the sort of guy that girls would be chasing after, but he was adorable in an awkward sort of way.

     I absentmindedly asked him if he had found everything alright as I began ringing up his purchases. The counter was covered in packages of Japanese candy. "A man after my own heart", I thought to myself, amused, and now hungry. He replied "Oh yes, I know exactly where you guys keep the good stuff!" and grinned broadly. I found myself enjoying this guy's company. Not in a "I'd like to be your girlfriend!" kind of way, but in a "Hey, you know what? You're alright by me. Let's be pals." kind of way. He seemed harmless, too. Very friendly, but not in the usual flirtatious way. Deciding to make small talk, I asked him what his favorite flavor of "Hello Panda" was, as he was buying 3 different flavors of it at the time. He told me he had a soft spot for the strawberry ones, but actually preferred "Koala's March" to "Hello Panda". My gosh, do I EVER share the same sentiment! Koala's March is infinitely better than Hello Panda, hands down. Alas, the store only sold Hello Panda, though. He asked if we ever carried KM, I told him "sadly, no; we only have Hello Panda. I just have to make do and eat this on my break" and smiled. Sensing my sincerity and understanding on this topic of Asian snacks, the conversation carried on for a while. Eventually, I had rung up all of his food, and the register prompted me to ask for his email address in order to register him in the mailing list system. I hated to ask him for it, I really did; he was such a nice boy, I hated to seem so impersonal as to ask him for permission for my company to spam his email with ads and offers. Nonetheless, I was a decent employee, and put work first, so I asked him. He told it to me, it was something along the lines of "". I said "so your name's Alan, huh?" just trying to make small talk. This guy amused me; he was easy to get along with, and it had been a long and dull day. I figured I should take the opportunity to enjoy human interaction while I still had it. He replied "Yeah, I'm Alan, but you can call me 'Al'". Without even thinking about this, for some reason, I said "Well, then. You can call me 'Betty'".
What on earth are the chances of any NORMAL person my age understanding that reference? I had just set myself up to look like a complete idiot, and probably having to explain the song I had just referenced.

     He smiled his broad grin, then looked a little confused. I saw his eyes dart towards my apron, then quizzically back up to my face. He said "But your name-tag says 'Kris'..." My face reddened, I took a breath, about to explain the reference, when his eyes lit up behind his dark-rimmed glasses. "Wait a sec! Did you just reference Paul Simon?!" He looked at me expectantly, almost urgently, awaiting my answer. I said "Yes, yes I did! I'm glad you got that reference!". We both smiled, then laughed for a while. He told me that he LOVED Paul Simon, and greatly respected him as an artist. I told him I felt the same way.

     The racket of the printer spitting out the receipt interrupted our blissful connection over Paul Simon, and our discussion of favorite tracks from "Graceland". I reluctantly tore it off, and handed it to him. He asked to borrow a pen for a second, I obliged him. He scribbled something on the bottom of the receipt, tore it off, then handed it to me. It was his phone number. I looked up at him, he just smiled, sideways, and just a tad coyly, and he said "In case you ever need a bodyguard", and winked. I laughed and laughed, and reciprocated with "I'm actually in the market for a long lost pal..." and winked back at him. He grinned jovially, and said "see ya later, Betty!" and I said "Take care of yourself, Al".


     I lost Al's number. Which is a shame, because I actually would have loved to get to know the guy beyond the few minutes we shared during his transaction. He came in one other time while I was working; we parted the same way as we did before. I never saw him again after that.  The second time, he referenced "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes". I asked him to take me dancing, he said we'd just end up sleeping in a doorway. I never saw him again after that.

     Al, if you're out there, I hope you know you're fantastic. And I fondly remember our short conversations and references to the genius that is Paul Simon. ^_^

Monday, December 10, 2012

Strange Boy

      As most of you probably know by now, I love taking the Los Angeles Subway. It's cheap, time-saving (usually), and you encounter so many different and interesting people. I know I've "showcased" a few of the more...colorful... types of people that I've encountered on here before, but this time I want to talk about an entirely different sort of experience I had. This one was different than any other I've ever had on the subway or metro... This was surreal, and entirely inexplicable, and it's worthy of a post on here.

     About a year or so ago, my younger brother and I were on the subway, en route to Little Tokyo for a bowl of ramen. Now, prior to taking the subway, we first have to arrive in North Hollywood, which we accomplish by taking the Orange Line. At the time this story occurred, the new stops in Chatsworth didn't exist yet, so we boarded the Orange Line at Warner Center, which was originally the first stop of the Orange Line. So that meant that we had spent about an hour on the Orange Line before arriving to the Subway. (Nothing of real interest occurred on the ride on the Orange Line this time around). So, we get to the Red Line (subway) at last. We board the train, but since we were a little late, we had to scramble on board. After nearly getting decapitated by a closing door (yes, this happens to me frequently on these excursions), we made it into the packed train car. Obviously, there were no seats to be had by this point, so we made our way to the center pole. I wrapped my arms around the pole and held myself close to it. My brother, who, although being 2.5 years younger than I am, is about 6ft tall, grasped the pole with one long arm above my head.
     At this point, I was sleepy. Subway rides are practically the equivalent to the Poppy Field in the "Wizard of Oz"; almost instantaneously upon setting foot in a train car, I begin to fall asleep. Now you can imagine that it's difficult to sleep in a standing position while clinging to a pole in a car full of people. Not to mention fear of pick-pockets. So I clung closely to the pole, with my brother standing behind me, arm over my head, standing in close proximity in order to protect me. I turned my head up to see his face, got his attention, and notified him of my intent to sleep on the pole, and instructed him to be on the lookout for any funny-business, and told him to watch my stuff if he could. He vehemently agreed, apparently honoured by his new position of being my "bodyguard". I knew I was in good hands, so I drifted off. We had a long ride ahead of us; our stop was the second to last on the Red Line, which meant I had ample time to sleep. I closed my eyes, and allowed myself to drift off as the telltale signs of the train taking off began to stir.
     First, there's this sort of exhaust sound. Presumably that's just the engines getting started or something of the like. Then the lights sort of flicker on. (This has little effect on the actual lighting situation; the lights are very dim and almost yellowishly dull). Then, a woman's voice comes on the intercom, pre-recorded of course. "Doors are now closing". A little bell dings twice, the doors shut, just as the robot woman warned us of. The car shudders, then starts up. It slowly lurches forward, the whirring of the motors and engines creating a sort of dull, mechanical lullaby, percussed by the buzz of the electric lighting. It was to this mundane, banal lullaby that I fell asleep for a while.
     About 2 or 3 stops in, the car slowly came to a stop. I'm not entirely sure why I awoke upon this arrival, but I looked up as the car pulled up to the stand, my eyes adjusting to the dull lights now contrasted with the fluorescent lights of the station itself. I noticed something strange, something almost surreal, as the car came to a full stop... A boy, or maybe a young man, seemingly ageless, standing on the platform.
     Now there are typically many many different boys, guys, men, etc., on any given platform at any given time. Never before had one stood out so starkly to me. This boy, this being, he had the kindest face of any person I have yet to encounter in my life. I glanced at him momentarily, not wanting to gawk. He smiled the gentlest, most sincere smile, and tipped his fedora-type hat to me. I blushed, put my head back down, and attempted to go back to sleep, figuring that he would board the train and take the single open seat that had just been vacated by the old lady who had been previously snoring.
     I rubbed my eyes with my left hand, while I continued to grasp the pole with my right. I let my left arm drop to my side, tired from clinging to the pole as I had been. I closed my eyes, fully intending to sleep again until our stop arrived. After about a minute or so, again, the robotic voice comes over the intercom "Doors closing!" ::ding ding:: "Next stop, such-and-such station". By this point, i was half asleep again, not paying attention to the next stop signal. After the train had begun its course again, about a minute in, I felt a warm hand slip into mine.
     I drowsily looked up, turned around to confront my brother on this uncharacteristic and bizarre display of affection. I was going to tell him "you're doing fine protecting me, but don't you think this is a bit much?". But before I could utter anything, I glanced at the hand so softly placed in my own, I followed the arm attached to the hand up... It didn't belong to my brother, which was somewhat of a relief. But what was this, what kind of forward stranger gets onto a train and holds hands with a sleeping girl?
     The slender arm was encased by a light blue long sleeve... The arm was attached to a shoulder, about level with my eyes. The shoulder led to a neck, and the neck to a face... What on earth. My heart leapt to my throat; the angelic boy from the platform, the arm, the shoulder, the neck, the face, and the warm, soft hand... All belonged to him.
     Our eyes met. I scanned his face, at a loss for words. He had the most lovely complexion I've ever seen; it was fair, but not pale, with the slightest misting of light freckles delicately arranged over the bridge of his nose and just cresting his rosy cheeks. His hair was the color of the golden straw that grows on the hills around here during summer. He wore a most interesting hat; it appeared to be some sort of straw fedora, which ordinarily I would find completely odd, but he wore it so well. The way his cheek bones were set made him appear so boyish, so kind... Even in the hideous lighting, this boy appeared radiant, almost glowing.
     After scanning his face for any sense of his intentions, my eyes met with his again. His eyes were perhaps the most intriguing. Dark brown, like the color of freshly ground coffee, but with almost a rust tinge to them... Perhaps the most adequate description of the color of his enigmatic eyes would be something akin to cherrywood, although entirely more full of life than that. I searched his eyes for some motive, some intention, but I could find none. He was looking deeply into my own eyes as well, but didn't seem concerned as I was with motives. He smiled ever so slightly at me, almost reassuringly. We held our gaze for much longer than I would with anyone. I have never seen such kind and honest eyes in anyone before. His eyes were devoid of deceit, greed, lust, violence, and every other form of malignant human intent. They were pure, they were innocent. They were very rare.
     After this searching of faces occurred, as he smiled ever so gently at me, I could find no words, no objection to this bizarre scenario. I smiled at him, my cheeks flushed with confusion and slight embarrassment, and I did something strange then.
     I lowered my head, which is typical response for me after prolonged periods of eye contact. But this time, it wasn't out of shame, confusion, or awkward self-awareness. This time, I lowered my head out of contentment. I grasped the pole with my right arm as the train continued on, and my left hand still contained the hand of my new companion.
     Silently, we traveled on through the corridors and tunnels, standing on the shuddering floor of the car. I shut my eyes and smiled, still holding the strange boy's hand.
     A few stops later, the train slowly came to a stop at another platform. I felt the slight hand slip out of our gentle grasp. I opened my eyes, and looked up just in time to see the strange boy departing. He exited the train, without saying a word. He turned back, smiled his gentle smile at me one last time, and slowly waved to me as the train lurched forward, embarking to its next stop. I smiled back at him, and returned his gesture. He doffed his cap, and bowed slightly, then looked up with his kind eyes gleaming, the apples of his cheeks flushed, his amber-coloured hair now slightly tousled. I just looked at him and smiled, waving goodbye, knowing I would never encounter this ethereal character again.
     My brother looked down at me and asked "what just happened..." and I looked back up at him and said "I'm not very sure... But it was nice". 
     To this day, I can't entirely explain this event. Normally, I wouldn't tolerate holding anyone's hand on a subway. I wouldn't tolerate someone looking deeply into my eyes, searching my soul like that; I would avert my eyes and try to avoid that person, awkwardly. And, if anyone tries that type of thing, I would normally say something to them.
     This entire encounter, not one word was shared between the strange boy and myself. Maybe that's what made it okay. Maybe that's what made it beautiful.
     I can't explain my connection with this strange boy, either. It certainly wasn't one of attraction; I had no notion of flirting with him, and neither did he with me. There was no real intent even, for friendship... No words were spoken, nothing about this experience was made complex by the use of the human language. There was no need involved, either. He didn't want money, he didn't want to hit on me, he didn't have any ulterior motives. And neither did I.
     In those moments, while we silently held hands and enjoyed the subway ride together, it's as though we transcended the social norms of humanity. Neither of us wanted or needed anything from the other. We simply and silently formed trust between us, and lived that moment in the most beautiful and comfortable silence I have ever experienced with a stranger. We enjoyed simple human companionship, perhaps as it's meant to be, and then parted ways, with no sadness, no regrets, only a beautiful and lovely memory of the simple and short time we spent together, enjoying our silent, simple companionship.

     This all sounds so odd, but truly, this is one memory that I will cherish forever. This is the standout memory I have with regards to the most silently salient experience with a stranger. And I will treasure it always.

     To my strange-boy with the straw coloured hair: if you're out there, I hope you're doing well. I hope your life is as beautiful as your soul is. And may you never stop giving people like me hope in the human race.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Arachnaphobia vs. Paranoia.

     What do most people think when they see a large spider while they're in the shower? Probably something along the lines of "OH MY GOSH KILL IT KILL IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Or, maybe they're a screamer, creating a scene rivaled only by that infamous one in "Psycho". Perhaps they just get down to business, and silently kill the thing in a rush of adrenaline-fueled terror. They could just throw water on it in hopes that a sudden deluge will cause the monster to reel in its foul appendages, curl into a ball of horrid arachno-meat, and simply wash down the drain.

     What do I think when I see a huge spider in the shower?
"I hope that's not one of those government-run arachno-cams..."

    Now you must be saying to yourself, "Chibi! I thought you were a semi-normal, reasonable person! Why on earth would you entertain that crazy notion that the government is watching everyone with cameras everywhere, especially with cameras hidden in the form of spiders?!" And the answer to that is that I don't totally believe the whole government-big-brother conspiracy theory. Not totally. Now, where would I get a silly notion such as the one mentioned above? I'll tell you.

     One time, on the subway (all crazy stories start like this, on the subway. That's how you know it'll be crazy, because it was on the subway.), I was sitting next to this homeless guy. That's fine, that kind of thing doesn't bother me. The guy then turns to me, though, and of course that's when things got interesting. He asked me what I thought of spiders. I told him ordinarily I'm not too concerned with them. To which he responded, quite enthusiastically, "But spiders are the things to watch out for! You can't take them too lightly!" At this point I assume he's an arachnophobe, and will warn me on the dangers of stepping on poisonous spiders and the like, and assumed he'd tell me how all humans swallow at least 8 spiders while sleeping in the course of a year. I told him "It's alright, I don't mind the non-poisonous ones, and I'm careful with the dangerous ones". His eyes widened, apparently incredulous to my naivety regarding the issue at hand.  He proceeds with "It's not poison-non-poison that you have to worry about! IT'S THE CAMERAS!!" Now whenever a transient-type mentions cameras, you can brace yourself for a deluge of paranoid talk about the government, occasionally spiced with tinges of racism. But this was a different twist; spiders? Really? Not knowing how to proceed, I just said "oh yeah... the cameras...", sort of hoping this would pacify him for a while. No dice. He piped up again, "YES THE CAMERAS! The government created the idea of spiders as a cover-up for their hidden camera program. ::it should be noted that here he told me the exact name of the program; however, I cannot recall it, as it was both a lengthy and ridiculous name::. All these years, the government's been telling us in schools that spiders are 8-legged creatures that eat pests, they help gardeners, yada yada yada. WELL THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS SPIDERS!!! The government only wants you to THINK there are so they can plant cameras in robo-arachnids everywhere to monitor the civillians!" ...This went on for quite some time in an alarming amount of detail. At first, I was incredibly amused as to this man's seemingly inane ramblings. But as his spiel progressed, I became more and more intrigued. The amount of thought and detail this guy put into his theory was fascinating, and, I found myself allowing my thoughts to entertain these crazy ideas for a while. If you sort of shut off part of your brain, it all sort of makes sense, it all seems entirely plausible. For a moment, I allowed myself to believe in this idea that there are, in fact, no spiders, just millions of little government-run robo-arachnids with little cameras attached, monitoring civilian life. Why they would want to watch civilians everywhere as they shower is beyond me; this is America, there are many people that you would NOT want to see in the showers. But what if...

Eventually, my stop arrived (last stop of the whole subway ride, as luck would have it). I said good-bye and disembarked from my delusional friend. I walked through Union Station, decided to have a drink and sit in those lovely, ancient chairs. As I slumped down into the chair, enjoying my complimentary ice-water, I looked to the chair next to me. In the bottom corner, right near the floor, one of those tiny little red "spiders" was weaving a web between chair and floor. I looked at it, watched it silently for a while as it spun it's "web" (most likely a surveillance network of tiny wires transmitting satellite signals, possibly doubling as a charging station. These robo-arachnids don't have unlimited energy, and they're not fueled on flies like the gov't would lead you to believe, you see.) The crazy-talk that I had just listened to for almost an hour on the train rolled around in my head as I watched the little thing, tottering around on the web it was making. I sipped my ice water, and decided to head out. As I walked out of Union Station, I laughed to myself at the absolutely complex insanity that the man had led himself to believe; I marveled at his misled genius. I dismissed what he said as just that, insanity.

But I suppose you could say that there would always be remnants of the cobwebs of the theories in my mind... Because every time I encounter a spider now, my immediate thought is "Oh gosh I hope that's not the government...".  Right after that thought leaves my mind, I laugh to myself, recalling the ridiculous incident on the subway, and find myself amused that I would fall into that paranoia, even for a second. I immediately kill the spider, though. Half because I don't want those things running around my house, robotic or carbon-based may they be. The other half is because if that guy was right, about the robo-arachnids, I don't want the government robo-spiders roaming my house and watching me shower.

Mostly, though, I kill them because whatever they are, they certainly don't belong in the shower.


Note: The above stories are completely true, I have not exaggerated the content, merely paraphrased where necessary due to failing memory. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Smooth Operator.

     Last night, I spent the night at the hospital. I got 1.5 hours of sleep. I left the hospital at 6:30am. I threw on the clothes I had brought, put my hair up, put my shoes on, and headed out in somewhat of a zombie-like state.

     Nothing's too interesting about all that. The interesting part is when I got out of the elevator.

     I boarded the elevator on the 7th floor, and descended to the ground floor. Now, at 6:30am, all the doctors and nurses are rushing in for shift change. They enter the hospital in hordes, swarms, and droves. Hurrying along in their burgundy scrubs, all climbing down stairs, all rushing.

     Ground floor arrived. I was carrying many bags, and, as I mentioned before, was still practically half-asleep. The elevator doors opened. I stepped out into the lobby, and ran smack into this adorable, blonde- haired blue-eyed nurse. He dropped his stack of papers, which scattered onto the floor close by. I absentmindedly apologized, he did too; we proceeded to pick up the papers. That's when our eyes met.

     He looked at me, seemingly bewildered and confused. He smiled at me, I felt my cheeks redden. As I looked into his eyes, I said something that no guy wants to hear. Ever.

     "You remind me of my brother". Bewilderment and confusion levels skyrocketed. A look of disappointment dawned on his face. He thanked me, with a tone of confusion behind his husky voice. I told him he was welcome. By this time, we had finished cleaning up the papers. I handed him the stack I had collected, bid him have a good day, and he said "take care of yourself..." and boarded the elevator.

     As I walked outside, I couldn't help but laugh at myself for what I said, and his reaction. What made me laugh even harder was what would have been my other response to him.

     "You look just like that German guy in that one movie about the Nazis!"

Not sure which would have been worse, but I'm sure neither are what he wanted to hear.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rights and "Politcal Correctness"

LGBQT rights.

Animal rights.

Civil rights.

Women's rights. 

These are just 4 groups of MANY in our country alone that are "fighting for their rights". We all know language that pertains to the three groups mentioned above, some language that is quite unsavory and "politically incorrect", and appropriate and approved terminology regarding these individuals/groups of people. Animals don't really care what you call them, but apparently there are people that stick up for them and their inherent "rights" as well. (I heard something about the whales at SeaWorld having a lawsuit or something? Odd.) Any way you slice it, these groups have been quite prominent in the media and news coverage over the past few years, trying to gain the respect and rights they feel they, as human beings, deserve. Now I'm not here to take sides on these issues, my purpose here is to highlight the terminology that is NOT APPROPRIATE to these groups. We all know the "bad words" that aren't okay to say regarding them. We all get that, MOST of us respect that and don't use offensive language that would offend anyone, and most of us wish no harm to these parties. I don't see anyone campaigning out there to PROTECT animal abuse, for instance.

No, these groups most definitely get a lot of attention in the media coverage. There is no shortage of articles regarding these issues, and if someone dare say one of the forbidden and offensive terms, by golly you're gonna hear about it! (and you should; that sort of behavior is not acceptable for anyone). But what about other groups? Sure, we have LGBTQ rights and civil rights and pro-choice/pro-life rights debates, and people are even fighting for animal rights now. But what about the groups that get under the radar, so to speak? Is there terminology still being used today that is strongly offensive to some people, but not being reprimanded and corrected?

Answer: heck yes there is.

Firstly, I'll address one group that is recently getting more notice and more respect, and is facing more reforms and revolutionary new ideas. You hear about it every so often, but definitely not as often as you'd even hear about animal rights. The group I'm referring to is the Special Needs community. These kids and adults don't always have a voice for themselves, so for many years, they have been treated as second class citizens. The individuals that were literally institutionalized were often times subjected to cruel experiments and trials, and were quite literally tested and used as guinea pigs in the early fields of modern day scientific brain research. (circa 1930's) Morally back then, people regarded them as "vegetables", and somehow justified treating them even worse than animals in "the name of science". I'm quite certain that we're all aware today that these individuals are not, in fact, "vegetables", but can be valuable and contributing members to society. Today more than ever, there are special programs and educational options for people with disabilities, so that they, too, can receive a normal and fulfilling education and learn to function socially, academically, and emotionally as best as they can.
While great strides have been made in the field itself, awareness of these individuals and giving them the "rights" that so many other groups fight for is not quite to my satisfaction. Once in a great while, you hear of some event for Autism Awareness. Which is great, don't get me wrong. What disturbs me is that for every Autism Awareness ad, about 15 of those horrid, depression-inducing Sarah McLachlan animal abuse videos air, sending viewers on a frenzied scramble to find the dang remote to change the channel to escape the torturously sad pictures of abused animals on screen. Anyways, I digress. Another thing that bothers me regarding this "subculture", or however you want to refer to it, is that the terminology is still largely unchanged. For people involved in the field itself, or with relatives that have various disabilities, or for individuals with disabilities themselves, hearing such obscene terminology makes us all cringe.
For example, the biggest offender: the "R" word. To us, the word "retarded" is just as appalling and wretched and absolutely EVIL as the "N" word to the civil rights movement, and the "F" word to the LGBQT movement. THIS NEEDS TO BE STOPPED. It is not okay to call ANYONE "retarded", whether they have learning disabilities or not. Let me repeat: THIS TERM IS EXTREMELY OFFENSIVE. DO NOT USE IT. It hurts my very core when I hear kids say this to each other, or if someone describes something as being "so retarded". A while back, people made a huge deal about the offensive phrase "that's so gay" (synonymous with "that's so stupid"), and the problem was largely contained. They ran ads on the TV about the saying, urging kids to be mature and not say the offending phrase. And guess what? I have not heard that phrase NEARLY as much these days as I did a year or so ago. (I spend a lot of time around kids/high school students, so I sort of know what goes on around them). I really wish someone would put an end to the R-word epidemic, as it truly is so hurtful to the individuals with disabilities and their families, and anyone that works with these individuals to hear that awful phrase. I beseech you, if you find yourself using the phrase, make a concerted effort to put an end to it. It's a bad habit, and even though you may not realize it, it's incredibly offensive.
Other terms to avoid? Mongoloid (referring to individuals with Downs' syndrome), Sevant (referring to "genius" individuals at high end of the Autism Spectrum), handicapped (this is a golf term, not a term to describe people. People have DISABILITIES, not handicaps. unless they're playing golf :) ) wheelchair-bound (instead use "person that uses a wheelchair" or something similar), autistic kid (this is another big one, it is a CHILD WITH AUTISM. Not an autistic kid), mentally retarded (went over this before, but correct way to say it is "person with mental disabilities"), a SPED/ED kid or class (It is not a SPED/ED kid, it's a kid that receives special education), etc. This is called using "person-first" terminology, meaning that the person is NOT EVER presented as a victim, but instead presented as a human being WITH a disability. It'd be the equivalent stupidity of calling someone a "glasses man" because he's wearing glasses. It's just not something you do in the regular community, and it's not something we should do with the individuals in the special needs community. There are many many more terms that need to be changed out, and slowly things are progressing, but I just wanted to try and raise a little bit of awareness to my friends and family members out there that may be unaware of this "group of people not receiving equal rights", unlike many of the more outspoken groups.

Another group near and dear to my heart, you've heard me rant about it before, but ADOPTION. Now I speak of this on a much, much lighter note, although there are still some serious concerns about this as well. Orphans. Where do people get the idea that all of us are orphans? Ignorance, the media, who knows for sure. Charles Dickens had a huge part in this, I imagine. BUT nevertheless, if you hear that somebody was ADOPTED, DO NOT ASSUME that a.) they are an orphan,  b.) that they came from an orphanage in a distant country c.) that they know, or even care about, their biological families, d.) that they were adopted when they were 6 years old out of some orphanage e.) that they secretly resent their "legal" families and want to run away back to their biological parents and/or their original non-existent orphanage.
You have no idea how many times I've had conversations about ALL of the aforementioned assumptions with naive people. And that's fine, I don't expect everyone to understand what normal adoption looks like. It's just always sort of odd to me when people either imply or ask me explicitly if I know my "real" parents (don't ever call bio parents "real" parents; our "real" parents are our legal parents. End of story.) or want to go find them, or if people ask me if I'm an orphan, or any number of the cliche questions people ask. Curiosity is curiosity, but it always astounds me when a seemingly sensible person asks such absurd questions like "what chores did you have to do in the orphanage?" etc.
Terminology for this group isn't as blatantly offensive as with the other group, but obviously, we don't like to be called "orphans", because usually, we aren't. Oh yeah, the term "forever family" really bugs me, too... You've all seen those Sarah McLachlan commercials for animal abuse that I mentioned before, the really depressing ones. The ones where they show pictures of brutally maimed and abused animals with the words "I just want a forever family/home". Okay. That language is appropriate for animals. They're animals. People? No. That creeps me out. That's Sarah McLachlan's gig, that "forever family" thing. We can't apply that to people now; it's just creepy. A child in foster care is in need of permanent residence. Not a "forever family". The child in foster care is not a puppy, or a kitten, or a cabbage patch kid. It's a human child. The term "forever family" sentimentalizes the whole issue, and injects unnecessary emotion into the process. You go to the pound and find a dog to "adopt" into your forever family. Do you go to a foster care clinic (or maybe in some people's terms, an "orphanage") and go through rows of kids, deciding which one to adopt into your "forever family"? Chances are no, you don't. Hopefully you think that's as creepy as I do. You don't "pick" a kid. You adopt them. Into your permanent residence.
I think i've gone on about that quite enough now haha... But seriously, folks. We're not orphans. We're not all related. We don't want "forever families". We're human beings, usually not orphaned, most of us have never set foot in an orphanage. We don't ask "please ma'am, i want some more" in british accents (well, some of us do within our own group as a joke. But that's an insiders only thing, y'hear me? haha). Point is, we're all just normal kids living normal lives with our "real" families. End of story. :)
"'forever family' is my gig, yo. Find another catchphrase, you street urchins!" 

::disclaimer:: sarah mclachlan does not claim that "forever family" is her gig, nor does she refer to adopted children as street urchins.::


Monday, August 27, 2012

What I Learned the First Day of School

1.) The level of annoyingness of Freshman behavior increases exponentially with every year spent at school.

2.) I prefer a class that is intense intellectually-wise with a lot of work as opposed to a moronic waste-of-time class that's simple, but absolutely asinine.

3.) Other people have long days, too. I went to McDonald's after school (10PM) and the guy in the drive through welcomed me to Burger King. After realizing what he had done, I asked him if he had just transferred to McD's from Burger King. He said no, he has, in fact, never worked a day at Burger King in his life, and it's just been "one of those days", to which I reassured him and told him he's definitely not alone.

4.) The recorder, as an instrument, is incredibly annoying. I don't care what your level of "skill" is, "Hot Cross Buns" on a recorder can never sound good.

5.) Some people don't know who David Bowie is. Also, some people think that Jareth from "Labyrinth" is the same person as Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. A guy tried to make small talk with me about my shirt, featuring the below image of Bowie, saying "Oh, you must really like Jack Sparrow!" to which I was obviously confused. He then indicated the image on my shirt, to which I explained that I was not a fan of Johnny Depp, however, David Bowie captures my fancy.

Faith in humanity: Destroyed
5.) Not everything always sucks. Woke up, frantically attempted to get my act together before school. Tried to print a temporary parking permit (my legit one hadn't arrived via post yet), wasn't able to, so I was going to have to purchase a day pass, which is $6 or so. That was a drag. Spent 1 hour, not exaggerating, on the phone with the financial dept at school. Ran out of time, had to hang up and leave for class, having wasted one hour. As I was walking out to my car to leave for school, mailman pulled up, gave me the mail. Top of the stack? My parking pass. Later in the day, checked my email, and got a random email from the financial dept; the issue had resolved itself, without me ever having actually spoken to a human being about it. Randomly.

6.) God is good. (see above)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Encounters with Target Pharmacy

So last week, i got a call from Target Pharmacy, saying my rx was ready. Cool, I have no time to get it cuz of summer school. I'll just get it on saturday.

Saturday rolls around, I was out doing errands and figured I'd go to Target Pharmacy and get my rx. I go there, get up to the counter, tell them my name and date of birth, and the pharmacist says "there are no rxs here for you. Uhhhh okey... I just figure they must have made a mistake with the previous call and I go home.

I'm home now, making dinner for myself. Dad says Target Pharmacy called me.

So it's about 4:30pm, I'm stirring a pot of food, and I call Target Pharmacy again. Tell the lady I got a call from them, blah blah blah. She then says "oh hi! yeah, you were just in here, and we told you that we didn't have a rx for you. Well, as it turns out, we DO have your rx, it was just on the back shelf because we're getting rid of it today. Did you still want it?" "ummmm yeah..." "oh, great. Well we need you to come get it today, otherwise we're gonna throw it out. We close at 5." "Uhhhhh I'll be right over..."

Target Pharmacy: "Let's play a game!"

So the time is now 4:35pm. I've got like, 25 minutes to go back to Target and get my rx before they so sadistically throw it away and make me reorder it and all that rigamarole again. I abandon the food I was cooking on the stove, get back in my car, and drive back to Target, where I have to battle for parking all over again (it's saturday, which apparently is Christmas at Target.) I finally park way out in the boondocks, get out of the car, and walk briskly back to the pharmacy, where the pharmacist grins sheepishly and says "sorry about that..." and gives me my rx. Thanks, Scumbag Target Pharmacy. Thanks so much.

Problem, Chibi?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Thing Worth Mentioning

     It was the day after my brother's heart transplant surgery. Up until this point, I had been calm, collected, uplifting and encouraging to those around me who needed it, and kept it together remarkable well considering the fact that my beloved brother, almost a son to me, was going through unspeakable traumas and procedures and having a staring match with death, practically. Yes, up until that day, i had been just fine and dandy. I knew I was in shock; i wasn't so naive to think i could deal with all that so well. My brother's heart was practically useless, we were looking at having to wait months to get a transplant, maybe even longer, and the prospects were grim that he could even make it until then.
BUT miracle of miracles, only 4 days after being put on the transplant registry, my brother received a heart. I was thrilled when i got that call, saying he was having surgery that night to get his new heart. I'm not sure of a moment in time when i have felt happier and relieved than i did at that moment when i received that call. Complete joy and happiness, no complaints, no fear, no worry.
       I spent a large portion of the next day after his surgery sobbing in a crumpled mess in the backseat of my car.
       The procedure had gone perfectly well, his new heart was beating like a champ! my parents and i wanted to be there when they "woke him up", took him off his sedatives. So the three of us arrive, and don surgical masks and gloves (after sanitizing hands more than once) and brush past the curtain to see him. There he was. There. He. Was. Tubes protruding everywhere, bandages, monitors, PIC lines, you name it, he had it. He was "sleeping" under the sedative still, so he was incoherent. Looking at him, lying there, so huge, so pallid, so weak, so entangled in all this medical tubing draining gastric fluids or blood, or pumping medicines into his veins, and then there was his breathing tube. The savages left the breathing tube in while they tried to wake him up! imagine the terror that would ensue upon waking up with a pipe down your throat.
       I gazed upon this sight, taken aback by it all, really. Could this be the same little boy i used to run around with at the park when we were kids? Could it be the happy little child, always quick to smile and be of good cheer? i slowly walked over, arms shaking, and held his hand. Tubes that were draining blood were right at my feet. I shuddered and tried not to look. After he came-to a little bit and stopped flailing around trying to get the tube outta his throat, he calmed down, lay back down, and held my hand. I looked at his face. His gentle eyelashes were matted together with his wet tears... A single tear rolled down his cheek, and I knew he was in misery. Arm shaking, i stroked his forehead, told him things will be alright, and that i would return, and i loved him, and left to the lobby.
      Walking through the lobby, i could feel the tears streaming down my own face. I tried to walk quickly to my car so nobody would notice or stop me, but the tears just kept coming. To see him like that, my precious little angel from Heaven, in that state, it was too much for me.

                          I BROKE

All the confidence and calmness went out the window. Even though i knew he was in no real danger anymore, to see him suffer like that is what killed me. and so i lost it. I got to my car, crawled in the back seat, and i lost it. Why couldn't it have been me. It should be me on that hospital bed recovering from surgery. Why did this happen to begin with. I also have PTSD from medical traumas, so hospitals terrify me something fierce. i was also having flashbacks pretty badly that day, and had nightmares the previous night. It all became too much for me to bear, so i just cried and cried in my car. Crying out to God, beseeching Him to intervene and give brian the comfort that only God gives, to give my parents the strength they needed, to help me get over my own idiotic problems so i could better help my own brother. I thanked God, too, for all that He had done for my brother and family, and for all the opportunities that had been provided to share His glory. But i cried and prayed for a long time, and generally felt worse than i had felt in a long time. Time dragged on, eventually tears subsided and my eyes shut and fell victim to exhaustion. I slept for a while. Never very peaceful sleep, but when exhaustion sets in, you'll sleep anywhere.
     2-3 hours apparently pass. I'm still sleeping. All of a sudden, I get a knock on the window. Mind you, I'm in a parking structure in East LA. My first thoughts are "OMG it's the cops!" or even worse "Oh man i'ma get SHOT!!!" slowly and sleepily i looked out the window, only to behold the face of an angel.

                                                                    ::knock knock::

Sleepily i brushed my disheveled hair out of my face and slowly opened the door. In shock, all i could stupidly say was "what are you doing here?" and she replied with "i came here to give you an apple pop..." at which point tears welled back up in my eyes. She handed me the beloved caramel apple pop and sat in the back seat with me, and we talked for a long time. She put up with my nonsensical complaining and fears, and just listened, cried, and prayed with me. I never asked her to come down there that day. She showed up at perfect timing. Just when i was at my very lowest point, she is there, ready and willing to love and support me. I was overwhelmed with gratefulness that she is my friend. To be able to talk to someone openly, to vent, even, was such a relief to me. To feel that someone cared for ME was a huge relief to me. My parents were too stressed out with everything with my bro, it would have been tacky if i had gone to them with my problems. And i typically don't like talking about my problems to anyone else for fear of burdening them. But no, Sarah approached ME to make sure I was alright. And i was able to speak freely with her, listen to her input, take her advice, and get a grip again.

     I'm back on track again now. I have no fears, no worries regarding my brother's condition. hospitals still scare the bejeezuz outta me. it still hurts my back a lot to drive all the way down to USC and back every few days. and i'm still keeping up with school to the best of my abilities. but i'm back on track, and not letting it all stress me out anymore. I try and visit bri when i can, providing of course that i have no major school assignments due or my back isn't too terrible, i go and see him in his room. It still hurts me a lot to see him like that, in so much pain, so miserable... but God is good, and has restored control in my life again, and i think i can manage now. Also, God is good to bless me with such amazing friends as Sarah, who show up at literally JUST the right time. I will never forget that day, when an angel bearing a caramel apple pop showed up and made my life bearable again. <3

Monday, April 23, 2012



            Spiderman got bit by a spider. It made him real sick. You got real sick, too. But spiderman got real cool powers after he finished being sick. Spiderman gave hope to a lot of people, just like you. Everyone thinks you’re awesome (I know I always tell you this anyways) and everyone loves you. We all want you to get better so you can do cool stuff. (maybe once you’re healed you can climb walls or something, that’d be cool.)
 You’re super cool like General Grievous from Star Wars. General Grievous also had a weak heart, but he was still awesome. (except he was bad. Don’t be bad.) General Grievous was a fighter, just like you. He never gave up, he just kept on fighting. That’s what I want you to do, just like you already are. Never ever give up!           

 Darth Vader is famous for having breathing troubles. You’ve got asthma. Darth Vader never let that stop him from being the galaxy’s coolest villain ever. The force is strong in you, my boy. Do or do not, there is no try. You must get better. The Galaxy needs you.

 Cyborg is part human, part robot. You’ve got a bunch of screws and stuff in your knee. That’s pretty cool. You’ve got so much hardware in ya, you’re like a walking home depot. But that’s pretty cool, you’ve got some pretty cool battle scars to show for it. Cyborg uses his powers for good, and doesn’t complain about his robo-parts, just like you don’t. you’ve got that crazy knee, but it doesn’t bother you. It just makes you cooler.

            Last but not least, Iron Man. Iron Man gets all the ladies (just like you!) AND he had to get a new heart (again, just like you!) Iron Man protects himself with his awesome suit, kind of like how you protect yourself with the armor of God. The difference between you and Iron Man, though, is that Iron Man is arrogant and selfish, but you’re the sweetest and most selfless person on the planet. You are so sweet and loving, even when you’re going through rough times, you still manage a smile, you still crack jokes, you still care about other people. And that’s why you’re better than Iron Man.

         Brian, you’re better than all those superheroes combined. You are so brave and courageous, you just keep on truckin’ through all of this without complaining. I am so proud of you, you have no idea. I always call you the baby, but you’re more of a man than anyone I know. You’re the kindest, sweetest, bravest, most courageous guy out there, and I’m proud of you for not losing hope through all of this. I know it’s scary sometimes, but please always know that God is there for you, to comfort you and support you. Stay strong and remember what Jesus went through on the cross for you; He died and suffered for YOU, my dear. He knows everything you’re going through, He’s always in control. Don’t lose sight of that. I love you so so very much, please always know it. I will ALWAYS be there for you, no matter what! You’re my beloved bribri babycakes, and you always will be. But you’re also my hero, and I want you to know that, too. You inspire me to be strong, even when it’s scary. I will always love you to the moon and back! You’re my precious angel from Heaven.

Love Always,
            ~your sidekick, Kristin

Monday, April 9, 2012

SPRING BREAK 2012!!!!!!!!!!1!11!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111!!!!!!!

Spring Break. Those two monosyllabic words inspire visions of crazy teens being reckless, living life to the fullest, getting drunk, playing beach volleyball in skimpy clothes, wildly dancing at raves or bonfires. Well, my spring break was pretty whack this year, if i do say so myself.

"PARTY AT MY PLACE!!!1!!1!111!" -parents were out of town. best friend and boyfriend were also out of town. Spent half the week at my house with just my bro.

"OH DUDE I GOT SO DRUNK!!1!1!!!!11!!!!" -had a glass of moscato. it was sub-par, at best.

"OH MAN I TOOK SO MANY DRUGS!!!!!1!!1!!!1!!1111!" -i took 4 advil one day cuz i had a killer headache.

"PARTY AT THE BEACH!!!!!!1111!!!!!!!!" -i actually did go to the beach. i fell asleep on the sand and forgot to tell my bro to wear sunscreen, so he got a killer burn on his legs.

"DANCE PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!1!!!!!!" -listened to the Beatles and sort of danced around. sort of.

"DUDE THAT WAS SO SICKK!!!1!1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" -brian got pneumonia. he also got sick and i ended up cleaning vomit off the bathroom floor.

"I TOTALLY HOOKED UP WITH THAT ONE GUY!!!!!1!!!!!!!!!11!!!" -a hobo came to my door and asked me to give him cash or a check. I had neither so i turned him away.

"PARTY AT THE HOTEL!!!!!!!!!!!11!!!!!!!!!!1!" -spent saturday of spring break in ER with bro and family due to pneumonia.

"BREAK ALL THE RULES!!!!!!!!!!1!!!1!" -brian and i stayed up until 4am watching "scary" movies one night.

"DUDE I CAN'T EVEN REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!" -i literally forgot because i did nothing worth remembering.

"REMEMBER WHEN THAT ONE GUY GOT SO JACKED UP?!11?/!1/???" -my dad and i were cutting down a tree in the backyard and he fell out of the tree and hurt his back.

"DUDE THINGS GOT OUT OF CONTROL!!1!!!" -the dog got out one time. it took me like, ten minutes to get him back.

"I TOTALLY DIDN'T DO ANY WORK OVER THE BREAK, MAN!!!!!!!!1!!!1!!!!" -it's true, neither did i.

my spring break wasn't super epic or crazy. but it was still pretty great (aside from brian getting pneumonia, of course) and i had a lot of opportunities to just get away and meditate for a while. it was nice and peaceful, for the most part, and Good Friday and Easter were great as always.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Teacher's Pet

We've all known them. We've all hated on them.

Teacher's pets.

Those sniveling kids that have all the answers, know all the random facts, have the teacher's address memorized. (hopefully not...) Those kids that just THRIVE off the attention and approval of the teacher.

I'm not one of those kids. Never have been, never will be. I'll do my best in class, but I don't really care what the professor thinks of me as a human being, one way or the other. I typically sit towards the back and keep to myself, seldom answering questions, never asking them, and just trying to mind my own business.

For some reason, some teachers choose me. I'm not sure why, maybe they see some hidden potential in me, maybe they see me as a younger version of themselves, heck, maybe they do it just because they know I hate the attention. But sometimes, inadvertently, I am the teacher's pet.

This is the case for my Monday night class this semester.
Before I had any real contact with her, she would stare into my eyes during lecture. Not just a casual glance sort of look, I mean really looking into and searching the depths of my soul sort of a look. She reminds me a bit of myself if ever I get older like her. Brown hair, grey eyes, sort of quirky and quiet, quietly analyzing type of a person. Things escalated on the level of teacher's pet when she finally spoke to me directly outside of class. It all started back a few weeks, when I wore a Totoro shirt to class. The prof gently grabbed my arm, stared at my shirt for a second or so, and asked me "You like Totoro?" Completely shocked that she would even have half an idea what or who Totoro even was, I managed a "yes... You know it?" to which she launched off into a long story about her ex husband, and how he had worked for an animation company, and how they had both loved and adored everything Miyazaki has ever done. Even more shocked, I then told her about my recent experience of seeing some Miyazaki movies on the big-screen, to which she expressed both approval and jealousy. I politely invited her to the final showing of "Castle in the Sky" that would be showing at the end of the month and took my seat.
Ever since then, she's asked me my opinions during class, always compliments me on my work, writes really nice things on my papers, etc. She still smiles at me and looks into my soul while teaching, too.

Well, tonight, things got real out of hand. At the beginning of class, she came up to me and asked if I was alright. Apparently i looked kind of... rough around the edges or something. I told her I hadn't gotten much sleep over the weekend, hadn't been feeling well so i hadn't eaten in a long time, etc. She expressed her sympathy, then began class. In class, she assigned us an exercise to write a poem. Most of my classmates were terrified and complaining at the prospect of having to write a poem. Obviously, as you may have figured out by now, I don't really mind writing all that much. So i set about writing a short poem. I finished far before the rest of the class. The prof was going around, silently reading everyone's poems... She read mine, and gave me high praises on it. I thanked her quietly, getting kind of red in the face for the recognition. Meanwhile, a few of the girls across from me were talking about their poems and how clever they were, etc. They were very pleased with themselves, to say the least. Well, the prof went over there and read over their poems, too. Just gave them a simple "very nice" without really meaning it. Well, horror of horrors, we finish the activity and she utters the most terrifying of phrases... "Who would like to read their poem to the class?" Silence. Not even the oh-so-confident teacher's pet wannabes volunteered. Then, the teacher said something even scarier than she had said before. "Well, I really loved Kristin's poem. It was one of, if not, my favorites that i read. It really speaks to me. Kristin, will you please read your poem to the class?" Everyone turned and stared at me... Hesitantly, I said I would. I read the poem to the class, feeling my face become redder and redder. I finished the poem, and the professor stood up and applauded me. The class hesitantly followed. I could feel the hatred of those girls burning through their eyes... Without even trying, I had become both the teacher's pet AND made enemies of half of my classmates. I sunk down into my chair and tried to appear uninterested in both the accolades of my professor and the hateful whispers and glares from my classmates.

Time went on, my cheeks faded back to a normal color again, i tried to forget about the poetry incident. At 8:45pm, the prof made an announcement. "It has come to my attention that some of you have been working very hard on your annotated bibliographies, and a few of you are outright exhausted. So I'm letting you all leave an hour early tonight." As she said all this, she was looking at me the entire time. Again i felt my malnourished, zombie-state face reddening. The class looked around, mildly confused but ecstatic at the prospect of leaving early.  We all turned in our poems that we had written, and left. I thanked my professor for letting us out early, and she smiled and said "you go get some rest now. Take care!" and i went on my way.

I never asked for this. I never tried for it. But it's happening. And if we can get out of class early because of it, I think I can manage, and hopefully my classmates won't judge so harshly. :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Identity Crisis

     I was raised irish.
For the first 14 or so years of my life, I assumed I was Irish. I always knew I was adopted, but it never occurred to me that I would be of a different ethnic background than my family. Mom's dad was from Ireland, so her family is very very Irish-ly oriented. St. Patrick's day is second in glory only to Christmas and Easter for us Mulligan-Thompsons. When I was young, I was an Irish dancer (I know, laugh it up haha). I always just figured I was Irish, and I was darn proud of it.

Until one fateful trip to the post-office.

I was about 13-14 years old at that time. I was in the car with my dad; we were going to the post-office. I remember telling him how much I loved being Irish. Then, for reasons unbeknownst to me, even to this day, he told me "but you're not Irish."

Not Irish? What? Of course I was Irish... Everything about me was Irish. There was no other culture (except possibly the French) that I loved more than Irish. Not Irish? This man I called father must have been delusional.

I asked him "what do you mean I'm not Irish?" and he told me "You're French. And Portuguese."


The emotions that ensued from that were of utmost dismay and disappointment, but also of joy. (I was French! a dream come true.) But not Irish? I said to him "No part of me is irish?" and he said "No, you're French-Portuguese. Didn't you already know this?"

Obviously not, judging by the tears streaming down my cheeks at that point. Up until then, I felt like everything I was, everything I did, was a lie; a fake. All those years I had been a dancer I should have been taking French lessons? I should have been taking ceramics instead of traveling to competitions?

My world had been shaken. It took a long time to get over the shock of it all. I didn't want to be stupid Portuguese! I wanted to be Irish! I was mad and confused. I didn't always love being Portuguese. In the beginning, I hated it.

Obviously, as the title of this blog would imply, I now thoroughly embrace being Portuguese (and French), but I realized that I'm still Irish. Even more than being legally Irish, being raised in the Irish culture does something to you. I'm proud to have been raised in that culture, I'm proud that my family is Irish, and mostly I'm proud of my grandfather, who immigrated to America from Ireland in his twenties.

Sadly, I lost my grandfather in 1995, when I was just 5 years old. I really wish he was still here so he could tell us the stories of the old country. I wish he had been there to see me dance. I wish he could see me and my brother grow up. I often spend time at the cemetery, at the grave site. I try to keep the weeds off it, sometimes on special days i bring flowers. I didn't know him too well, but I love hearing the stories of him from my family.

I'll always be Irish in my heart, and I'm thankful for all aspects of my heritage.

May you have warm words on a cold evening,
a full moon on a dark night,
and the road downhill all the way to your door.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Activity Report

12:13pm : woke up. proceeded to message Dixie on IM for a while before getting out of bed and actually going to physically talk to her.

1:00pm : drove to school to get friend to drive to Sylmar. While waiting for said friend, sat alone on a bench. Russian girl sat in an awkward proximity to me on said bench, and proceeded to make a call. Overhear Russian girl making appointments, think nothing of it. Russian girl starts talking about rates, alcohol/drug use, and other unsavory things. Conclude that Russian girl is prostitute. Continue waiting for friend, Russian girl continues talking on phone about disgusting and unmentionable things.

1:15pm: girl walks past me, staring at me coldly. I smile at girl, girl disregards gesture of friendliness and scowls harder. Girl runs into hedge. I laugh in amusement and ask if she is alright. She says nothing, scowls, and walks away.

1:30pm: russian girl is off the phone now, sitting awkwardly next to me. Friend arrives. walk to friend's car with friend and drive to Sylmar.

2:10pm : arrive at Sylmar. go into classroom and set up. welcome parents/children with a smile but receive no response (as per usual). Hand out juice and sandwiches.

2:30pm: play Loteria game with families. I win. the prize was a glass piggy bank. having no need for this, i give it to small child in closest proximity to me.

2:40pm: read children's book out loud. accidentally read spanish word in english accent. children all laugh at me. some parents scold their children for it. I apologize and explain that my spanish is not too good.

3:30pm: class over. children/parents leave. small girl runs up and randomly hugs me for a while. sign the log, and proceed to leave with friend.

4:00pm: arrive at CSUN again. get in my car and drive to Chili's to meet other friend.

4:10pm: arrive at chili's, have awkward confrontation with waitress, requesting to just wait for my friend. Waitress demands i go sit at table. I sit at table, somewhat bewildered.

4:15: friend arrives. Randomly, 2 other friends arrive as well. We hug each other, and proceed to sit at our own tables. Coincidences are strange. I tell my friend that Life has not met its quota for giving me weird situations today. Friend laughs and agrees. Proceed to tell friend about events beginning at 12:13pm through 4:10pm. Waitress arrives and takes our order.

4:30pm: food arrives. amusingly, my friend is served a bowl of cheese. We eat our food and talk about boys and school and jabba the hutt professors.

5:00pm : finish eating. wait around forever until waitress brings check+refills. continue joking around about random things.

5:30pm: waitress at last brings check. takes a long time to process our money.

5:45pm: we leave restaurant. bad things happen, so we decide to get ice cream. We decide to meet at northridge mall. get in separate cars and go to mall.

6:00pm: arrive at northridge mall. text friend to see where she is. sit on bench waiting for reply. Group of boys approaches me. One comes up to me, asks if i have money for the bus fare. I reply with "i have no money, not even coins to give you... i'm sorry." guy then tells me that his friend thinks i'm hot and wants to buy me something nice. I look at boy and say no thanks, that's okey. Boy then asks how old i am. I ask "why do you want to know that?" boy asks again, "well, just how old are you? over 18?" I reply with "i'm 21. why?" Boy asks "can you go into that store and buy a pack of smokes for my friend over there?" i say "for your friend? he's underage? nah, dude, i don't do stuff like that... it's illegal..." boy says "aww c'mon... i thought you were cooler than that." i say "nah, man... i don't do stuff like that. you kids shouldn't be smoking, anyways. you'll regret it later on in life." receive text. friend is on other side of mall.  boy says "aww, okey. well, thanks for your time, have a good night!" and i say "ya, have a good night. be good and stay out of trouble! you're too young for cigarettes." he laughs and I get up and go find my friend.

6:10pm: find friend. tell her about events that transpired at 6:00pm. friend is shocked that i could get into so much trouble in just the few minutes she left me alone. many laughs are had.

6:15pm: buy friend gelato. life gets a little bit better. we proceed to walk through mall, making fun of fashions incorporating floral "homeschool/granma" prints while being cut in a slutty manner. I make comment "oh yes, because that's what a guy wants to be thinking about when he sees a hot girl. his grandmother or a socially inept homeschooled kid." friend proceeds to lapse into asthmatic fit of laughter. I begin to become concerned for the well-being of my friend. Friend begins breathing again, still laughing quite hard. we proceed to walk through mall.

6:30pm: we go into vitamin store. girl working there asks us why we're in there. friend buys vitamins. girl working is confused, but rings up my friend for the purchase. says something about rewards club. we ignore her. we leave vitamin world.
6:35pm: wander around mall aimlessly making fun of fashions in forever 21, sidecca, hot topic, those expensive stores that no one can afford, etc. friend goes to bathroom. points out weird stall with two toilets in it. friend takes picture. we laugh heartily over it.

7:00pm go to asian store. muse over all of the awesome things including a pikachu suit. We go up the escalator, planning how to get guys. we decided that the best way to get a guy's number is to crash your car into the guy (in or out of his car) and get his insurance and phone number written down. a great way to meet people.

7:30pm: we get in our cars and leave.

10:45pm: finish writing this blog 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Forgotten Camping Trip

This is a somewhat fictitious account of a camping trip I had a long while back with a dear friend of mine. Some of the things may or may not be entirely or not at all true or false all or none of the time.

    There I sat. Or lay, rather. Couldn't much sit up very well, having to sleep on a shelf. I lay there, planning my escape. Pinned up 5 inches above my nose were the blueprints i had drawn up, amongst other calculations. Blueprints on how to tunnel out of the current bug-infested predicament, and I do mean that literally. Holed up in a trailer, filled with mosquitoes and moths, watching a movie about a boy who thought he was from mars (and fallaciously claimed to taste colours) with my friend and her family. It was frighteningly hot during that time of year. But it wasn't so much the heat as it was the bugs. And the food. All of the food was pork. Sausages, bacon, ham sandwiches, all pork. Heat, bugs, pork; I was melting, being eaten alive, and starved, simultaneously. A torturous occasion, on all accounts, to be certain. We had dined previously in the day at an Italian restaurant. Italian food is akin to pork for my taste; practically intolerable. I managed to smuggle back 3 prawns, which i carefully cut up and rationed out over the next few days. I kept it in the corner of my shelf-bed, hoping no one would notice and deprive me of my food source from the sea. There I lay, smacking at the mosquitoes, in a feeble attempt to stay unscathed by there ever-probing stings and bites. I had planned an escape route, and calculated the time it would take me to either walk home or hitch-hike, if at all possible. I had enough rations for about 9 days, if i allotted one small piece of shrimp for each day of the return journey. I would also try and procure some sort of balm for the bites, as it was almost certain that i would contract malaria or gangrene. Another all too real possibility was the contraction of scurvy, seeing as how i didn't have any good source of vitamin C at the time. At this point, I decided to create my last will and testament. With trembling hand, I bequeathed all of my earthly possessions to my brother, and wrote fondest regards to my mum and dad. I would put into action my plan the next day.

I never got the chance, we ended up at some kind of water park in a current-driven river sort of attraction. We wore ridiculous hats, and I was much ashamed of my existence at that point in time. At least it was a chance to escape from those infernal insects. We returned from this venture, somehow sunburnt despite the large-brimmed hats we adorned out sweaty heads with. Another night spent on the shelf.

I was jolted from sleep in the middle of the night. I couldn't remember where i was. As i sat up rather abruptly, i hit my head quite hard (and rather loudly, i'm afraid) on the ceiling above the shelf. This only added to the disorientation and terror. Not to mention it elicited a concerned question from someone that had been roused from sleep due to the sound produced from my skull smashing against the ceiling. I rubbed my head in confusion, then remembered where I was. An insect infested inferno. 

I never did manage to escape. Instead, we all drove home the very next day. I returned home, only my epidermis and pride ridden with wounds and disease.


this was inspired by a discussion had today with my friend from the story, recounting this camping trip in both amusement and something akin to flashbacks to the horrors of war. :P much love to my friend and her delightful family! it wasn't really all that bad of a time.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Social Experiment

My last post was about my ideas regarding make-up and normal fashion and whatnot. I got to thinking, "what would life be like if I DID dress like a 'normal' person and wear make up and everything?" so i decided to conduct a series of experiments, the first of which i carried out today.
     Tonight, I had class from 4-7. So I had plenty of time to "get ready" (i'm actually not sure what the current terminology for this is...) So i put on a simple black dress, black flats (didn't want to bother with heels; i'm not that dedicated.) put on eyeliner, and, ::shudders:: lipstick. I did nothing different with my hair, as usual, like i said, not that dedicated. I wanted to know if I would receive the same amount of attention, or more, or less, if i dressed like most normal girl university students. Usually, I wear simple clothes, i.e. power rangers t-shirts, pullover hoodies, mexican ponchos, sweater boots, and other apparently socially odd things. Not to mention i usually have large headphones on, which is also apparently odd for a 5'2 white girl to wear.
Now i actually get a fair amount of attention dressed like i normally am (albeit unwanted attention); people talk to me (albeit weird people, usually) and occasionally i get hit on (albeit awkwardly). So people aren't deterred by my deviation from current fashion trends and make up wearing. Some people even seem more drawn to me because I'm "different".
     So the main idea of this experiment was to gauge how people would react to a "normalized" Kris Thompson. So i put on normal clothes, and normal make-up, and went to class.
     Most people were actually friendlier, in general, smiling at me, saying "hello", and the like. Mind you, RANDOM people, not people i know. Not even people in my class. People held doors open for me, and actually let me onto the elevator (which was nice, because that elevator takes a long time to get anywhere, and if you have to wait for the next one to arrive, it takes a while.) Usually people just sort of let doors close on my face, and make me wait for the next lift. Apparently, if you look normal, you have better luck getting places at a normal pace. And you also won't get slammed in the face by a closing door if you don't happen to be paying good attention. Finally arrived to class (a bit of a trek, parking at school's a monstrosity) and walked through the door. Suddenly, the room seemed to snap to attention and looked at me like i had just been beamed down from Mars. I got over the shock of being noticed and took my seat. There's a guy in my class (well, there are several, which is not the normal for my line of study) and apparently he's considered to be "the hottest guy in class" by all the girls (and a few guys). All the girls practically throw themselves at him, almost fighting to sit next to him. I don't see the big deal over him, he's nothing special by my standards; i sit on the opposite side of the room with the other more apathetic students. The popular guy has never before spoken to me (a fact with which i'm more than okay), but he stares at me the entire time throughout class (a fact which i less than appreciate.) Ever since first day of class, he sits sideways and stares at me the whole time for the duration of the class and 15minute break. Mind you, this is what happens when I'm dressed as my regular self. Today, dressed as a normal person, he approached me during break. Now, this is what i was wondering about. WOULD PEOPLE IN CLASS VIEW ME DIFFERENTLY (metaphorically, obviously) AND THEN ACT ON THAT? the answer was undeniably YES. He came up to me, and said "Wow! are you going somewhere?" (presumably thinking i was dressed differently because I was going to an event) to which I replied "no". He then said, and I kid you not, "Well, would you LIKE to be going somewhere?" with his popular-guy cocky-grin. I replied "No thanks, I'm cool." Apparently that's a socially unacceptable response to that question, because the look of disbelief on his face was almost comical. After he recovered from this apparently stunning response, he regained composure and said "Oh, okay. Maybe next time. Well, you look really nice." and smiled again and returned to his chair. The girl next to me also seemed to think it was a socially unacceptable response, and gave me a look of disapproval, as if my turning him down was an act akin to Judas's betrayal of Jesus. I simply smiled at her and returned to reading whatever i was reading at the time. As if that incident weren't enough proof that things really ARE different when you dress like a normal person, the professor actually took notice of me (a terrifying thing, really, as this professor is prone to cussing out students). He looked me over and proceeded to pay me the most epic compliment I have ever received: "You look like a badass Audrey Hepburn." I simply said "thank you..." and tried to smile (i was scared out of my wits at his acknowledgement of my existence). He then returned to texting, and I did the same.
     Don't get me wrong, I'm no narcissist (if you know me in real life you probably already know that.) I'm perfectly happy to just go through life (and especially school) completely unnoticed. And I'm definitely no fan of vanity or conceit. I conducted this experiment of sorts out of pure curiosity, to see if people really do treat better-dressed people with more respect and kindness. The results of this experiment? I get attentions either way, it's just sort of a different kind. When I'm dressed like my regular self, people talk to me and notice my personality, and genuinely seem to want to get to know me. Also when I'm dressed like my regular self, i end up waiting for a lot of elevators (people are jerks) and getting doors slammed in my face. When I dressed "up to par" with the norms of what girls my age wear, I got more respect, but also ended up encountering people that were only interested in my appearance. So, in conclusion, I'd much prefer to wear headphones and a power ranger shirt and get the door slammed in my face than a dress and makeup and get hit on by shallow people that think the world is owed to them on a silver platter.