Friday, March 5, 2010

DIY: I Cut Your Shirt Up And Made It Mine

I was inspired to start working on fixing up my own clothes when I started wearing my favorite koala shirt, 40 pounds lighter that I used to be. I bought it at a thrift store and it's made of this great fabric, and it has the cutest logo on it. I used to be able to make it "dumpy cute" before, but now, it's just WAY too big for me. I can only wear it as a night shirt, but I really want to wear it out in public. So, I decided it was time to do t-shirt surgery.

It's been a while since I've sewn. The last time I did it, I made a crooked bathing suit out of t-shirts.

Luckily, I found one of my ex's shirts in my clothes that I could practice on. So I cut it the fuck up.

I wanted to make it look like this shirt from ModCloth.

So I used this tutorial and my mom's expertise. To give the curve of the waist, we just pinned it at a curve. I decided not to make black sleeves since I thought it would look wrong. For the collar, we pinned it about 3 inches down from the original collar and hemmed it. And we just cut the corners off the bottom and hemmed that.



I'm not a fan of the deep, trashy neckline, so next time, I will make it a little bit shallower, but I love the long sleeves. I need more large shirts!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Roxy's Reflection

She’s a star made of cleavage, curls, and sparkles. Roxy deserves for you to be her number one fan. Roxy sets the whole world as her stage and performs her best scene on it. Roxy wears no red makeup, though if she did, she would make her lip print on her mirror like she left one on my heart.


When I dance, I think about Roxy. I know Roxy thinks about herself when she dances. Because I was just a thin ballet apprentice when I first Roxy, walking awkwardly in a body that didn’t fit into a showgirl dressing room unless shoved in a corner. They all judged me from bleeding toes to inexperienced fingers.

I was left alone and tried to melt into the only corner of darkness the fluorescent vanity lights didn’t touch. I was a girl dancer, I still am. These woman dancers intimidated me.

Roxy walked up to me. I didn’t know she was Roxy at the time until she signed her name on the mirror with sparkling black eyeliner.

“Hey, what’s your name?” she demanded out of pure interest in satiating her curiosity, not in making me comfortable.


Roxy nodded and seemed to try to digest my name like a disgusting French food she was tasting for the first time. She decided it was too prestigious, but swallowed it politely.

“Well Charmmaine, look at yourself.”

I hesitantly turned to the mirror behind me. I didn’t look at myself, I looked at Roxy’s reflection. Tight brown and blond curls framed a perfectly cut case, a short silver dress contrasted tan skin and hugged perfect curves. She was everything a woman should be. I was scared.

She caught me looking at her and looked at me without amusement. I couldn’t stand looking at myself after looking at something as perfect as Roxy, but I did anyways. Everything was thin and straight, like a boring board in my studio. Tonight, I was just a piece of the night sky when around these stars.

“Do you love yourself?”


There was very little that amused Roxy. She looked at me sideways.

“Don’t expect people to love you just because you can dance. You have to love yourself”

She pressed her body to the mirror, pouted her lips in an irresistible way I wish I could emulate and kissed herself on the lips. She seemed to love herself. If her reflection had a tongue, she would’ve licked it with her own.

She signed her name on the mirror. Roxy, with a long tail at the end of her “y”. And walked away to leave me and my reflection to a moment that needed more privacy than her own showy moment.


I’ll kiss many mirrors after that, but that’s all they are to me. When Roxy kisses mirrors, she kisses herself. When I kiss mirrors, I kiss strangers that don’t love me.

Sometimes I pretend I’m Roxy and really love myself. I can look in the mirror and pretend I have more than I was given. I pout and sulk in the sexiest ways. I wink and raise my eyebrows. I dance without worry. Then I remember I’m not Roxy.

Someday I'll learn to love Charmmaine.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why Natalie's Rap Empowers Me

The Lonely Island is popular for its comedic songs “I’m On a Boat” and “Like a Boss”. While those are great songs and all, my favorite song on their recent album Incredibad has to be “Natalie’s Rap” from a 2006 SNL skit which turns sweet little Natalie Portman (of indie and sci-fi fame) and turns her into a “bad ass bitch”.

Sometimes, I like to call this song “Jenny’s Rap” because if you take out the face-shitting part and add in a baby joke, I would say pretty much everything in this song.

Because deep down inside, I’m an angry white girl with penis envy.

Go ahead, ask me; “What you want Jenny?”
Ask me; “What you need Jenny?

Natalie’s Rap is actually an empowering song. Every time I hear it, I just want to run outside and fuck shit up—smash a chair into the window of a car, walk down the street in high heeled boots and a hoodie and threaten people, kill something… you know, normal destructive things. And sometimes in life, you just have to say “You shut the fuck up and suck my dick!” even if you don’t have a dick. Especially if you don’t have a dick, because people will be too scared and confused by your mental state to do anything about it. And let’s face it, penis’s are power.

Next time you’re doing something you shouldn’t, and a little old voice pleads to you inside your head to “think about the children!” you just have to think “All the kids looking up to me can suck my dick!” Life is too short to think about the children.

And despite the penis envy, it’s actually a great song for empowering women. Natalie doesn’t let men play with her—she uses and abuses them and kicks them out when she gets what she wants if she doesn’t beat them up first. And with lines such as “Fuck your man, it’s my name that he’s screaming!” she knows they all want her and that she can get away with it. With so many girls bowing at men’s feet now a days because they give them the one and only thing girls want—attention—Natalie is one of the few women out there who can practice self-love, and get the physical part done by a man that she doesn’t really need.

I so admire her.

Other than that, in this song you have elements of drunk driving, drug use, bitch slapping, and killing dogs for fun, which just wraps all the other empowering lyrics like caramel in a bowl of the most bad ass vanilla ice cream you’ve ever tasted.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Interpretate! Week 2: Polar Bear Hair

I think...
That if I were a Polar Bear
I would be happy.
If I were a Polar Bear with amazing hair
I would be happier
But I guess that you can't be too happy
When your home is melting.
That's one thing amazing hair can't fix.

A/N: Well, it's not like Jordan gave me much to work with this week, and it's not like I know how to write extensively about polar bears, unless it's a kid's story, which I don't have the capacity for. And let's face it, this polar bear's hair is rockin'.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Reaction to Kerouac's On The Road

"I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight and everybody goes "Aww!"

I just finished Kerouac’s On The Road. Before I read it, I read reviews by artists claiming that it changed their lives and sent them on a soul searching journey across the United States. It didn’t change my life, but it definitely inspired me to explore other parts of life.

Kerouac’s writing is by no means poetic and beautiful. In fact, I hated Kerouac the first time I read him (“And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks”—a collaborative novel written with William S. Burroughs, published in 2008). But once I got past the stream of consciousness style of writing and stopped waiting for a climax that would never come, I began to really appreciate Kerouac. When you read Kerouac, you need to look at the type of people and the lifestyle and form your own pictures, rather than look for the story and let him draw pictures for you.

His writing represents a movement hidden by its era. The Beats flourished in the 50s, a time portrayed in the media as a perfect, clean cut time, built on family values and American pride. This era has always represented perfection and structure. But the beats rejected these ideas. They were the first and they were the real rebels.

The Beats represented freedom, hedonism, and spontaneous creative thought. They were careless and crazy. They worried about little and cherished and acted upon every thought that came into their minds. They lived for today and lived for their kicks. They were constantly in search for the next wonderful.

Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarity inspired me to bring this into my daily life. They taught me to try to do it all, love it all, and quickly move on to the next thing. And oh to think like a Beat! Never rejecting a single thought or action! I’m so blown away by the absolute freedom they lived in.

It’s exactly the place I am in my own life. Being disillusioned, and in another country, I want to take advantage of every second of my life. I no longer want to think about my future, though it will always be in the back of my mind. I have the perfect opportunity to do this here. I want to be a Beat and take every second of my life and transform it into a spontaneous thought and think on it, or into an action and live on it. If you look to the future all the time, you’ll miss today, and I don’t want to miss any more today’s. I want to get up and move, I want to feed my soul everything it craves, to get out and live, to be in an ever constant search for my kicks and to dig everything.

“On The Road” opened this up as an option to me. I’ve always had a lust for life, but I never pursued it in the way that Sal and Dean did. I never knew you could do that.

Unfortunately, the Beats are dead [in my opinion, the Hippies killed them, but that’s another point] and they can never be brought back. There is too much security, too many rules, and not enough time for endless road trips. Nobody has the motivation to do it anymore. All their kicks are right there on their computer screen. We’re all too attached to our comforts to leave them and pursue creativity and experiences. I’ll admit, I’m slightly one of these people, but at least I know that I can take some of the Beat movement and put it into my everyday life.

So while “On The Road” didn’t change my life, it inspired me to be out, to enjoy everything I see and touch, to dig it all, and always search for that thing that even Kerouac himself couldn’t name.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Interpretate! Week 2 Part 1

Jordan and I have made an agreement to interpret each other's work at the end of each week. It took me a little bit longer to do this than expected, but I finally got this out. I will be interpreting one more of her drawings in the second part of this story. I just had to break them up into two parts.

It’s not that Suu Pikko hates people; it’s just that she doesn’t particularly find most of them to be interesting. Oh, the way they move is interesting. She loves the way the lanky boy moves and looks. Everything about him is lanky—his hair, his arms, his legs. Everything straight down to his lanky eyelashes and fingernails. She wishes she would capture his movements. She would draw him as a rubber band swimming in a creek, since that’s exactly what he looks like when he dances.

She loves people in an aesthetic sense, but when they talk, she has no interest.

But it’s ok, it works both ways. Suu isn’t the most interesting person in the world either. With her large sweaters that she tried drowning in, and boring hair, she doesn’t stand out in the crowd in the most typical way. In fact, she only stands out in the crowd when you her. And then you find yourself looking at her, waiting for her to be interesting, but she isn’t. A couple of boys have already done that tonight, here at this party. But then they saw that she did nothing. She neither smiled in amusement or frowned with sadness. She just sits there and watches people.

Suu is in fact not interesting at all, even when you get to know her. She graduated 10 places down from being top of her class, moved into the dorms of the University closest to her house where she was studying art. She spends most of her time studying. She pretty much only eats cheap prepackaged tuna sandwiches from the cafeteria and she always eats them alone.

The only thing interesting about her is her name. And the huge smiley face on her grey sweater that she wears with leggings.

Suu briefly watches a sad nervous girl on the other side of the room. She would draw this girl with two faces; one sad and wrapped with bitterness, and the other one nervous, chewing on her pinky nail. She would draw a lot of things tonight if she had brought her notebook, which she didn’t because she was under the impression that she would have a good time.

The beginning of the party was time. Tim and his other roommates from the science department decided to hold a “medium sized get together. Cool people only” on the first day of the second semester. The “cool people” Tim referred to included everyone who wasn’t invited to any of the big parties over the weekend. Unfortunately, the party hounds got wind of it and crashed because they knew Tim was too much of a wimp to do anything about it.

When they pushed everybody aside to dramatically move the kegs into the bathtub was when Suu should’ve left. No, when she heard the doorbell followed by “Tim brah! It’s where the party’s at!” is when she should’ve left. However, her ride home didn’t want to leave and she didn’t feel like walking home alone while the dogs were around the area.

She watched them turn Tim’s nice kitchen table into a beer pong platform, taint his stereo with Young Jeezy, and stain his furniture with saliva from their girlfriends. She watched as Tim stood by helplessly and watched his party and new apartment get overtaken by idiots. She kind of felt bad for him.

Suu saw a mess of red out of the corner of her eye. “Oh God…” he inwardly groaned. Keri, her roommate was lurking around the sides of her room. Of course she would be here. Keri seemed to always know where she wasn’t wanted and made a point of being there. There were few people Suu hated more than Keri. Suu had the reaction of a bull when she saw Keri’s big red hair. Innerly of course. Suu has never expressed anger or hatred.

Both semesters the dorms were full and both semesters Suu was stuck living with Keri. Suu strategically placed all of her classes in the morning to avoid Keri, who slept in, took afternoon classes, and was gone at night.

The first thing Keri said to Suu was “Thank God you’re my roommate! I suck at math!”

Keri was basing her assumption that Suu was good at math because she’s Asian.

“Oh man, that sucks. I do too. I’m an art major.”

But because Suu never expresses anger or hatred, Keri adores Suu and thinks they’re friends. Keri spots Suu from across the room, waves, and heads towards her. Suu wishes at this moment that she left earlier.

Suu is a pack of people away from total annoyance as Keri walks her way when she hears someone say her name in her ear.

“Hey Suu.”

She looks next to her to see Joe, a small boy with small muscles, greasy black hair, and thick rimmed glasses. Joe, the cute architect major she sat next to in design class last semester. He was one of Tim’s roommates, a fact Suu knew when she agreed to come to the party in the first place.

“I noticed you out here all alone. Would you like to….” Joe’s last words were muted by a group of guys screaming their victory in beer pong.

“What??” Suu yells.

“Would you like to come to my room?!” Joe yells back.

Suu scrunches her face in offense. She can smell alcohol on his breath, but she didn’t think he could ever be that rude, even when intoxicated. Joe immediately reeled back in fear from her expression.

“There are other people!” He nervously tries to explain over the din.

Suu doesn’t quite understand him because it’s so hard to hear him, but she can see the Red Mess of Doom coming closer to her so she nods.

When she gets to Joe’s room, she immediately understands what he was trying to say. A portion of the original party is hiding in there.

“Oh good, you found Suu” says a tall girl who wears a plaid blouse and isn’t yet aware of her beauty. Lauren is one of the girls she came here with.

“Umm, I’m sorry” Joe laughs nervously to Suu. “I uh, I didn’t mean it like that, asking you to my room you know?”

“Yeah, we’re all hiding in here” Lauren says with a subtle eye roll.

“Hey! We are not hiding in here! We’re just hanging out in here!” Tim says. Suu admires his attempt to maintain enthusiasm.

Besides Lauren, Joe, Tim and herself, there is only Randle, the third roommate in the apartment.

The door opens and everyone looks up with fearful anticipation. A girl with a large silver bow in her hair and a black dress peeks through the door and is followed by a girl with short red ringlets and a floral peasant top.

“Oh, there you guys are.” She notices everyone’s faces, that they were expecting a rowdy drunk to come in. “Shit, you all are pathetic.” She closes the door behind her. Lily is a fashion major who thinks that she can’t be a fashion major unless she throws an attitude around once in a while. The girl with the ringlets is Megan, a girl with a bubbly personality and bubbly mouth to match it. She talks as if bubbles fill her mouth.

Lily, Megan, and Lauren are close friends and the only girls on campus that actually talk to Suu. Suu liked them well enough, but found it hard to get close to them and become an official fourth in their little group. Lauren started talking o Suu because she’s too nice not to and the other girls started talking to her because Lauren did. Suu would consider them the closest things to friends she has, though she doesn’t think friends is the best word to use.

“Ok, so who told the idiots that we were having a party?” Megan demanded in her adorably stupid lisp. “Tim, I thought this was supposed to be a ‘medium sized gathering. Cool people only.’” Though Megan is serious at the moment, she wasn’t fooling anybody. 2 more beers and she would be on the coffee table, showing off her old lady bra because one of the idiots told her she was pretty.

“Don’t look at me, it was Randle”

Randle, a red headed kid with large dark eyes looked up with surprise from whatever he was fiddling with in his hand.

“Tell them what you did Randle”

Randle rolled his head in exasperation.

“Dude, all I did was tell some guys in my math class that we were having a party”

“Seriously?” Megan yelled. “You have to be careful who you tell! These guys love to take advantage of people like us.” There was a slight smirk in her voice when she said it.

The three of them started bickering and Suu glanced over Joe’s room. She had never thought about Joe’s room before. She had never dreamt that she would be seeing it. It was neat, and orderly, but not too much so that she would have to worry about his sanity. His bed, which was occupied by Lauren, Randle, and Tim was made, but poorly, with dark blue sheets. He had a desk which was orderly and decorated with a pyramid figurine, a couple of action figures, a picture of his parents, and a Rubix cube.

She aimlessly walked around the small room and found a cluster of postcards on the wall by the desk. She moved a little closer and saw that they were just buildings and landscapes. She couldn’t understand what was so special about them. She heard a small cough behind her and turned around.

“That’s Frank Llyod Wright.” Joe said. “He’s a genius. He’s a huge inspiration to me.”

Suu wanted to ask him what was so special about Frank Lloyd Wright and why he loved him so much, but she didn’t know how to ask. She wanted to know a lot about Joe, but was always too afraid to ask. Before this, the only thing she knew about his was that he was an architect major. She wasn’t too interested in people, yet she wanted to know what Joe’s favorite color was, and what kind of music he listened to.

She just didn’t know how to ask.

So she nodded and gave him a small smile.

“I’m going to get a drink, I’ll be right back.”

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Gordy; My Inspiration

Gordon, Gordo, Gordy. El Gordo me gusta, Gordy wa suki desu. I love you Gordy Sipriano. SPAAAANNNKKK YOUUUU!

Despite whatever my father says, I love my dogs. Lots. And I tell him so every night. “Gordy, come here baby. You’re the only boy for me. You’re the sweetest, you’re the best dog in the world aren’t you?”

So maybe that sounds a little creepy, but honestly. Gordy is the best dog in the world and he is the only boy I love.

Gordo is one special dog. He’s some kind of pound mutt that predominately Australian Heeler that we got at the Human Society in Hawaii. He had one day left in the pound before they euthanized him so we had to take him. Besides, he seemed to be addicted to my brother’s ear wax so it’s not like we could just deprive him.

He’s my inspiration. If ever I had the chance to live somebody else’s life, I would choose Gordy’s. Besides having my parent’s unconditional love, (please, I know my parents love me, but I would never be spoon fed ice cream or hand fed a burger the same night I pissed on the carpet) he’s one bad ass pooch. But I don’t think I could ever get used to his strange habit of eating his own poop. But hey, that’s his prerogative.

Gordy has the dorkiest name ever given to a dog. And when I say dorky, I strictly mean dorky, voiding all embarrassing names such as Buddy, Fido and Schnukumbums. If I were a dog with that name, I would take every opportunity I could to strangle myself with my leash until success. Gordy’s full name is Gordon Hound, named after “the greatest hockey player of all time” as my dad would say, crossing himself as he did.

Despite the creative origins of his name, Gordon is still a dorky name. Gordy the dog even has red hair like you would imagine a human with the same name would have. But my dog rocks it. The name and the hair.

Gordy only cuddles when it’s on his terms, a quality I should really learn from. If he doesn’t like the spot I give him on my twin size bed, he’ll either (literally) push me over until he is comfortable, or go find somewhere else to sleep. And that’s that. He’ll be comfortable wherever he chooses and you’ll be left with a cold bed and you better learn to deal. This is something I should really learn to apply to men.

Gordy doesn’t sell out and he never does what he doesn’t want to do. Unless it’s for treats. But then again, he is a dog, what more can you expect from him? But you can give him treats all day, if he doesn’t want to give you kisses at the end of the night, he won’t do it. Another thing I should learn to apply to men.

Last of all, Gordy takes no shit. He once messed up a large bulldog when it tried to take Gordy as his bitch. Gordy isn’t a beefy or violent dog, but the bulldog had to go to the doggy hospital for stitches and Gordy got to keep his pride. And if that doesn’t deserve respect, I don’t know what does. But I’m also pretty sure Gordy did time and learned how to defend his butt-pride long before we adopted him. He’s got the tattoos to prove it.

Gordy is getting old though. When we first got him, he was just a rambunctious pup that pooped on floors and didn’t listen to anybody. But Gordy’s personality has aged like wine and despite the fact that he has the tendency to be a cranky old bastard on most occasions, I can still learn how to respect myself from him.

And that either says that he’s one special and majestic pooch, or that I am really in need of guidance if I’m taking it from a dog.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sometimes I Really Love Myself

Self Portriat

A cigarette dangles carelessly from her fingers. Smoking Joes, full flavors. Cowboy killers made by Indians. “$20 bucks a carton at the Res!” she will tell you proudly even if you don’t ask.

Her hands shake as she brings the cigarettes to her lips repeatedly. She talks fast and loud with excitement, commanding the attention of everyone around her. “Hey, all I’m saying is that I love my coffee and my cigarettes and I’ll never stop.” She pulls on the cigarette every time her lungs need to inhale, as if she can’t breathe if the oxygen weren’t nicotine ridden. She smokes like a nervous coke head. The way she shakes, it would seem that she has too much energy to contain inside her body. Or she suffers from anxiety. Or she drinks too much coffee on little sleep. It’s actually a potent combination of all three. But she continues on with little regard for concern.

She makes sure to converse with everyone she makes eye contact with. She makes obscene jokes and loud confessions. “I’m going to tell you honestly. I like my men fat and insecure. I’m not ashamed!” And she isn’t. She will tell you she used to scrape her arm with needles in middle school so it looked like she was cutting herself. She will next tell you what’s purple and oozes puss and cries [“a skinned baby in a bag of salt”]. She doesn’t care if you’re young, old, male, female, white or yellow. She will throw a laugh and a question at you and force you to catch it and engage in a while conversation with her. All the while nervously taking drags from cigarette after cigarette.

When she stands, she locks her knobby knees. Often, on days when the coffee is strong, she will shake them back and forth, locking and unlocking like a door to a room she can’t decide is safe to leave. Her legs are bowed and they support a skeletal frame that seems to shrink day to day. Her hips protrude around her shrunken stomach and beneath her shirt, her ribs angrily stick out. It’s as if her bones are wearing away at the skin, desperate to get out and dance. She is excruciatingly thin and is void of any obvious signs of womanhood. They say she looks sick but her laugh makes them think twice.

Her hair isn’t sexy, but it’s fitting. It’s a coppery, frizzy mop that refuses to be tamed. It’s not natural, it’s a perm. Her natural, baby fine, straight, mousey brown hair just didn’t fit her. So she changed it. Just like the name her parents gave her. She changed that too though she won’t tell anybody why. “Do I look like a Jessica to you?” she demands when asked.

Her clothes are no sexier than her hair. Ordinary t-shirts she collected over too many thrift store visits are the only thing she can think to wear on normal days. She wears them with the same pair of old jeans and black and white chucks that were once fashion statements but are now the only ones that she owns. She tops her average outfit off with large, loud sweaters that look like she raided a retirement home in search of jackets when the weather dropped. She wears them with confidence, despite the fact that they’re dumpy and they cost her $2.

She talks with a lisp and has a line of stubborn freckles that cover her nose and apple cheeks. The only thing beautiful about her is her eyes and she knows it. She won’t date anybody with blue eyes because she insists that “a man needs to have such ugly eyes that he thinks mine are the most beautiful in the world and he tells me so every day.”

Sometimes you’ll find her in the kitchen, cooking and dancing at the same time. Sometimes you’ll find her in the library or coffee shop chatting with a friend or to her journal, or buried knee deep in a book. Sometimes you’ll find her staring, spacing out the window of the bus. Sometimes you’ll find her spacing out while walking down the street. And sometimes, you’ll find her scribbling something in her notebook in the worst place to start scribbling in a notebook because that’s where the mood struck and she’ll forget what her brilliant thought was if she waits to find a sensible place to squat.

But you’ll nearly always find her with headphones on while Yoni Wolf and Benjamin Gibbard sing songs of angst from the MP3 player in her pocket.

And you’re guaranteed to always find her in a good mood.

This is a self portrait exercise I did for my new writing project, based on Jenny in Buffalo, which isn't really different from Jenny in Japan, though I'm always changing to my circumstances.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Day In Japan; Rolly Slide Park

I was unsure about exploring when I set out yesterday. It was a sunny day compared to the past few dreary days and I didn’t want to waste it. But I was feeling a little bit lazy and didn’t think I would really find anything.

I didn’t expect to find what I did.

Actually, I’ve been here before. When I last lived in Okinawa. It wasn’t nearly as beautiful as it was when I found it. Perhaps it was the rare burst of sunshine we were experiencing that made the word "Wow" fall from my mouth. Maybe the joy of finding something when I thought I wouldn’t made it so breathtaking.

I was a little cautious to walk up the mossy steps. The turtle graves and statues of ancient legends in traditional Japanese dress told me that a white girl with frizzy hair wearing headphones with a cigarette dangling from her lips should not be here.

But the open-close sign painted on white wood gave me an excuse, so I snuffed the cigarette and turned off my music.

The stairs were shrouded in coral walls, trees, and tropical plants. I was expecting grave sites, broken logs that serve as stairs on dirt paths, and mystery. But at the top of the stairs, my view was opened up to a large soccer field. To my left were large grassy steps blocked with stones that I imagined would serve as seats during games. This day, it is empty. To my left is a sitting area with a traditional Japanese roof, sitting high upon a hill.

I am immediately greeted by a pack of Oki-mutts, their curled tails raised happily towards the sky with intrigue. They bark, but don’t come too close. They’re curious about me but I continue walking. The sight of a wooden playground indicates that this is the place that I hoped someday I would find.

I ate curry with my fingers with my best friend here, years ago. We talked a lot, but now I can’t remember what we talked about. Probably bras. In our adolescent girl days, we talked a lot about training bras. The rolling slide is still here. I decide to give it a go for old time’s sake.

There are steps and paths leading into the small forest that I decide to venture on. Dog bowls and small shrines litter the path that I’m not sure I should be walking on. The coral rock formations fascinate me. They look like naturally formed houses for small imps. I imagine that this is where tales of kijumuna are born.

It's deserted here, probably because it’s a Friday afternoon. I must be the only person on the island who doesn’t go to school and doesn’t have a job. It suits me fine, I like being alone. I feel awkward enough as it is, almost like I shouldn’t be here.

This park is a perfect mix of the old and the new. The playground hasn’t been touched at least since I was last here. Yet it’s extremely clean. I think the people decided that it is perfect the way it is and didn’t want to cover it with cement and rubber. It seems to have a touch of old Okinawan structure and yet, nothing is broken. There are vending machines, but then again, those are everywhere.

And it’s exactly what I love about Okinawa. Renovations haven’t been done in years because there is no need—people respect their surroundings too much here. Natural and traditional sites aren’t ruined, seeing as I’ve already found a handful of small caves and grave sites are untouched. It is hidden and therefore peaceful and quiet.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Artists; Dedication, Failure, and Support.

My good friend Jordan is currently going through a period that all artists go through. It doesn't really have a name and it's much more complex than writer's block. I'll describe it like this.

Your notebooks are on the shelf, and for a little bit, you don't notice that they're no longer in your bag for spontaneous inspiration or hand while you sleep, passed out from excessive scribbling. And then one day, it hits you.
"I haven't created anything in a while" you say to yourself.
You begin to panic and wonder why you stopped writing or drawing in the first place. You try again, you scribble something. You sketch something, you pick up an old story or an old drawing that you left because it was finals week, or you started dating somebody, or the holidays have kept you busy. But it's not good, and you panic even more. Bodies are disformed and dialogue is awkward and all of your ideas seem mundane and boring.

So you decide to punish yourself and make horrible goals for yourself.
"I'm going to blog and sketch ONCE A DAY FOREVER!"
"I'm going to write 900+ words everyday"
"I'm going to finish a novel in three months"
"I'm going to lock myself in my room until I finish this"
You try making up for abstaining from your art and a week later, you find that your impossible goals aren't working.

Dejected, you think you've failed. Some of us artists will fall into a period of nothingness where we don't create and we don't think about our art since it's too painful. Some of us rise above, set more realistic goals, and create masterpieces.

But it happens all the time, and it's the worst feeling in the world.

I've always admired Jordan's art. We met on a forum years ago where she was the resident fan-artist. I was a young writer at the time, and had stars in my eyes for everyone with talent. I guess you can say that I still have stars in my eyes for Jordan because she is just so damned talented. And she loves drawing, and I love anybody who loves art.

In her most recent blog posts A Realization she reforms her goal of blogging about a sketch everyday and has brought it down to sketching once a day, whether she blogs about it or not. She has realized that you don't have to create a masterpiece every day, you just have to practice.
I realized this earlier at the beginning of the year. In fact, it was one of my New Year's Goals. Jordan is going to sketch once a day, whether it's good or bad, man or animal, funny or serious.... she's just going to do it.

I'm taking a page from her book, since that's what we artists do--we bounce off of each other. I'm not an artist, but I am a writer, and who's to say that Jordan's rules can't apply to me as well? So from this day forth, I am going to write something once a day, whether it be a blog, an essay, a poem, a piece of fiction, or even word vomit in my journal. Some of it will be displayed here, and some of it won't, depending on the personal level of the piece.

I went through my sabbatical, and now it's time to pull myself from it. No longer will lack of confidence be an excuse for me to be lazy. I'll write every day for a year.

I encourage you to follow Jordan's blog because I know she'll be posting some great stuff on there. Here are some of my favorite's of hers that are available on her blog. Though my favorites of hers are Syhindlar fan art that I'm sure she's retired for a long time.

Guest Blog; Kate Thoreson's Magically Versatile ModCloth Coat.

Yeah, I know a lot of you are saying "Ok ok, I get it Jenny, you're growing up, it's sad, blah blah blah". Well, I'm still in a bit of a funk, so I'm going to let Kate take the wheel today. Remember her post about mascara?

Kate is my go-to for fashion since I think that granny sweaters from thrift stores are hot shit and would wear them for ANY occasion. Often, her and I will cruise and I will try to put in my opinion, which she always knocks down. I mean, it's not like I deserve it, sometimes I just pull things out to keep conversation. Things like "That would look great on Jenny Lewis", in which she educates me by saying "No, Jenny Lewis is a rockstar, this is too drab for her".

Well, now you're about to get educated.

When I talk about wearing this coat, since I live in North Dakota, I am speaking in very futuristic terms, as it is very cold here. However, I think it is the happy medium of coats—it isn’t ugly and puffy like so many coats I see, especially in this area, but it isn’t totally sleek and impractical or drab either. I think it looks regal and professional, yet also stylish and fun. Here are some suggestions as to what to do with this coat:

Date – I think this coat could be worn on a date, particularly if the date is going to take place outside in the spring or the autumn at any point. I suggest a walk in the park with someone who isn’t on particularly passionate or serious terms yet; I’d go so far as to say that this is a good choice for a date with that coworker you’re not supposed to be dating. ;) My reasoning is that it’s not particularly flirty or bright, but it makes a strong statement that you’re not frumpy and boring. I’d wear it with something comfortable, but not something casual. What I mean by this is, don’t just throw on a t-shirt and some jeans and your gross flip flops from Old Navy that cost you $2. Wear it with black pants (skinny jeans would be hot, but don’t try too hard if you’re not into them) and your favorite kitten heels.

Hanging out –When you’re with a group of friends, you can wear this coat just about anywhere you go with them, but I’d suggest wearing it when you have a fun time in the early evening to attend. I guarantee that everyone will think it is adorable, but the early evening is the best time because when you’re having fun at night, nobody really cares about your coat if you get my drift. Wear it earlier than that and it’s probably almost too cute for your friends. In this situation, I would wear it with a cute romper, provided that you have the legs for a romper. If you don’t have the legs for a romper, I’d try the same approach that I used for the date section, although instead of kitten heels you could probably wear sandals.

Work – The workplace is oftentimes a nightmare as to dressing creatively, but this coat would be a useful tool at work if you have to go about often. Professional and classy, it would make a very strong impression on clients who would happen to see you in it. Of course, most people never have to wear coats when they work, but if you do, this would be a good one. I’d dress it conservatively this time, with a skirt that comes around ¾ of the way down the thighs (a pencil skirt with a blouse tucked in would be awesome if you have the right kind of figure), tights in a power color besides black (the general consensus is that power colors are dark shades of blue, green, red, and brown), and pumps.

By yourself – When you’re alone, you could be going anywhere. However, I envision this coat, again, on a walk. If you dress casually when you walk over to the bookstore to pick up a copy of Les Misérables, then I’d wear it with your favorite jeans and a pair of sneakers. I’d probably choose my black Converse for mine. If you dress to impress at the bookstore (it sounds silly, but it isn’t—there are many cute boys to be found at Barnes & Noble!), then I’d wear it with sunny yellow tights, a basic and demure dress, and cute black shoes. If you simply like to feel adorable, then go crazy when you pick out a miniskirt. The rest is up to you in that case, because an adorable miniskirt will work with and above anything. J

This coat can be found at BB Dakota never ceases to amaze me, and if you have any burning questions for me, you can contact me at any time you wish!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tales of an Affair with a Food Processor

The weather in Okinawa has been horrible. I know that most of my readers have no sympathy because they're either in Buffalo or Northern Michigan, but 50 degrees is still cold. I don't care if it's snowing where you're at, I still can't go outside.

Cooped up inside once again, I decided to do something I've been aching to do for ages...

Use a food processor.

I've been aching to feel the purr of the the processor beneath my fingers that demand it to chop. I've been begging to taste the creamy dips that would come from our love.

Searching my parent's house, I found it. Covered in dust and hiding on a dark shelf, it was wanting to be used as badly as I wanted to use it. It needed love and I needed a food processor. I lovingly recovered it from its spot and placed it on the counter.

"You look beautiful in this light" I told it. It didn't reply, so I continued to romance it. "You and I are going to do beautiful things. I've been wanting to do this for so long..."

And for 30 awkward minutes, I fooled around with the food processor. As expected for your first time....... using a food processor that is, I had a hard time figuring out where things went and things were spontaneously erupting.

But it was joyous, and the result was even more joyous.

"I would love to do this again food processor. That is, if you would like to do this again with me..."

I made edamammus--hummus made with edamame. I highly recommend it. Click for the recipe.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Break Up Note to My Childhood

I wrote this sestina poem for a creative writing group. It's actually my first attempt at poetry since my angsty high school freshman poetry and my most recent fail: "there are dishes in the sink, but I'm too tired to think". I think it's an improvement, even though I'm not going to take this as my cue to start writing poetry. I still suck at it.


Dear Childhood,
I hate you and to tell you the truth, I always have
I couldn’t wait to get rid of your ugly face
You were rotten, immature, and stupid
And you are no longer any fun
So this is me saying to you—goodbye

But I’ll speak honestly and say that it hurts to say goodbye
You were a big part of me dear Childhood.
Back in the day you were enjoyable and fun
And I really wish it didn’t have
To be like this. Writing you this note is stupid
But it’s your fault. I no longer want to see your face

Remember when you were there for me to yell in the face
Of troubles? When there were so many goodbyes
You helped me make new friends. You were innocent, trusting… and stupid
But were always there for me dear Childhood
What happened? Why did you have
To leave me? We had so much fun.

The truth is that you left me. Tell me, was it fun?
Breaking my heart and laughing in my face
“Grow up” they say. And so you left. Adulthood is all I have
You left so suddenly, without even saying goodbye
I woke up and you were gone dear childhood
I’ll admit now, wishing you were dead was stupid.

Dear Childhood, I hate you. I have
Been struggling without your laughter and stupid
Yet simple and easy way of handling situations. Why didn’t you say goodbye?
Adulthood beats me and calls me names. People see the bruises on my face
They know that you left me dear Childhood.

You left your shit at my house childhood.
Pick it up or I’ll burn it. I don’t want to face
Your posters and stuffed animals. They’re stupid.
This is me breaking up with you. It’s no fun
But then again, you already left me. You have
Hurt me and abandoned me. Goodbye

You have to admit though, it was fun.
I’ll miss your stupid, ugly face
This is goodbye forever Childhood.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Death of The Childhood Dream.

I am holding a funeral. A funeral for my childhood dream which has recently died a pathetic death of disillusionment.

I will miss it. I will miss the days when I would lay in bed thinking about being a superman-less Lois Lane [because unlike Lois, I need no Superman to be a noteworthy character] and climbing to the top to be Ms. Editor-In-Chief. I will miss searching for newspapers that I can intern at, and I will miss wondering exactly what kind of journalism I will be doing.

Most of all, I will miss the way the dream of journalism wrapped me in its arms and said "It's ok, I am what you are supposed to be doing". This childhood dream made me a confident and goal oriented person. With its death, I feel like I am nothing once again. I feel like I am wandering the career and educational world like a dirty straggler that nobody wants around.

How could it just die like that? And with no warning! How could it leave me to pick up the pieces and find a new life mate? I find myself cursing at the heaven where all childhood dreams go, and I also find myself thinking that I personally killed this dream and it is bitterly looking down on me saying "How could you do this to me? I loved you so much".

Dear childhood dream, I don't know how it happened. I feel betrayed that you died and left me lonely. And I know you feel betrayed when I look at other options so soon after your death, but you have to understand that I have to move on. You were great to me, you gave me purpose and comfort when everything went wrong. I will miss you.

When you break up with first true love, it's hard to love again. And when you lose your childhood dream, it's hard to dream again as well. But there is one I'm thinking about.
The Dream of Business.
A cafe.
A dream I've had since I was 12 years old.
A childhood sweetheart.
I am tentative and I am stepping into this relationship slowly.
I'm taking Intro To Business Management for our first date.
Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The 2012 Olympics logo is wack.

And let me explain how wack it is....

My mother, whom you cannot mutter a sexual joke around without her being confused or offended and I had this conversation after I found the group called "2012 OLYMPIC LOGO LOOKS LIKE LISA SIMPSON GIVING HEAD"

Me: "Oh my God..."
Mom: "What? What?! What's wrong??"
Me: "Oh nothing, it's inappropriate. It's this group on facebook"
Mom: "They have inappropriate stuff on facebook?"
Me: "Well... yeah"
Mom: "I thought everything on was censored on facebook"
Me: "It really depends on who you're friends with"
Mom: "Oh..."
Me: [not wanting my Mom to think I had horribly disgusting and perverted friends] "Well I guess I'll show you.
Mom: [slowly reads the title of the group] Oh wow.... well, I guess now that you mention it.... They need to change it.

Even my mother noticed how offensive this is. And she doesn't understand a lot of offensive things.

London 2012 Olympic games officials absolutely love the design. They think it's hip and vibrant, and attracts the younger crowd because it's magenta.
No, it attracts the younger crowd because the younger crowd is obsessed with sexual jokes.
Chairman Sebastian Coe says:
"We weren't going to come to you with a dull or dry corporate logo that will appear on a polo shirt and we're all gardening in it, in a year's time. This is something that has got to live for the next five years." source
Well, Sebastian Coe may be 100% correct, seeing that it looks like a 12 year old classic cartoon character performing fellatio.
I smell a conspiracy.
Especially since the animated logo causes epilepsy source