The Third Degree

I don’t like having to justify my life to other people – and yet I feel like I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to do just that. It’s not that I have some crazy lifestyle that is so different than most people. It’s more that I haven’t done what would be expected out of someone with my background and means. Nor have I rebelled against it so fully as to be its own way of explanation. I simply “failed to achieve” certain milestones or really have much ‘to show for myself’. Since I’ve never been very vocal against shooting for the things most women in my situation (try to) attain, I guess that means to most people that I want them too and just didn’t succeed. And, to a certain extent, I’ve spent the last few years of my life trying to convince myself that it’s okay that I don’t live my life the way society tells me I should, the way my parents expected, and the way I thought I wanted to for so long.

I’m getting to the point where I realize that what is right for most people isn’t quite right for me. I don’t need to do or need to have certain things in my life to be happy and complete. I don’t have everything figured out yet and am still searching to find the things that do make me feel that way, but I know which things I don’t need and don’t really want either. I have a lot in my life but it’s intangible, inexplicable things. I have time and freedom and I get to move at my own pace. Many people might look at me and think I’m wasting my life but, really, that’s their own values and ideals trying to overlay onto my life. Like trying to measure a ball with a yard stick. Their problem – not mine.

I met Hubby relatively early in my life. (It seemed late at the time to be dating a ‘first boyfriend’ but since he was the one I ended up spending all this time with and I didn’t have to try on a bunch to find a good fit, it could have been much much later and I know many people my age who still haven’t met their person.) It seemed I was on track then to hit all those other markers in life that make one a ‘successful adult’. But I sort of stalled right out of the gate on that front. We did get married eventually, but we never had kids. I never graduated from university and got a career. I didn’t even stick with any one job for very long. Hell, I never even got my driver’s licence! Looking down the adult checklist, I have mostly only unchecked items.

Until recently, that made me feel bad – like I was defective or lacking something. I think it’s because I felt the pressure to be that person that I also felt the need to defend myself, but because I didn’t actually go through with most of it (maybe the pressure wasn’t strong enough or maybe because, deeper within myself, I knew those things weren’t right for me), I had no defence for myself to give.

You wouldn’t think that I’d have to rationalize the way I live my own life to other people since it’s my life, but unfortunately, I have to do it in varying degrees almost constantly. It comes in many forms – from the simplest, benign inquiry of “So, what do you do?”, to the dreaded “When are you guys finally going to have kids?”, to the cringe-worthy “What are you going to do next?”. Luckily, at least my parents seem to have given up on me years ago.

Just today, I was talking to someone I don’t know very well, doing the whole awkward small talk thing I hate so much as she gave me a ride home from lunch. She seems like a nice person and I assume she didn’t mean anything condescending about it but I felt like I was being interrogated about ‘what I’m going to do with my life’ by the questions she was asking me. I think she was waiting for some profound anti-establishment sentiment or at least some evidence that I’m not just a lazy bum and have some sort of justification for taking up space and having fun while other people feel the need to run in the rat race. I have no idea what impression I left her with. I feel fairly certain that, whatever it was, it was underwhelming because that’s how I felt.

The reason I hate this topic so much is because the easiest questions send me back into that insecure mindset where I’m floundering for reasons why I quit school time and again, why I’m not a mother, why I don’t work full time in a job that utilizes any potential I may have, why I’m not out there doing amazing things with all this spare time I have… And if I fully felt shame for that or wanted a life that matched all that criteria, maybe that would be warranted. But it’s just habit that my mind falls backwards like that. It’s not how I truly feel. I leave those conversations angry with myself for giving the other person the idea that I think I’m pathetic or somehow unworthy or whatever. I don’t and I’m not. Actually, I’m … well, maybe not totally, but 80%… okay with my lifestyle. (There are a few things I’d like to change, but we all have that.)

Part of the problem is being backed into the proverbial corner and reverting to defensiveness but another part is my manner of speaking. I tend to talk about myself in a self-deprecating way AND I also use language that downplays the way I think and feel about things. (This has a name but I forget what it is right now.) It’s a bad habit. Words like kind of, sort of, pretty much, a little bit, etc. For instance, if I just cut off my own arms by accident, that would kind of hurt. I come across as blasé, unaffected or ho hum. Everything is meh. (Little tip for those that want to know how I feel about something – you have to read more into what I say to decode what I actually feel. If I say “I’m kinda mad”, that means “I’m fucking pissed.” Haha.)

I could be that passionate, rebellious-sounding person who stages personal revolts against “the man” and refuses to participate in social convention… but that’s not me. I’m not not doing these things to rebel. I’m not making a statement. I’m just living my life.

The last component of the problem is that I have a lot of trouble putting my thoughts and feelings into comprehensible language. Someone may ask me why I do something and even if I know exactly why I do it, I can’t explain it in words and can’t muster the energy to try, so I say “I don’t know”. I do know… but I don’t know how to tell you.

The truth is that I don’t live like most people my age, abilities, and situation because I either don’t want to, don’t feel the need to, or don’t find it important to do so. And I don’t think I owe anyone any more explanation than that.


Posted in personal | 4 Comments

Reviews from My Old Website

A loooooooong time ago, when MSN took over Hotmail and decided to spruce it up and make it prettier, they also expanded and made “communities” where you could pour your heart out online and send all your contacts to view it and interact without having to leave the comfort of your home. The dawn of social media, venturing on from chat rooms and just e-mail.

Obviously pre-Facebook era. Pre-MySpace, which I never took part in. It was also pre-Geocities, which I also had a deep love for way back. Where these old platforms failed and where Facebook succeeded is that no one really made proper use of them. I was all about MSN Communities and Geocities when I discovered them. But, alas, I was the only one who wanted to sit at home alone and spew everything in my head into the abyss in the hopes someone else would see it and respond. (Basically, they were prosaic blog spots ~ which is why I ended up copying everything over from all those places to here.)

Turns out, people DO want to sit at home (or work, or wherever) and waste hours and hours online talking about themselves, but just in small, easily consumable bites size pieces. Well, whatever. I’ll stick to blogging. I actually prefer the lesser amounts of interaction I get from blogging than I would get on Facebook, if I were to beg for attention there. To each their own… I don’t judge. (HA! Yeah, right.)

So if anyone were ever to stumble across this blog and become obsessed with my cleverness and hilarity (*snort*) and actually read all the way back to the beginning (17 years worth of posts here!), they would eventually get to my posts copied from the Communities pages, my Geocities pages, the posts from LiveJournal, and a few more from some other places I don’t recall anymore. Most of it is stupid, diary-type entires about my day or something equally boring, but there are a few in there which outline perfectly how my brain works, what was important to me, and other time capsule-y type peeks into life in the early 2000s. I was equal parts exactly the same as I am now and a completely different person. It’s weird.

And now to the point~ I thought I had copied everything I had already, but I just came across a few more things I hadn’t posted here yet because I didn’t know where (and when) to put them. So, here’s a dump.


MSN Communities had a feature page where you could review books and albums and movies. It was interesting because it wasn’t just your thoughts but other people from your “community” could post also. (You were basically the host to your own pages but other people could contribute. Kind of like Facebook pages now, just with different features.) The only other person in my community that ever posted was my cousin Teena, so all these reviews are from her or myself.

I’m shocked and horrified by my 20-year-old tastes and ideals, but as embarrassing as it is, it’s still part of my personal history. I’m also leaving Teena’s (as Mae West) reviews in here too because she took the time to write them and interact with me this way and I appreciated that.

1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours by Green Day
reviewed by: ME 17/10/2000
I love this album. It’s one of their firsts; made on an independent label. The music is so fun and the lyrics are cute. It’s all about a girl (or girls). I wanna be in a punk band!!

Chrisitna Auguilera by Christina Auguilera
reviewed by: ME 17/10/2000
I don’t like her as a person but she has a wicked voice. This disc is great all the way through. I like all the song but my favourite is Reflections from Mulan. I LOVE that song. It’s so pretty. (I do like it better when Lea Solanga sings it though…. the actual one from the movie.)

Debut Album by The Dandy Warhols
reviewed by: Mae West 23/10/2000
If you enjoy alternative rock and something almost reminiscent, check out these guys. Do it on Napster! This group is one of LA’s hottest new groups!

Enema of the State by Blink 182
reviewed by: ME 17/10/2000
The song “What’s My Age Again?” was stuck in my head one day so I compulsively bought the album. Guess what? Not sorry I did! I really like it. Those guys are just so cute.

Faith by George Michael
reviewed by: ME 21/05/2000
I bought this CD as well. It was, like $18.99 or something. It’s a little bit overpriced for what’s on it. The only REALLY good ones are “Faith” and “I Want Your Sex”. I love those songs.

Hot Show by Prozzäk
reviewed by: ME 25/07/2000
Love this disc. I don’t know what it is about their music I enjoy so much. It’s just so singable. Very fun.

Keep On Movin’ by Soul II Soul
reviewed by: Mae West 17/07/2000
Okay, this is showing my age and perhaps my genre of musical tastes, but this CD is soulful, funky, groovy and full of extremely talented musicians and artists, also known as THE FUNKY DREADS. They are from the UK and are great to listen to when you want to just chill out, light some candles, drive alone in your car, etc. LOVE IT!! (Also check out older De La Soul and Brand New Heavies ~ super funky ‘n cool.)

N.O.R.E. by Noreaga
reviewed by: ME 25/09/2000
First of all, I love his voice. If you hate rap and are offended by a lot of profanity, skip it. If not, totally check it out. I like most of the songs on the album. My favourites are Superthug, Mathematics, and I Love My Life.

No Strings Attached by *Nsync
reviewed by: ME 17/10/2000
Those guys have pretty good voices. I don’t know why I’m so into pop music all of a sudden. Must be the influence of people at work. Anywho, I like most of the songs on the disc, especially the last one. It’s called “I Should Have Known” and it’s a capella. Nice.

Oops!… I Did It Again by Britney Spears
reviewed by: ME 17/10/2000
Yes, I bought it. I couldn’t help it. She’s a cutie. It’s not the greatest album though. Some of the songs are really boring. I hate to admit it but Christina’s is way better.

Pinkerton by Weezer
reviewed by: ME 25/09/2000
This is my FAVOURITE ALBUM OF ALL TIME! I love every single song on it and I know the majority of the songs by heart. I love their music. I love them. They are coming out with a new album soon so look out for that one.

Romeo Must Die by various artists
reviewed by: ME 21/05/2000
This soundtrack is wicked if you like hip hop music. It’s mostly Aaliyah, Timbaland, and DMX but every single song is fun. I don’t own it myself but I will soon.

The Best 80’s Modern Rock Album… Ever! by various artists
reviewed by: ME 17/10/2000
2 CDs packed with 80’s fun. Includes hits like Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, Hold Me Now, Always Something There to Remind Me, Dancing With Myself, Whip It, You Spin Me ‘Round, Sweet Dreams, She Blinded Me With Science, Tainted Love, Don’t You Forget About Me, Addicted to Love, Video Killed the Radio Star, and Safety Dance.

Arsenic and Old Lace starring Carey Grant, Boris Karloff
reviewed by: ME 10/28/02
My mom and sister and I used to watch this movie all the time. It’s a old classic and it’s absolultley halarious. My dad made fun of us but then he sat down to watch and he loved it. Even my brother will watch it with us and laugh his head off. It’s about a man named Mortimer who’s just been married. On the way to Niagara Falls for their honeymoon, they stop by Motrimer’s two old maid aunties’ house . When he finds out about their little secret, and his estranged brother of twenty years shows up, all hell breaks loose. CHARGE!!!!!!!

Autumn In New York starring Richard Gere and Winona Ryder
reviewed by: ME 9/25/00
Apparently the message of this movie is “it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” but watching it totally made me disagree with that popular cliche. It made me never want to fall in love if it just ends up in heartache. And it always will…. even if you spend your entire life with one person, eventually you leave them or they leave you. As was stated in the movie there are only two love stories in the world: Boy meets girl and #1: boy leaves girl -or #2: girl leaves boy. Love sucks!

Being John Malkovich starring John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, John Malkovich
reviewed by: ME 9/25/00
What a WICKED movie! I have never seen a movie with a concept like that before. It was very thought provoking. Quite philosophical and, at times, even profound.

Bounce starring Ben Affleck, Gwenyth Paltrow
reviewed by: ME 1/26/01
Interesting look at honesty in relationships. I liked it a lot. However, being the huge suck that I am, I cried almost through the entire thing. Can you imagine what it must feel like for your husband to die!? Holy bajeezes! It was too much for me to take. Even afterwards in the car on the way home, all I could think about was how lucky I am! Tears of RELIEF! *PUNCH!* “Shut up! It’s sad.”

Charlie’s Angels starring Lucy Liu, Camerson Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Tom Green
reviewed by: ME 1/26/01
Good soundtrack. Terrible acting but I’m pretty sure that’s on purpose. It’s no Crouching Tiger but, hey, it’s always fun to see a cheesy, girl fight movie. Tom Green is the funniest! (Yeah BONES!) Cameron Diaz has a HUGE mouth! She looks like Joker.

Children of the Corn starring Linda Hamilton and some famous guy
reviewed by: ME 10/17/00
This is so NOT scary, but I am scared of the corn maze. I’m supposed to go soon. “But it is forribben. They had games…. and music!” “Do not question me, Mahlikai!” The best part, cause it’s funny, is when the guy tripped when the children were chasing him. It’s the worst, fakest fall I’ve ever seen! Jeannie and I had to rewind it, like, 40 times! Yeah, it’s SO not scary and yet, I had a nightmare about it last night.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon starring Michelle Yeoh, Chow Yun Fat, Zhang ZiYi
reviewed by: ME 10/28/02
This is my favourite movie! It’s beautiful. A perfect blend of martial arts action, romance, captivating acting abilities, and breathtaking cinematography. It takes you into that fantasy world of surreal martial artistry. It brings a new meaning to the phrase “light on your feet”. The costumes are amazing too. I could go on and on…. Instead, watch it and see what I mean. The DVD comes with both English and Mandarin versions for those who can’t take the subtitles. Personally, I prefer to turn off the subtitles and just listen to the musical Mandarin prose. (I have also seen it a gazillion times. Not recommended for first time viewers!)

Cyote Ugly starring Piper Perabo (Tyra Banks is in it for maybe 5 minutes)
reviewed by: ME 8/8/02
Sap and cheese! It was okay but it was just a REALLY CHEESY story. I like the clothes they wear in that bar though. I think I may start dressing like that! (Yeah right! If I was 6 inches taller and had flat abs, I would.)

Down to You starring Freddy Prinze Jr., Julia Stiles
reviewed by: ME 10/17/00
It’s good for a laugh. It like it because it’s stupid.

Fantasia 2000 featuring Steve Martin, Bette Midler, James Earl Jones, Penn and Teller, Angela Lansbury, etc…. oh, and Mickey Mouse
reviewed by: ME 8/8/00
I thought that it was SO cool! The animation was amazing and the stories were really well done. It was similar to the first one but it’s not boring. I hope they eventually put it on video so I can own it.
NOTE: 10/26/02 ~ I did buy it… on DVD.

Get Carter starring Sylvester Stallone, Rachel Leigh Cook, uh…. Pee Wee Herman, that Mickey guy
reviewed by: ME 10/9/00
It was absolutely awful! Don’t bother!

Gone in 60 Seconds starring Nicholas Cage, Giovanni Ribisi, Angelina Jolie
reviewed by: ME 7/8/00
I did not like this movie. Everyone I went with did but I thought it was pretty bad. I HAVE seen worse though. The acting sucked! I must admit, some of those cars were pretty sweet and a couple of stunts were pretty cool but I don’t think of racing cars as action. People racing cars is something I can see on the street everyday. When I watch an action movie, I prefer it to be chase scenes with guns and bombs and stuff. give me some good old JB any day! I didn’t like it but other people might.
*also reviewed by: Kerry 7/8/00
It may have gotten bad reviews but I still say go see it. It’s action all the way through. And when you see the cars, you’ll die!

Hollow Man starring Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth Shue
reviewed by: ME 9/25/00
The effects were pretty cool but that’s about all that was. I think the story had potential but it just seemed to drag on and on. Also, a lot of little details didn’t add up in the end. I hate Kevin Bacon.

Iron Monkey starring some famous Chinese actors that I don’t know the names of
reviewed by: ME 10/28/02
I know, I know…. Me and my martial arts movies! It’s good though. One of the first DVDs I ever bought. It’s about a Robin Hood type of hero in China early 1800’s who was to be a profound influence on a the very young Wong Fei Hung, China’s most beloved hero. It has great fight scenes, lots of humour, girls who know martial arts, and…. best of all, in my opinion, it’s in Cantonese (a rarity these days… All movies coming out of China are now in Mandarin). And yes, it has an English version and/or subtitles.

Joy Luck Club starring Ming Na (Mulan), Keiko from Star Trek TNG, Julie from Friends, other well known Hollywood Chinese girls
reviewed by: ME 10/28/02
I LOVE this movie! It also makes my list of favourites. I like the Chinese aspect of course, but it’s really a story of mother/daughter relationships and how, with the best intentions, your mom can really mess you up but you love her anyway. It’s a tearjerker.

Keeping the Faith starring Jenna Elfman, Ben Stiller, Edward Norton
reviewed by: ME 8/8/00
I went to see it the night before last with my brother. What a cute movie! I laughed, I cried…. (Not necessarily better than Cats but I’ve never seen Cats). It had the best line I’ve ever heard. “God was showing off when he made you.” Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

Kung Pow: Enter the Fist
reviewed by: ME 10/28/02
This is, by far, one of the WORST movies I’ve ever seen! ALL the parts that are even remotely funny are on the trailers so don’t bother watching it. You’ve already seen the mediocre parts. The rest is PURE CRAP!!!!

Loser starring Jason Biggs, either Mena Souvari or Thora Birch (I forget which)
reviewed by: ME 8/2/00
It was alright. From the previews, you’d be expecting a movie with the same type of humour as American Pie but it wasn’t that in-your-face-fall-off-your-seat kind of funny. There were amusing parts but it’s mostly just a girlie highschool movie. I’d be more apt to compare it to She’s All That. It’s that kind of gooshy story. I also though more could’ve been done with the plot. It was okay though. Just don’t watch it with too high expectations.

Love and Basketball starring Omar Epps
reviewed by: ME 1/26/01
Loved it! Not what I was expecting at all. It really was about love and basketball. A good mix of both, I think. The last half hour or so is pretty sad but it ends well so hang in there. It’s oh-so-cute!

Magnolia starring Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, more Boogie Nights stars
reviewed by: MAE WEST 9/25/00
As the cousins sat down to a feast of homemade nachos (yum yum!), we prepared ourselves for what looked like a verrrrry loooooonnng movie. BUT WAIT!!!…. This movie may confuse the attention deficit disordered minds (PAY ATTENTION) but the messages here are quite profound. Karen didn’t seem to like it too much…. thought there was too much emotion and crying, but I was completely moved by the characters, the facade of the modern man (and woman) and the inner remorse and guilt one feels during a time of death. there is quite a twist, or should I say “rain” storm at the end that may befuddle or entertain those who like this “Pulp Fictionesque” cinematic display! ENJOY!!
NOTE: ~Karen says~ I didn’t think there was too much emotion. That’s all fine. I just thought the movie was retarded!!

Meet the Parents starring Ben Stiller, Robert de Niro
reviewed by: ME 10/17/00
It was hilarious! SOOOOOO funny and yet stressful to watch. You’ll love the volleyball game and the flight attendant parts. And stay for the credits. They’re funny too! I still think the best part is: “I’ll keep it on the lowdown.” “Downlow.” “No doubt!” You’ll laugh through the entire movie and at the same time, all you can say is “OH NO!”

Notting Hill starring Juila Roberts, Hugh Grant
reviewed by: ME 11/12/00
This movie is supercute and superfunny. I don’t know what it is about those British people, but they really make me laugh. I think the best part is the one pertaining to “whoopsie daisies”. “Because who says that?” “No one has said that for about 50 years and even then it was only little girls with blonde ringlets.” Um, yeah…. you just have to see it. I saw it twice in theatres. First with my roomie a week before I moved away, then with my brother two days after I moved. I’ve rented it three times since and now I own it.

Pay It Forward starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, Haley Joel Osment
reviewed by: ME 1/26/01
Another sad one. Great concept for a story! It’s too bad that kid is so annoying. Why doesn’t he ever close his mouth. Can’t he breathe through his nose?! And here comes the “deep thought” face! Why does he always look like he about to cry? I adore Kevin Spacey! Even all burned up, what a cute man!

Road Trip starring Tom Green, Breckin Meyer, guy from American Pie who’s name I don’t know, some guy who looks like Joey from NKOTB ‘cept cuter, Rachel Blanchard, whatever….
reviewed by: ME 6/14/00
Saw it. Laughed my ASS OFF!

Romeo Must Die starring Jet Li, Aaliyah
reviewed by: ME 9/25/00
I happen to love kung-fu movies with stupid plots. Now, this is a no thinking involved movie but its fun. Everyone, once in awhile, has to sit back, turn off the brain and watch some good ol’ fashioned karate ass kickin’! As it turns out, Aaliyah is quite a good actress. The special effects when people die (or break) are interesting to see.
Update: 10/26/02 ~ What?! It has a good plot! I love this movie!! I own it. It’s about family honour and racism. Great soundtrack too. And I’m so sad that Aaliyah is gone!

Rush Hour starring Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker
reviewed by: ME 11/12/00
Funny. Good. I like it. (I WAS dumped right after seeing it for the first time so I should have negative memories attached to it, but I don’t.) It’s Jackie! No one can ruin a JC movie for me! He’s my favourite. I love him!!

Scary Movie starring Wayans bros., Jan from Brady Bunch, chick from American Pie, BRIEF cameo by Carmen Elecktra
reveiwed by: ME 8/2/00
It’s quite amusing. It’s totally in your face and graphic. I honestly didn’t know you could put things like that in a PG movie! You really have to watch a lot of TV to understand ALL the allusions but you’d have to be from a distant planet not to get any of them. I still think, no matter what anyone else says, that the funniest part is the “wassup” scene.

Shanghai Noon starring Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Lucy Lui
reviewed by: ME 10/1700
Pretty funny once the movie is half over. It takes awhile to get good but it does.

Shiri starring Korean actors
reviewed by: ME 10/28/02
If you don’t like foreign movies with subtitles, I’d say skip it. If you don’t mind the strain, and you are interested in Korean, go for it. It’s a story about a guy who has to find out the identity of a sniper. Sounds boring but throw in some siamese fighting fish, a girlfriend, some wicked martial arts scenes, bombs, guns, and plastic surgery and you’re in for a real treat! When I saw it, I cried throught the entire last half hour. Most people wouldn’t even find it sad, so don’t worry.

Sleepless in Seattle starring Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, Rosie O’Donnell, Bill Pullman
reviewed by: ME 10/28/02
In my top five, for sure. Fluff and nonsense. What love really should be! My definition of a great chick flick. Fly across the country and fall in love with someone you’ve never met….. on Valentine’s Day on top of the Empire State Building no less!

The Big Kahuna starring Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito
reviewed by: ME 7/25/00
I saw this movie last night with Teena, Heather, and Joel. They didn’t like it but I did. I think it had just the right mix of philosophy and humour. The movie follows three men and their conversations throughout the course of the behind-the-scenes events of the day. They share their opinions about life, death, love, religion, and honesty. I thought the entire scene envolving the wonder of that bathroom was halarious! Also, Kevin Spacey’s cute.

The Colour Purple starring Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah, many more
reviewed by: MAE WEST 7/17/00
I have seen this beautiful, epic story of the struggle of a young black girl named Celie in the early 1920’s about six times and I still cry, laugh, and clap my hands whenever I see it again. Oh, this is truly one of Steven Spielberg’s well-rounded, emotionally heart-wrenching and visual movies I have yet to see! The cinematography is OUTSTANDING!! If you have a sister, you’ll understand the moment you feel the tug of your siblings strings. If you have known or have experienced any form of abuse, this is an eye opener at how these young women overcome life’s obstacles. STORY OF STRENGTH!! Two thumbs up and an OH MY GAWD for The Colour Purple.

The Empire of the Sun starring Christian Bale
reviewed by: ME 4/1/01
I watched this movie for the second time last night and decided, when it was over, that I never want to watch it again. I like the Japanese stuff (of course) but I don’t think the movie has much of a point. To me it’s just a coming-of-age-during-the-war movie about a bratty little rich kid. He doesn’t really learn anything. You may think that he’ll eventually win over the older guy who he wants to be his friend….but he doesn’t. Ahh…. it makes me mad! Maybe I’m just missing it?

The Lord of the Rings starring Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler, Ian McKellen, Kate Blanchet, bad agent from Matrix, etc.
reviewed by: ME 7/10/03
If I had read the books first before watching the two films that are out already (third one come out at Christmas!!), I would’ve imagined the setting of the story just like how they present it to you in the movie but my imagination probably isn’t as vivid. I believe these movies (I count them as one) to be a cinematic masterpiece. Tolkien put an unimaginable amount of detail into his novels and I believe as much painstaking hard work was put into the direction of the film versions. The acting is great, costumes are incredible, sets and phenomenal, and effects… the coolest! P.S. Does Elijah Wood ever get any older?

What Lies Beneath starring Harrison Ford, Michelle Phiffer
reviewed by: ME 8/2/00
Scared the bajeezes out of me! I honestly cannot remember the last time I was so scared during a movie. Good story. Well directed too. (Yeah Spielberg!) Mmmm. I love Harrison Ford!

Where the Heart Is starring Natalie Protman, Ashley Judd, Stockard Channing
reviewed by: MAE WEST 7/17/00
I saw this movie with my sister and we both shed tears, but at different parts. It is truly a heart-warming tale of a young, pregnant woman from the South who is ditched by her scum-sucking boyfriend, at Walmart. In desperation, she sneaks into Walmart and lives there for brief period until she gives birth. There is so much more to the story but it’s definitley worth seeing. Some may call it a “chick flick” but I do believe that some guys might really like it. SEE IT!! RENT IT!! FEEL IT!! Two thumbs up!

You’ve Got Mail starring Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks
reviewed by: ME 11/12/00
The dynamic duo reunites. I ADORE this movie! It’s my new favourite. It’s cheesy, “fluffy”, and predictable but I love it. Its so sweet. Meg is the best. When I’m in the mood for it, it makes me cry.

A Brief History About Time by Stephen Hawkins
reviewed by: Fox 02/10/2000
*Oh, apparently my friend Fox did a review too!
Wow, what can I say? This guy is amazing! Some of his theories are just mind boggling. He talks about time travel, worm holes, and other cosmic stuff. When you read this book you have to realize this is all coming from the smartest man in the world. His IQ is 270! All in all, I highly recommend this book!

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb
reviewed by: ME 02/08/2000
I am going to owe the library a fortune for this book. It was due at the end of July and I’ve only read the first five chapters. It’s 887 pages! How’d they expect me to read it in three weeks! (I probably could have but I only started a few days before the due date.) So far, it’s good. IT’S FUNNY! Quite profane at times but all in context. The thing that is so good about it is that it’s real. The train of thought is real and the story, although quite unusual, is believable. The characters are complex and you can identify with their emotions. Life isn’t all happiness or struggles that are rewarded. Sometimes life sucks and you play the hand you were dealt. I’m only a few chapters in and it’s already made me cry.

Memoirs of a Giesha by Arthur Golden
reviewed by: ME 20/06/2000
WICKED book! Of course, coming from me, the Asian Wannabe. But still, it’s awesome. Well written. Has all the elements. Suspense, pathos, any other word I can remember from highschool English. It’s a definte page-turner.

Miss One Thousand Spring Blossoms by John Ball
reviewed by: ME 01/05/2000
I read this book a little while ago. It’s about a guy (complete geek) who goes over to Japan on business and meets and falls in love with a geisha. It’s a good ol’ sappy love story but at the same time, it’s very culturally accurate. It’s also well written and one of those books that I can’t put down.

ROOTS by Oops – I forgot…
reviewed by: Mae West 25/09/2000
I was only a little fart when this book was made into a made for TV week long movie. If you have ever had any curiousities about the history of the beginning of the Slave Era in America – this will knock your socks off! Extremely emotional and descriptive. The story of Kunta Kinte will definitely move you. I did, however, find the ending to be a little dryer and less involved that the rest of the book, but I still want to rent the movies to remember what I saw through a crack in the wall when I was young.

The Dance of Anger by Harriet Goldhor Lerner
reviewed by: Mae West 23/10/2000
Okay…take a deep breath, relax and pay attention to the content in this book, if you make the choice to read it. Karen’s mum (I love you, Auntie Root) lent this book to me last year and I finally made myself read it whilst in my current relationship (I love you, too, Joel!). Beneath the title, the caption states “A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships”, but this book should be read to every male and female member of everyone’s family.
You know how frustrating it is when you seem to have the same argument/dispute/nail-biting/tear-shedding moment with someone you care about. And it all started because they didn’t do the dishes…or do what YOU said. Every chapter in this book takes various “case studies” of everyday people who experience these moments and offer sound words of clarity.
Where does our anger stem from? Sometimes the root of our problems aren’t always so obvious…and sometimes they are blatantly so. So, for those of you who want to learn how to understand yourself, your reactions to situations and other’s behaviours, take the time to read this book.
“The problems arise when we are excessively reactive to other people’s problems, when we assume responsibility for things that we are not responsible for, and when we atempt to control things that are not in our control. When we overfunction for another individual, we end up very angry, and in the process, we facilitate the growth of no one.” (pg.139 Chapter “Who’s Responsible for What?”)

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日本語: Basic Japanese

The best way for me to learn (and retain) something is to ‘teach’ other people. Since I can’t afford going to school right now but don’t want to give up on my goals, I’m trying to study Japanese on my own for awhile. Basically, I’m watching my old lectures of my first year university course (I took video on my shitty camera) and making notes.

After years and years of taking the basics over and over and over again, I think I have a pretty solid grasp on the initial lessons. Like, I could teach the first few weeks myself! One benefit of not progressing very far early on was that I had several different sensei and several different approaches to the first things you should know. I have taken all of it and tried to organize it in what I consider to be the preliminary lesson, covering everything a beginner should learn.

Here it is:

Japanese makes use of 3 different types of writing: Hiragana (round shape), Katakana (boxy shape), Kanji (more complex – Chinese characters)

Both Hiragana and Katakana are derived from Kanji, but they are both phonetic symbols and have no meaning. Kanji characters always have meaning. One kanji may have several different meanings which you have to decipher through context.

Hiragana ひらがな
-used for words, particles, inflectional morphemes (ending of a verb or adjective, etc. – where the “stem” is in Kanji but the ending is in Hiragana)

Katakana カタカナ
-foreign words (like your name), loan words from other languages

Kanji 漢字

All 3 scripts are used in 1 sentence.
レストラン     で     寿司       と        うどん     を     食べます.
restaurant       at      sushi     and     udon                   eat.
(I’ll eat sushi and udon at a restaurant.)

Three different scripts to learn may seem tiring. 仕様が無い. (Shouganai. “It can’t be helped.”)

It helps with understanding because Japanese doesn’t use spaces between words in writing.

In English, it’s very difficult to read.

But in Japanese, it’s easy.

If it were written all in hiragana, it would be difficult even for native Japanese speakers to read.

Note: There is also a 4th script used – Romaji (English letters). It’s mostly used only stylistically.

Hiragana and Pronunciation
There are 5 vowel sounds in Japanese – A (ah), I (ee), U (oo), E (eh), O (oh)

On their own, they are short, almost clipped sounds.

When they are written doubled, they are longer. (Example: aaaaaah)

The long vowels are written in Romaji (English letters) as AA, II, UU, EI, and OU. (Note: EI is still pronounced as “ehhhhh” and OU is pronounced as “ohhhhhhh” – not like they would be in English.)

There are consonant sounds that are paired with each of the vowels (example: ka, sa, ta, etc.)


handy hiragana chart from JapanesePod101

Consonants are never by themselves without a vowel after it, except ん (n).

ん can never begin a word.

In the “i” line, both s and t rows have an exception. There is no “si” – it’s “shi”. There is no “ti” – it’s pronounced “chi”.

In the “u” line, row t has an exception. There is no “tu” – it is pronounced “tsu”.

In the “u” line, row h is pronounced as “fu” (but not quite as in English – the teeth don’t touch the lips).

The regular consonants are the K, S, T, N H, M, Y, and R lines and わ、を、ん. These make up the 46 basic characters.

K, S, T, and H are considered “voiceless”. When you add a marker to the upper right corner, they change to their voiced counterparts. K line becomes G line. S line becomes Z (exception “shi” changes to “ji”). T line becomes D (exception – the “i” and “u” lines are the same production as in the Z row: “ji” and “zu”). The H line becomes B or P (the only line with a circle marker).

That adds another 25 characters (adding up to 71).

The Y line has nothing in the “i” or “e” row.

R is not pronounced like in English. It’s a “soft R” and sounds more like something between R and L.

The W line only has “wa”. The character in the “o” line is pronounced the same as お, and is only used as a particle.

There are “glided sounds”. These are made with a combination of the “i” row – using K, G, S, Z (ji), T, N, H, B, P, M and R lines – and a small “ya”, “yu” or “yo”. Example: “ki”き + small “ya” ゃ = kya. きゃ

That adds another 33 characters, bringing the total to 104.

There are also “stopped sounds” (but they don’t count as their own characters). A small “tsu” before characters from the K, S, T and P lines create a small pause or lengthening of the consonant sound. They are written in Romaji as a double consonant. Examples: kitte きって (stamp), isshoni いっしょに (together), ippai いっぱい (one bottle)

*Katakana is exactly the same as hiragana (functionally speaking), but is used for a different purpose. Every hiragana character has a corresponding katakana character. To put it simply, hiragana is used for words of Japanese original and katakana is used for words of foreign origin.


katakana chart

**I can – and probably will at a later date – go in to much greater detail about phonetic Japanese characters.

Parts of Speech
Japanese has the following parts of speech:
-particles (postpositional)

Basic Word Order
subject           verb            object
James             ate              bananas.

subject                  object               verb
Jeemazu  (ga)     banana  (o)     tabeta.
James                   banana(s)        ate.

This is the major difference between Japanese and English.

What if you switch the order of verb and object?
Bananas ate James. No.

What if you switch the order of subject and object?
バナナ を ジェームズ が たべた。Still okay.

You have to pay attention to what follows the noun. “が” and “を” are particles. The role of a noun is indicated by particles. “を” indicates the noun is the object of the sentence. “が” indicates the subject.

It is very important to know the function of particles. If there are switched, the entire meaning of the sentence will change. (Bananas ate James.)

Word order in Japanese is flexible due to the use of particles.

However, the one solid rule is that the predicate always comes at the end of a sentence (usually a verb, sometimes a noun phrase). Why? There is no particle for predicates.

Think of a Japanese sentence as a train. Without an engine, a train does not go. The “engine” or predicate comes at the end of a sentence. It contains the tense, negative or positive, and question. The engine can be noun, verb, or adjective.

A train can be as simple as just the engine. Example: たべました。(I) Ate.
Or it can be more complex with many cars. Example: あした たなかさん と レストラン で すし と うどん を たべました。Yesterday, (I) ate sushi and udon with Mr. Tanaka.

The “cars” of the sentence are modifications. There can be many cars or none at all. Cars are joined together with particles following the modified word.

7じ    に           ともだち と              あいます。
(time)    (particle)  (person)    (particle)    (action)

どうぶつえん で              パンダ  を              みたい です。
(place)                (particle)     (object)   (particle)     (action)

Word Omission
In Japanese, words are sometimes omitted if the meaning is clear without them.

English: I went to school today.

Japanese: きのう がっこう へ いった。

In the example sentence, the subject is missing because “I” am saying the sentence. It is obvious I am talking about myself.

English: Did you go to school yesterday?

Japanese: きのう がっこう へ いった?

It is obvious that I am asking about “you”.

If I were talking about someone else, I would have to say that to make the meaning known.

*We do this in English too, but only in a very casual/slang way. (“Go to school yesterday?”) In Japanese, it can still be polite based on the language used.

This, That, That Over There
There are three ways to refer to something. “This” is close (or held by) the speaker. “That” is close to the listener. “That over there” is a distance from both the speaker and listener.

Generic – can be used alone
これ this thing それ that thing あれ that thing over there
Example: これ は あかい です。This (thing) is red.

Specific – must be followed by a noun
この(N) this specific noun その(N) that specific noun あの(N) that specific noun over there
Example: この りんご は あかい です。This apple is red.

“This is a pen.”

です = is

これ  は                                          ペン     です。
This     (particle marking topic)       pen       is.

This is the basic sentence structure all beginner Japanese students are taught. Any simple sentence can be composed by interchanging the vocabulary.

わたし は                  カナダじん です。
I             (particle)        Canadian         am.

きょう は             あつい です。
Today     (particle)       hot            is.

To change to a question – Is today hot? – the question particle か is added at the end of the sentence.
きょう は あつい です か。

There are many particles. They modify the nouns or phrases they proceed.

To expand on a simple sentence, only a few particles are needed.

は topic (pronounced wa)
が subject                                わたし  アニメ  すき です。
を object                                 ラーメン  たべます。
に in/at                                10じ  ねます。
で by/at                                ちかてつ  きます。
へ toward (pronounced e)   うち  かえります。
の relationship to               いもうと  ほん です。
と with/and    いもうと  あに が います。/    いもうと  えいが を みます。
も also                                     いもうつ  め が あおい です。

Present affirmative   です                                        たべます
Present negative        じゃ ありません               たべません
Past affirmative         でした                                       たべました
Past negative                 じゃ ありませんでした      たべませんでした

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Ah. What to do?


I’ve been working really hard on editing pictures from our trip to Japan 2 years ago. I am determined to blog about the entire trip! Days 0-6 are posted already and Day 7 is almost done. That means I’m half done.

But I’ve run in to a problem.

This is a free account from WordPress. It has a limited amount of media you can upload. And, as of right now, I’m at 80% capacity already. Granted, I moved all my blog posts from everywhere I ever posted online for the last 17ish years. That’s a lot of crap – but for the most part, a good chunk of the majority of pictures come from the 2 trips to Japan.

Now I’m wondering what I should do – should I move all the Japan trip posts to another free account and continue from there? That’s an unfathomable amount of work since I already moved most of them from the original blog on Blogger. Ugh. I don’t want to go through that again. And I’d really rather keep all my shit together in one spot.

Another option is just to upgrade. Pay whatever money to the powers that be of useable internet space and have all the room I want to continue to waste bytes with my rambling, incoherent posts that hardly anyone but me reads. But money is super tight right now. I don’t really want to do that either. If it was just a one time fee, that would be fine, but I think it’s an annual thing. Not sure. Have to look more into that.

The third option, I guess, would be to upload the pictures elsewhere, like Flickr or something, and then embed the URLs in my posts. But because the posts are mostly pictures with little text… that also seems like a colossal hassle.



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Random Questions

1. Favourite season?


“OMG. Fall is so long. I wish it was over,” said no one ever. 🍁🍂  #iloveautumn

2. Last time you cried?
last night

3. Pop or water?
water… with tea in it


4. What is your favourite lunch meat?


5. Longest relationship?
16.5 years

6. Do you still have your tonsils?
I assume so

7. Would you bungee jump?

8. How many years at current job?
8 months

9. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?


10. Rollercoasters?

11. Favourite ice cream?
chocolate chip cookie dough, ginger


12. Favourite thing to do?

13. Football or baseball?

14. Dress pants or jeans?

15. What are you listening to?
old Japanese lectures

16. Favourite colour?

17. Tattoos?

18. Married?
almost 10 years

19. Hair colour?
naturally brown with several pretty ‘mermaid’ colours interspersed

20. Eye colour?
greenish blueish

21. Favourite food?

22. Scary movies or happy?
don’t care as long as it’s interesting

23. Android or iPhone?
have = android (Samsung Galaxy S4), want = iPhone (6+)

24. Chevy, Ford or Dodge?
None. Give me a Japanese made car.

25. Favourite holiday?
??? Hanami?


26. Night owl or morning person?
Would you think I was lying if I said I’m a morning person

27. Favourite day of the week?
no preference

28. Favourite spot for vacation?

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42 Questions I’ve Probably Never Been Asked (Not Really)

I just came across ANOTHER quiz tag thing in my drafts. My friend tagged me on Facebook back in November, I think. I filled this one out on January 3rd but didn’t post it because there have been SO MANY quizzes on my blog lately and not much else. I’m trying to intersperse these between my own thoughts, but brain power is slow lately. Sorry.

Anyway~ this one was titled “42 things you’ve probably never been asked” yet half the questions are repeats. Oh well. Learn a few things about me or just refamiliarize yourself with things you’ve already heard.

1. First thing you wash in the shower?
my face

2. What color is your favorite hoodie?
charcoal grey

3. Do you plan outfits?
when necessary (for fancy times)

4. How are you feeling right now?

5. What’s the closest thing to you that is red?
I think there is some red in the paintings by the bed.

6. Tell me about the last dream you remember having?
A customs boarder guard was telling me I should always sit in the back because my boobs are too big and it makes me ugly.

7. Did you meet anybody new today?
It’s 9:45pm and I just woke up.

8. What are you craving right now?

9. What comes to mind when you think of cabbage?
Japanese food 🍲

10. Have you ever counted to 1,000?
many times – I do it to fall asleep

11. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it?
bite from a bowl, lick a cone

12. Do you like your hair?
I like my hair’s potential.

13. Do you like yourself?

14. Would you go out to eat with George W. Bush?

15. What are you listening to right now?

16. Are your parents strict?
(were*) I guess

17. Would you go sky diving?
no fucking way

18. Do you like cottage cheese?
in lasagna – otherwise, not sure

19. Have you ever met a celebrity?

20. Do you listen to music often?

21. Is there anything sparkly in the room you’re in?
Uhh… probably. But it’s very dark in here and I can’t see anything.

22. Have you made a prank phone call?

23. Ever been on a train?

24. Brown or white eggs?
IDGI. Is this an American thing? Aren’t all eggs the same on the inside?

25. Do you use Chapstick?

26. Can you use chop sticks?
Seriously?! I’m always baffled by people who can’t.

27. Are you too forgiving?
probably not forgiving enough

28. Ever been in love?

29. Last time you cried?
For a quiz that claims “questions you’ve probably never been asked”, they should do their research. This is in every quiz. And now I can’t remember. It’s been a few days.
*note added later: If this was written January 3rd, the answer would have been 2 days. I cried when we watched Rogue One on NYE.

30. What was the last question you asked?
I have no idea. This quiz would be better answered not while I’m still in bed.

31. Favorite time of the year?
fall, I guess

32. Ever broken a bone?

33. Are you sarcastic?
no more than anyone else

34. Ever walked into a wall?

35. Favorite color?
Isn’t this the most common question ever to ask? Green.

36. Have you ever slapped someone?

37. Is your hair curly?
stick straight with a lot of frizz

38. Do looks matter?

39. Do you like your life right now?

40. Do you sleep with the fan on?
This must be another American question. LOL. I sleep with the heat or a/c on. There is no fan.

41. Can you handle the truth?

42. Do you have good vision?

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My Love for PUFFY

Note to start: NOT referring to Puff Daddy/Puffy/P. Diddy. As far as I’m concerned, he stole the name from these two.

One night, way back in 2001, I was awake late into the wee hours (as normal) and I was watching TV in bed. Back when Much Music still played music videos, I guess they had a segment late at night where they played videos from around the world. I just happened to turn it on when a video for a Japanese girl duo was playing. I can’t link it to YouTube, because it’s been taken down since I stole it but I have a copy saved on my hard drive. At the time, it just struck me as so weird and awesome. And I loved their style and look. I must have written down the name of the duo and song because I spent a few years searching for it every time we upgraded our computers and new music sharing sites came up.

Eventually, as I said, the music video surfaced on YouTube where I snagged it and also found a bunch of other songs by PUFFY (known as Puffy AmiYumi in North America, due to the copyright confusion with Sean Combs and his ever-changing name). I fell absolutely in love with the pair. They are so cute and their style was like nothing I heard in western music. I am uncertain of the exact years, but I know it was while I was living in my apartment (so between 2003-2006), I tracked down most of their albums on Ebay and had them sent from Japan. Although they had already passed their most active phase and the albums were already pretty old by the time I was listening to them, I can credit PUFFY with starting me on my search for accessible J-Pop.

puffy de rumba.JPG

Even though I have quite a collection of Japanese pop music spanning several decades (albeit not even close to well-rounded), I have yet to hear anything like them and they still remain one of my favourite duos of all time. I miss them.

Here’s a live version of that song that captured me as a fan, so you can at least have a taste.

And here is a link to someone else’s blog post with more information about PUFFY.

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