Category Archives: Random

Thank. God. It’s. Friday. If God keeps a tally of how many times he gets called out per day, I’d guess that Friday is winning. Friday is the pinnacle of the week, the day we count down to, the light at the end of the tunnel. All the blood, sweat, and tears that we shed throughout the week is forgotten with the resplendent reward of Friday, the start of our weekend (…sorry investment bankers, this does not apply to you). Thus, FRESH is BACK Fridays will celebrate this great day by giving you our “Random Thoughts on…” series. It could be Random Thoughts on Pancakes. It could be Voicemail Ettiquette. It could be Kung Fu, Electric Staplers, or the Oedipean Complex. It could be Your Mom (we promise we’ll be gentle). We will also ask you to chime in with our Question of the Week. The best answers will be compiled and displayed in our Sunday mailbag, along with the best of your comments throughout the week. And that’s it. Fridays are supposed to be lighthearted and fun and that’s what we’ll make it… after all, it’s God’s day.

Yes, Girls Are Crazy

“I’m not like other girls.” – Every girl

You meet a girl.

At first, she seems perfectly normal.  She’s pleasant and sweet.  She goes with you on long walks beside the river.  She even listens politely to your dull work stories—you know, the one about the copier being broken all day, and what kind of office is this?!  But then, as time passes, things start to change.  Maybe she begins lashing out for no good reason.  Maybe her mood fluctuates as wildly as her appetite.  Maybe her fun-loving self deteriorates so that you can barely coax out a dead-eye smile.  Pretty soon, you must admit that the inevitable has happened.  Your perfect, sweet, beautiful girl has contracted bovine spongiform encephalopathy.  Because your girl is a cow.  And the bitch has got what’s more commonly known as Mad Cow Disease.

Stretch?

Image

Not really.  Because even though (most) girls aren’t cows, at some point in her dating life, every otherwise-normal human girl will do something absolutely, embarrassingly, crazy.  You think everything is going great, and then, all of a sudden, BAM!  Mad Cow.  And now your once-cool girlfriend is a hyperventilating mess of tears and screaming and excruciatingly-long text messages.   Just as the neurological Mad Cow Disease incubates for years inside the minds of cattle, so too does a girl’s doubts.  Her insecurities.  Her fears.  (Inside her own mind, not the minds of cattle.  Poor parallelism there, but you get it.)  And every now and then, without warning or even provocation, the festering disease will emerge, resulting in furious acts of girl-gone-crazy.

Like my friend Ashley.*  She was dating a guy for just two weeks, but if he didn’t respond to her text message within fifteen minutes, she would drive by his house to see if he was home.  Or my friend Katie.  She “accidentally” left a running tape recorder at her boyfriend’s house just to glean information about what he wanted for his birthday.  Or my friend Jen.  She created a fake online persona on Facebook and Twitter, topped the profiles with a Google-Imaged chick in a bikini, and started trying to virtually seduce her boyfriend to see if he would cheat.

These aren’t just desperate, psychotic, fugly-faced girls.  These are attractive, intelligent women with careers and previously-functioning cerebral cortexes.  It’s just that, for whatever reason, they spun off and went a little nuts.  Okay, fine, maybe a lot nuts.

So how do you respond to the crazy?  There are two options.  The first option is to recognize that all girls are a bit crazy, and that all girls will inevitably suffer from bouts of relationship-induced temporary insanity.  And come on, you’ve got to admit that part of it is your fault too (maybe?).  So, you learn to accept it.  You soldier on through because you love her, and you hope that this too shall pass, and hey, you’re not getting any younger either, so she’s probably like the best you can do anyway.

The second option is to bring your girl out on an idyllic countryside drive, take her hand in a remote meadow, and then chop her head off.

So, yeah… Option 2, right?

—-

* Names changed to protect the innocent and I swear one of them is not me.

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This Hard Knock Life

Growing up, I had two life goals.  The first was to own a half-dog, half-monkey that I would call a “donkey” (pronounced “dunky”).  The second was to become a Grammy-winning, multiplatinum rap star.  Needless to say, I have failed on both accounts, rendering my life, so far, an abject failure.  But while my dream of owning a donkey may be a biological impossibility, my rap dream lives on.  So for all you record execs out there, reach for a tissue box — This is my story.

I. LI’L GANGSTA

In 1997, I bought the cassette tape of the album No Way Out by Puff Daddy and the Family.  It was the first piece of music that I had ever owned, which made it all the more special. Despite its explicit content, the album spoke exclusively to the sensibilities of Asians with money-grubbing tunes (“It’s All About the Benjamins”), internationalist flavor (“Been Around the World”), and slow, lispy talkers (Mase, who became my personal favorite member of the Family).  It was also an added bonus that when Mase rapped about “living in tenements”, “tenements” sounded an awful lot like “Tiananmen,” which I used when arguing with my Chinese parents over the artistic merits of what they believed was devil music.

Despite my parents’ objections, I started secretly collecting tapes (and later CDs) of rappers like Mase, B.I.G., Tupac, Jay-Z, and yes, even Ja Rule.  I printed out lyrics and kept them in a 101 Dalmations folder, trying to cover my rap obsession as innocuously as I could.  I began going to Barnes and Noble just to read The Source magazine.  For my eighth-grade art project, I did a pencil drawing of Tupac.  In music class, I played a censored version of Juvenile’s “Back That Azz Up” as my contribution to the list of the “best songs of all-time” (the other nominees included a crapload of Beatles/Stones/Elvis nonsense).

I spent most of my time, however, just huddling with my Walkman (and later, Sony Discman).  I practiced rapping, channeling my no-good, big-tyme, gangsta self (rap name, Li’L T, with capital letters exactly like tHaT).  Sure, I was a twelve-year old Asian girl from the suburbs who had never been shot at, but I had faithful dreams of rap stardom.  I wasn’t trying to be nobody’s hero — I just wanted to be heard.1

II. THE DISILLUSIONING REALITY

On December 11, 1997, I wrote a letter to the editors of NBA Inside Stuff in which I asked them to put me in touch with Penny Hardaway, Stephon Marbury, and Grant Hill.  I thought that once I developed a correspondence with my favorite basketball players 2, I could ask them to join my new rap venture, tentatively called The Chop Suey Bunch.  My solo act as Li’L T was going nowhere: I’d already penned a handful of songs, but I was getting very little traction outside of middle school.  Thankfully, I’d become socially aware enough to understand that awkward-Asian-girl-rapping was never going to become a phenomenon, so I had to find a worthy performer to “spit my rhymes” (if I couldn’t rap, I had to make up for it with ghetto-talk).

Thus, I turned my attention towards recruiting performers to lend me their street cred.  They would be the ones to perform my songs, go on tour, and wear balloon pants in a strobe-light-filled music video.  And honestly, who wouldn’t want to rap to these lyrics?

(The following are verses from actual raps I wrote. Keep in mind I was 12 or 13, and obviously really weird. Special thanks to my dad for keeping these embarrassing computer files in a folder labeled “Teresa Raps”.)

JOE SHMOE
I look in my fridge / It’s really kind of gross
Mold is growing on the bread / Like the kind on my toes
Oh there is a squeak / I know it’s a mouse
They’re always in the fridge / And all around my house
I hear a huge snort / Sounds like a person I know
But it’s really my dog / His name is Joe Shmoe

THIS WORLD
I was born in Indiana / On May 26th I came out screaming
Everyone was happy / Everyone was beaming
‘Cause I came into the world
‘Cause I came into the world
Everyone was happy
‘Cause I came into the world

As you can see, I had immense talent (and ego, as evidenced by “This World”).  But after months of waiting, I never heard back from NBA Inside Stuff, or any of the other would-be performers (Chris Rock, Shaq, and the editors of The Source) I reached out to.  Their implicit rejection was disheartening.  It was also a wake-up call.

III. NO WAY OUT

By the summer of 1999, my rap dreams were pretty much over.  I’d just started high school, Mase had gone into retirement, and a cutie-white-boy band called N’Sync had become my new obsession.  My experiment with rap looked merely like a passing phase, allowing my parents to finally exhale.

They should have known, though, that weird teenage phases never die.  And that’s what’s great about phases–much like rap in the 90s, they embody the naivete of youth, encouraging our older, wiser selves to reconnect with our silly young dalliances.  So even though I failed to achieve commercial success as a hip-hop star, now, more than ten years later, I still have an eerie recall of late-90s rap lyrics.  And at times, I’ve even been able to use this talent for good.  One night at a bar in Boston, after perfectly reciting the lyrics to Jay-Z’s “Can I Get A”, I finally got the words I had longed to hear: “Hey girl, you are STREET!” 3

You best believe it, son.

IV. COMEBACK?

For those who may still be doubting my rap abilitiez, I just want to leave you with this final song, dated January 8, 1997.  As of today, I’m still unsigned by the major record labels, but I know it won’t be long.

PETS
I have a cat named Carrot-Top / Also a fish named Fanny
My lizard’s name is Lizard / And also a rabbit named Granny
My parrot is named Bubba / My snake’s name is Spence
My pig’s name is Hamburger Bun / I got a frog for eighty cents

And just a note: I didn’t have any pets growing up.  See, now that shows the breadth of my creativity.

Li’L T out.

—————–

1. This is a quote from Puff Daddy’s “It’s All About the Benjamins”, which includes one of my favorite lines of all-time: “Tryin’ to get my hands on some Grants like Horace.”  Classic. 
2. Don’t judge me for liking Stephon Marbury. He was good once.
3. Fine, this was said by a white guy, but it still counts, right?

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More Punctuation, Please!

I admit: I like excessive punctuation. I am often quite liberal with my use of commas, parentheses (just to be a jerk), ellipses… and all other forms of fancy–and oftentimes unnecessary–word decoration.

However, despite my adulation for spare emoticon parts, I don’t think the Punctuation founders went far enough. How can anyone justify having only two possible endings for declarative statements? You can either choose the staid, buttoned-up period… or you can choose the doowop-dancing, likely-high-as-a-kite exclamation mark.

The difference between the two is huge. Let’s say you run into an old friend, Molly, at a rally to save the organic farming industry.  You exchange email addresses. You get a message from Molly the next day: Hey, it’s Molly, blah blah blah, weren’t those organic, hand-shucked corn chips fantastic, and then:

Herein lies the problem: #1 is boring and matter-of-fact, while #2 is almost overly friendly. Perhaps it’s just me, but when strangers use an abundance of exclamation marks in emails, I immediately picture them as trippy cartoon characters: Hello! You’re great! Let’s meet up! I’m free at noon! See you then! I’m going to stick my head in the oven first! Toodles!

Can’t we have a punctuation mark which implies greater enthusiasm than the period, yet less enthusiasm than the gung ho! exclamation mark? Perhaps… the midget exclamation mark? Then, we can easily decode the following:

(But I’ll probably never see you again.)

(I think you’re the bestest and I want to be with you forever and ever and say things like “Hehe” even though it’s completely unnatural, but it’s okay because I love you.)

(I genuinely enjoyed my time with you. And I’m not crazy.)

Unfortunately, given our limited punctuation inventory, we still don’t have a mini-exclamation mark that can quell the burn of the period/exclamation. So, until someone figures out how to put a mini-exclamation on their keyboard (Bill Gates, are you listening?), I’m just going to stick with what I always do… mask my true feelings with never-ending sentences:

(And now I’m going to introduce a banal topic to continue this sentence so that I don’t have to let you know how I actually feel about seeing you.)

Honestly, I love the dash–

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The World According to Google

Classic debates, as settled by Google:

LIBRARIANS vs. ACCOUNTANTS: Maybe you hate fun.  Perhaps you just can’t sleep. If you’re in search of a good cure for insomnia, you should reach out to a librarian or an accountant.  One good story about the Dewey Decimal System and/or GAAP accounting should put you right to bed.  But which of these trusty professions is LESS boring and MORE fun?

GOOGLE SAYS: Librarians, with a whopping 2.6 million hits vs. a paltry 1.7 million for our accountants.  They might be ordering an audit check on this one.  (And, in an amazing twist, it turns out that librarians may actually be more fun than clowns. Shame on you, clowns.)

WALL STREET vs. MAIN STREET: It’s the age-old battle between khakis and jeans, white collar and blue collar, Madoff and low-life petty thieves.

GOOGLE SAYS: Wall Street…  Is this at all surprising?

BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE vs. UGLY PEOPLE: Are human beings really that superficial?

GOOGLE SAYS: Yes…  Beautiful people get 7.7x more hits than ugly people. If this is applicable to real life, then you should never, ever, go to a bar with a beautiful person.  She’ll get 7.7 free drinks to your measly one.  I would de-friend anyone who is more beautiful than you.

CALIFORNIA GIRLS vs. CALIFORNIA GURLS: One contains the correct spelling of the word “girls.”  The other doesn’t.  This should be easy, right?

GOOGLE SAYS: What the…  From now on, I am blaming teenage illiteracy on Katy Perry.  You don’t know how distressing this result is for me.  What’s next?? Are “gurls” going to “twurl” around school?  Will we be ordering ice cream with chocolate “swurls”?  Is Maytag going to be challenging “Whurlpool”? Kill me now.

DEMOCRATS vs. REPUBLICANS: Just in time for midterm elections: Let’s settle this once and for all.

GOOGLE SAYS: A resounding victory for Democrats!  Of course, this very scientific approach may have some flaws.  It could simply be that Dems are more computer/tech savvy than their Republican counterparts.  Or it could be that Republicans simply prefer using old school communication methods (perhaps carrier pigeons and/or messages in a bottle).  And, of course, a direct translation of this result would presume that Communists actually outnumber Republicans.  Just another example of the dirty, liberal media, right?…OR, is (Commie) Red the new black?  Google never lies…

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Hug a Fat Person Today

We’ve always known that human beings are superficial.  In today’s photo-centric world, we value men who are cut, women who are svelte.  Everyone else–the lumpy, chubby, tubby, saggy–just don’t fit into the frame.

But there’s an evolutionary fallacy in our love for all humans thin and tall.  We might prefer for people to be skinny, but we love wild animals that are atrociously fat.

For example, everyone loves bears. Polar bears, panda bears, black bears, you name it.  Bears have become so cuddly and lovable that if I were ever to encounter a bear, I’d half expect it to come bearing Coca-Cola and a good forest fire story.  Same thing with penguins.  While I generally hate all other birds, I love penguins: mainly because they’re fat and furry and they’re featured in almost every single animated movie out there (we even saw penguins in Madagascar… really?).

Honestly, our love for blimp-like animals doesn’t make sense.  I could sit at the zoo for hours, watching hungry, hungry hippos chew on grass.  Yet, if I were to see some obese human being sitting with a pile of ribs, I’d probably have a gag reflex.  If I were to meet a furry, plump, waddling man, I would not wish to see him on the movie screen.  And if a group of dancing, naked, fat guys tried to sell me Charmin toilet paper, I would almost prefer just to air dry. (Almost.)

Our human superficiality is counter-intuitive, especially when seen from a Darwinian lens.  Why would we, as human beings, favor small people and big animals?  It’s clearly easier for a giant bear to eat you when you’re a tiny person, versus when you’re the size of a tugboat.

So, I’d like to change the current paradigm of our superficial human nature.  Instead of looking down on them, we should just start embracing fat people.  The fatter, the better.  Our fellow corpulent friends are just trying to correct for the thinness of our voluntarily-starved populace, where a strong wind in Hollywood could blow a starlet away, right into the open jaws of Smokey the Carnivorous Bear.  Fat humans are doing us all a great service: intimidating animals to think that people, too, can be large and in charge.

Of course, if you can’t stomach the idea of fitting your arms around your neighborhood chub, then perhaps you could go the other way too… Start spreading the love to skinny animals.

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√-1 Miss Math

Why hello, math.  It’s been so long that I barely recognize you anymore.  I think it’s been five years since the last time we saw each other… Remember, I was taking a sophomore elective, and you were using differential equations to kick my ass?  Those were fun times.

Looking back, we had some good years together.  You were the one who first taught me about PEMDAS and the world of acronyms involving My Dear Aunt Sally (multiplying, dividing, adding, subtracting).  You taught me how to draw parabolas and incorporate star plots into my notebook doodling.  And even though I never admitted it in high school, I secretly enjoyed all our inside jokes, like “√-1 ♥ Math,” “Don’t Drink & Derive,” and any reference to apple pi.

But since those good old days, we’ve gradually grown apart.  Once upon a time, I could have told you all about polynomials and orthogonal trajectories and monotonic sequences.  Now, I have no idea what any of those words mean.  All I have left is a pile of incomprehensible notes that reminds me how dumb I’ve gotten in the past five years.

And for all of this, I blame you, math.  You claimed to be a universal language.  You claimed to be useful. Well, since I’ve gotten out of school, no one has asked me about sines, cosines, or tangents. In the world I live in, “integral” is an adjective, not a noun, and saying “I have 5!” kids means you have five kids, not 120.  I don’t need to do long division by hand, I’ve never been asked for the quadratic formula, and I have yet to see anything shaped like a rhombus.

Today, I only encounter you through My Dear Aunt Sally (she’s like the math slut that’s easy and manages to get around).  We had something special once, but I’ve realized now that I don’t even know you anymore.  So this is it: my final goodbye.  And as for Aunt Sally, I may soon forget her too. I’m getting a brand new calculator this week.

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Unbreak My Lung

Everyone in this world has a rival.  It could be your BFF, like Bert and Ernie.  It could be your sworn enemy, like Tom and Jerry.  It could be a totally contrived rival, like the E*Trade baby and Lindsay Lohan.  In any case, the worst feeling in the world is when your rival gets spotlight, and you get the shaft.

There are numerous examples of rivals overshadowing their just-as-deserving counterparts.  There’s the Anorexic Olsen Twin and the Other One.  There’s “Abercrombie” and “And Fitch.”  There’s John Hancock and everyone else who signed the Declaration of Independence, except with uglier handwriting.

However, the most lopsided pairing in terms of misguided attention is the rivalry between the heart and the lung.

While lungs have mainly focused on their job (breathing), the heart has developed a frivolous side hobby: enchanting an entire subculture of lovestruck followers.  The heart has become a symbol for romance, lust, desire, wanting, turtledoves, cupids, and other things that can make you gag.  Its popularity has spawned thousands of songs featuring hearts, from artists like Toni Braxton, Phil Collins, Billy Ray Cyrus, and the Backstreet Boys.  The heart has become so synonymous with love that it has catapulted to the top of the vital organs list.  We’re fine with losing our lungs, but please don’t break our hearts.

And yet, the irony is that actual hearts look nothing like pictorial hearts, the defacto symbol of love.  If you want me to show you the shape of my heart, I’LL SHOW YOU UPSIDE-DOWN LUNGS.  But lungs, the dutiful workhorses of our bodies, get no attention.  No one worries about lung-ache.  No one says “I lung you,” even though “lung” sounds more like “love” than “heart”.  Other than Radiohead’s obscure 1994 song, “My Iron Lung,” no one writes sappy songs about lungs, even though we can’t live without them.

Our lungs have never gotten credit for love, romance, and happiness.  Instead, the heart has basked in all its glory. Our attention-whoring heart is the A-Rod to every Jeter, the Warhol to every Malanga, the Edison to every Swan.

But then again, times change.  So, if you ever encounter another example of an unfair rivalry, a healthy mediation is necessary: sit down with both parties, take a deep breath… and have a lung-to-lung.

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