Monday, September 26, 2005

A diatribe

I tried really hard not to make my blog one of those political commentary blogs. I am not jumping on the bash-Bush-bandwagon. But I must make a comment.

A minister recently said in Katrina’s wake of devastation, New Orleans had been a sin-filled city. Somehow, they deserved what they got.

I understand that not all ministers are dumbass idiots, that many are intelligent, kind, and true to their belief. If the dumbass minister actually read the Bible, he would have read that God *promised* in Genesis 9:11 (New International Version): “Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” (In case the reader does not know, this promise was made with Man after the great flood with Noah & company. And God flooded the earth b/c he was pissed at man’s evil and debauchery.)

It really scares me how certain ministers manipulate the Bible to carry out their misguided agendas. The comment just brought back memories of my childhood. I admit I used to be one of those hardcore Bible-thumpers. I used to go to Bible study three times a week, attend service twice on Sundays, and sang in a praise band. I came in second place in a sermon contest and did not place first only because I neglected to start my sermon with a prayer. I studied the Bible religiously. And yes, that lame pun was intended.

I remember in high school, I attended a particular church. The pastor always spoke of increasing attendance and how we failed in not bringing in more and more people. Each sermon would start out with the reading of a verse, say, the famous John 3:16, and then invariably veer to the subject of church growth. I realized that if I wanted to grow as a Christian, I would have to change churches. So I decided to have a talk with the pastor.

We sat at a faux wooden table and I told him how I didn’t feel I was growing, that he always neglected to discuss the verse listed in our weekly program, and that his constant berating was tiresome. He responded that there was a purpose to his sermons and politely objected to my leaving the church. Then he said how sometimes, the devil fills our heads with ideas.

The devil. It makes me laugh to this day.

Surprisingly yet not surprisingly, the following Sunday, though the verse in our program was about love or something, the pastor spoke of the DEVIL and how the devil tricks us with ideas and makes us think evil satanic things. The pastor unabashedly looked at me throughout his sermon. At least he didn’t talk about church growth again.

[This of course wasn’t the reason I departed from Christianity. I won’t delve into it now, but I studied a good deal of religion and philosophy in college and became the clich├ęd enlightened agnostic.]

Again, there are so many wonderful Christians out there, Mother Theresa a prime example. I know that Klansmen, Nazis, reactionaries, and child molesters are probably not the intended paragons of Christianity. Still, it is an insult to both secular people and true Christians for these ministers to purport to know God and instead spew this ignorant, hateful nonsense. If there is a devil, they're it.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A reminder

I think about my dad from time to time. Tonight I sorted through a box of items. Among the colorful bags of miscellaneous items was a red plastic bag of hats. I opened it and retrieved the one I wanted, a furry abomination of couture. It was what he wore, ridiculousness notwithstanding. It still felt cool underneath my fingers and felt so light. I placed it on my desk, next to the speaker of my computer. I’m not really sure why.

Maybe seeing it will remind me of what I want to be. Resilient. Persevering. Unfaltering. Never doubting oneself. Never afraid. Maybe it will remind me to appreciate what I do have, that I am alive, and that I have so much. Or maybe it will just remind me.

A likely target

There is just something about me. Maybe it’s my race, my height, my hair length, my narrow eyes, or the way I carry myself that just screams “PICKPOCKET ME!” For the second time in less than 2 months, I have been pickpocketed in this large city. The culprit reached into my purse, took out my wallet, took out my debit card and credit card, and returned the wallet to my purse with the CASH STILL REMAINING. Why return the wallet at all? Why not take the wallet altogether, with the cash?

I am beyond frustration and fury. It’s so ridiculous and farcical that it was funny and now it isn’t anymore. If that makes any sense.

So all vertically-challenged Asian twenty-something women beware—you are the target of pickpockets. Even if you are completely frumped out in raggedy sweats.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

O the Orange

Once upon a time, there an unremarkable orange named O. O recently went to a party. It was a party of apples, and O was the only orange. The apples mingled amongst each other in their shades of golden green and scarlet, while O awkwardly stood in the corner, holding a red plastic cup of booze. At one point, a light green apple and a golden apple rolled up to O to discuss apple life. When O said, “I'm an orange,” the apples looked at each other and politely nodded their stems at O. “That’s cool,” they replied in unison as they perused the room for the nearest tactful social exit.

As O passed through the crowd, the apples talked of nothing but apple life. Apple skin, apple core, apple texture. O overheard the following conversation:

“My god, how do you get your apple skin so shiny?”
“Why thank you, I use the most premium ultimate mega high-end first class buffer.”
“You must tell me who buffs your skin. It’s simply fabulous.”
“I will I will. I also found the most brilliant stem trimmer, but I am quite tired of his daily life musings.”
“Oh dear, time to cut the stem and move on!”
“Indeed.”

O also observed a phenomenon called the “brag-complaint.” The apples discussed the toils of apple life; yet though a complaint in form, their utterances were a brag in substance. Two red apples conversed vehemently:

“Yesterday I had to roll 5 times on the hill.”
“Wow, five times? I had to roll 4 times but that was on a weekend.”
“No way, you had to roll on a weekend?”
“Totally.”

Interspersed among these brag-complaints were loud sighs, raised stems of utter agony, and curious expressions of expected pity. Each apple was an oblong microcosm of elite martyrdom.

O, the sole orange, rolled out of the apple party early, feeling small and so…orange. Not only orange, but very un-apple. O knew it did not want to be an apple, yet the apples’ smug superiority over all non-apples was infectious.

If only O could find another orange, a perfectly orange orange, O would be so happy. Until then, O had to settle for an ordinary life...among apples.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

My "disorder"

Today I was feeling desolate, miserable, and useless. Why the funk? I attributed it to just one of my moods. It never occurred to me that my funk was related to the fact that today was my third day away from my bittersweet addiction, Starbucks coffee. Yes, I expected the headaches, the sluggishness, and the propensity to fall asleep at odd hours during the day. But some studies reveal that caffeine withdrawal may qualify as an actual disorder (See Is Caffeine Withdrawal a Mental Disorder?, Caffeine Withdrawal Recognized as a Disorder). Both of these articles note that that some of the symptoms of withdrawal include depression and irritability. As if the mind-numbing headaches and general obliteration of productivity weren’t bad enough.

Yet part of me suspects I’m not really quitting my addiction for the usual reasons such as health, the high cost of the habit, or even the selfish desire to “preserve” the effectiveness of caffeine for when I “really need it.”

I think a part of me is just really bored.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Ah, friends

It has come to her attention that she has very little in common with a certain friend, a person she has known for a number of years. It is strange how two people, who have wildly different views on work, relationships, and life, could maintain a barely existent friendship for as long as they could. She suspects that for a while, she “coasted” the friendship, allowing the friend to be himself while unconsciously censoring herself.

She became aware of this when they were hanging out quite recently. The friend remarked on a particular issue (say, homosexuality) that directly countered her view. It then struck her that on more than one occasion, the friend will utter a semi-sexist, semi-racist, or semi-ignorant comment. Moreover, the comments were usually abrasive and obnoxious, as if there were no room for other points of views.

Needless to say, she was beginning to get annoyed. And that irritation became the wonderful epiphany she so needed.

Now that she has acknowledged this predicament, she is not sure how she ought to proceed. It seems simple: “Be yourself.” Indeed, being herself + friend’s being friend’s self will probably result in numerous bitch-slaps.

Ah well, time to get the brass knuckles.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Pro Pick'em

She got a lot of NFL picks wrong today, probably her worst ever (since last year). Yet today was one of the few instances in her life she was content to be wrong: New Orleans' victory over Carolina. Clearly the underdog and just by three points, the Saints prevailed.

She (along with probably ten thousand other sports pundits) couldn't help but see the victory as perhaps a metaphor of the city's dauntless resilience and unconquerable spirit.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A phone call

She just had one of those phone conversations where she was supposed to sound professional, poised, and intelligent. Instead she stammered, yammered, and sputtered various fragments, run-on sentences, unintelligible combinations of verbs and nouns, and sentences that ended either in a preposition or "so yeah."

After hanging up the phone, all she could think was "idiotidiotidiotidiotidiot."

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The man on the subway

There was a man on the train today who caught her attention. He wore a plaid short-sleeve dressshirt and slacks, and was clasping onto a black suitcase. She watched him roll his suitcase carefully and balance himself against the subway pole. He was Asian, even from behind she could tell. There was a familiarity in his stiff gait, the way he stood, even the way he turned his head to look out the window.

The man resembled her father. There was the gray hair, which wasn't quite as gray as her father's, and the large obtrusive glasses. All of it was enough to evoke the memory of someone she hadn't seen in several months.

She thought of the last time she saw him. Not on a subway car, not rolling a suitcase, but in a large room with organ music in the background. He was wearing his glasses then, but his eyes were closed. The memory seemed unreal as if from a passage in a novel, or a scene in a movie. It was something she consciously hadn't thought of in a few months. But the man in the button-up shirt standing patiently by the subway door reminded her of what her father wasn't. And she became sad.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Eek

Yellow Gal has discovered that Yellow Mom blogs on blogspot.com as well. Neither knows the other's blog. Yellow Gal hopes it stays that way.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

A possible battle

The other day, Yellow Gal was talking to Friend about her volunteering at a domestic violence shelter that caters to a certain ethnic community. Then Friend joked about the stereotype that this ethnicity is a bunch of wife-beaters and laughed. Yellow Gal is aware of the stereotype and admits there is some truth to it. Nonetheless, she felt slightly offended.

Yellow Gal understands there are some limits to political correctness. George Carlin once was able to joke about rape in a routine -- and pulled it off. Yet for some reason, Friend's joke about domestic violence in an ethnic community seemed to strike Yellow Gal as not cool.

She thought about talking to Friend about the offensiveness of the comment, but wondered if she ought to pick and choose her battles. Correcting every racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise ignorant individual is indeed a lofty goal.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Oh, Craig

Yellow Gal can always manage to find hilarity in the oddest places. She recently tapped into a new source of amusement: craigslist.org. She was perusing the personal ads and noticed how many self-described geniuses/supermodels there were. Where are all these intelligent and attractive people in the Big Big City? Maybe only brilliant, gorgeous people are drawn to the anonymity of craigslist.

One charming post was entitled: "1 NIGHT STAND." The post was as follows:

CUT TO THE CHASE ....I LOOKING TO GO OUT GET DRUNK AND GET LAID ...I'M TIRED OF CHASEING WOMEN AROUND IN BARS BUYING DRINKS AND GOING HOME ALONE ..I'M A NICE ,FUNNY AND CLEAN GUY.I JUST WANT A NIGHT OF FUN WITHOUT ALL THE HASSLE....SO IF YOUR IN THE SAME BOAT AS ME DROP ME A LINE ....PIC FOR PIC....THANK YOU AND HAPPY FRIDAY

The guy gets credit for directness.

The seat not taken

There are many reasons for not sitting next to someone on the subway. Sometimes it is simply more desirable to stand and lean against a greasy warm steel pole than sit down. It may be the puddle of urine or vomit on the seat. But in most cases, it's the person sitting next to the empty seat.

The person may be asleep, his mouth ajar and his body sprawled into the next seat. Perhaps he is physically taking up the second seat with a large bag or right buttocks. Or the puddle of drool from his lips may just be too unappealing.

So what was Yellow Gal's reason for not sitting in an unoccupied seat the other day? The car was somewhat crowded and people preferred standing rather than sitting in the one unoccupied seat in the car.

Yellow Gal looked at the person sitting next to the empty seat. The woman was young, with long black hair and light brown skin, and was quietly sitting there, legs crossed. She was perhaps one of the most beautiful women Yellow Gal had ever seen.

Yet for some reason, sitting next to the woman seemed as daunting as sitting next to a man with a live snake. Yellow Gal could understand why men would be intimidated, but why Yellow Gal, a hetero chick? It wasn't a competition thing because there was no contest, this gorgeous woman was model-like.

And so Yellow Gal did not take the seat and instead stood, clasping onto a bacteria-infested pole. Perhaps all anomalies--both disgusting and beautiful--affect people the same way. At least on the subway.
 
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