Sunday, May 23, 2010

fuddy duddy fest

i think we all experience a moment during our transitional latter twenties when we realize how big a pain-in-the-ass we all were(are?).

sometimes it comes to us in a flash of revelation that fades as quickly as it appeared.

other times, it stays with us a bit.

friday night, i went out to a nice dinner at lulu on central and then to the dessert bar crave for some hot tea and hookah with about eight of our friends.

at lulu, we were seated in the corner of the restaurant, pressed right up against a table made for and created by gnomes. my husband sat oddly contorted in the corner, smashed against the wall, the gnomendale, and the freakishly high booth behind him (odd, when the table is just so damn . . . small).

anyway, there was a crew of drunken revelers behind us whose individual deaths i plotted for the following 2.5 hours . . . yes, you read that right. 2.5 hours. in an american restaurant. since when did we take a european approach to breaking bread?

i digress. our jonesy neighbors drank an obnoxious amount of alcohol and carried on as if the protective bubble of their well-bred existence had become literal instead of merely figurative. some crazy hyena suffered the severe delusion that i cared to hear every syllable she deigned to share with her unwilling audience at the TOP OF HER LUNGS. and that laugh, god help me, that laugh. it burst my eyeballs and made the split ends in my hair vibrate like a tuning fork.

i'm getting too ornery for this shit.

in my world, i would have said something to all of them. "if you want to carry on like this with such complete disregard for others in the restaurant, don't come to a restaurant like lulu. it's small, and you're obnoxious. i'm not paying 100 bucks to hear about your developing beer pong plans. the end."

this scene would have played out laced with my own gleeful relish. it all would have been to my husband's horror.

i'm trying to be good.

after trying to battle the sound behind us with some laughter of our own (a feat of impossibility sun tzu would have mocked), we decided to move the party to a more low key destination -- a dessert bar that boasted hookah.

ever since our trip to egypt, i've really come to appreciate the mellow grace that a nice hookah has to offer. as always, it was a great opportunity for conversation, and a relaxing way to digest the exorbitant amount of pate we shared at lulu.

it was all well and good, until the doors to the bar opened and unleashed "the kraken".

"the kraken" was a wasted girl with busted clothes, crack ho makeup, and an earsplitting screech she found relevant to her surroundings. like a toddler that somehow managed to purloin and abuse a fake ID, she gate crashed everyone around her in an attempt to find a way "home". she was in no way possessing a mental faculty open to a metaphoric wisecrack.

i'm too ornery for this shit.

as i sat there in judgment on "the kraken", i paused for a moment in reflective consideration.

yes, i did do a lot of dumb things in my latter teens and early twenties. yes, i was probably a huge nuisance to those around me. i mean, have you heard my laugh?

as i sat there thinking i should stop kracking jokes at the kraken's expense, she screeched again with the vigor of a banshee.

all attempts to be magnanimous faded.

yeah, i was bad . . .

. . . but never this bad. ;-)

Thursday, May 20, 2010


i claim no allegiance to any political party.

fiscally, i think my preferences hover closer to the middle ground. from a social perspective, i'm flamboyantly liberal. i don't believe in party politics, and my voting track record can attest to that fact. issues are much more important to me than elephants and donkeys.

when i first heard that rima fakih, an american girl with parents from lebanon, had won the title of "miss usa", i was quite pleased. after the prejean debacle of yesteryear and her annoyingly ignorant comments pertaining to "real marriage", i liked the fact that it was possible for a woman of middle eastern descent to prevail the year after carrie, the blonde all-american, forgot what it meant to be . . . well, american (you know, that pesky bill of rights thing). the rallying cry of the conservative netherworld behind this bombastic bimbo was enough to curdle the stomach and scorch the mind. i laughed a bit, with admittedly cheeky relish, when i heard that she had posed for provocative photos with a less-than-scrupulous photographer and his frisky wind machine.

honestly, i didn't think there was anything wrong with her pictures. it looked a lot like a victoria's secret ad. since those magazines are delivered to wholesome american families all across our vast country, i wasn't distressed by miss prejean's airbrushed boobs.

i was distressed by her words.

the last two days, such words have incensed me.

i have many friends who would proudly call themselves "conservatives". they are wonderful people with strong ideas about how to govern our country. we may have idealogical differences, but i would never categorize them as hatemongers or racist, ethnophobic pigs.

those kinds of words i'll save for the hostilely conservative commentators who saw fit to crown rima fakih "miss hezbollah" and several other politically incorrect pejoratives i don't want on my blog.


when i first saw these sorts of posts via yahoo, i began clicking on links only to discover that many ultra-conservative bloggers were posting about the travesty of an arab woman winning the title of "miss usa". many argued that it was a political maneuver and that miss fakih did not deserve the crown. dare i ask, who did deserve to win? oh wait, here's the answer - the blonde competing against miss fakih should have prevailed.

of course.

rather third reichish of you, non?

these are all beautiful women. these are all accomplished women. these are all AMERICAN WOMEN.

how dare the michelle malkins of the world brand rima fakih with such a title as "miss hezbollah"? how dare they insinuate that an arab american woman has anything less than the absolute right to compete and win a pageant when placed alongside their blue-blooded WASPs?

how dare they?

these are the same people who will never have a problem when they see jake gyllenhaal take on the role of "prince of persia" in that soon-to-be-released film. the male lead and his female heroine are as white as a loaf of bunny bread. were they out of good iranian-born actors? if hollywood seemed devoid of persian talent, try checking los angeles. i guess a terrorist in one film can't play the hero in another.

these are the same people who will have nonplussed enjoyment when presented with a film about asians absent a single one ("the last airbender"). what are asians good for anyway unless they're working with a computer, doing numbers on a calculator, or modifying hondas? they certainly can't bend air like little white kids, nor can they save the world from a fate worse than death.

i guess the korean kid from "twilight" wasn't as big a box office draw as jackson rathbone, a.k.a. jasper hale-cullen.

so, if americans of middle eastern descent can't win american pageants, and we can't permit them to take on roles positively portraying themselves, what will we allow them to do? is it okay for them to be a part of our society as long as they don't win? i beg the drug-addled adherents of limbaugh to riddle me this one . . .

what does it mean to be american?

being white should not be enough to answer this question.

i beg my conservative friends to distance themselves from people who are destroying their image. hatemongers and racist purveyors of filth have no place in our modern society.

if i made a film about them, i'd cast snakes in their roles.

then again, snakes do serve a higher a purpose - moderating vermin.

interesting conundrum, non?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

folly fall'n

my day was marked by two moments -- one, a testament to the banality of my first world, consumer-based existence; the other, an ill-advised online exchange that quickly disintegrated into a free-for-all.

part one:

my writer's block notwithstanding, i was having a good morning. i'd received a notice via email that my persian rice cooker was on time to be delivered today. see? banality in consumerism.

some may ask: why? others may query: what? a persian rice cooker? hurruh?

i love to eat; donc, i cook. my husband is persian. the end.

i've tried now for nearly ten years to master the art of persian rice. my mother-in-law attempted to teach me on numerous occasions, always armed with an infuriatingly sweet smile and a flourishing wave of her hand. "you can do it, joonam! it's easy! you're smart!"

oh for three, mama joon.

i set fire to my kitchen once trying to cook persian rice.

the science behind this delicious creation is a difficult one to analyze. some say this, others say that. press on the kernel of basmati to make sure it breaks easily before lowering the heat. use a towel under the lid to catch the condensation, lest your rice descend to being mistaken for the east asian kind (in case you haven't guessed, this was the source of the aforementioned blaze). use salt, don't use salt. canola oil or butter? soak it or don't soak it?

exhausting . . . and don't get me started on the tahdeeg.

why would i put myself through this? why? when i have a perfectly functional zojirushi that makes the (heretofore) best steamed rice my little demi-korean heart could want?

honestly? persian rice is the best rice in the world.

yep. i said it.

i've tried many different kinds of rice. floral-scented jasmine, indian-style basmati flavored with cloves and toasted cumin seeds, brown rice that's suppose to be akin to heaven's manna from a special part of korea, the perfect pearls of white that flourish in the mirrored paddies of japan, creamy arborio in the labyrinthine streets of florence, etc.

there's nothing quite like the buttery, saffron-laced goodness of persian rice. it's fluffy, never dense (unless i cook it). yet, it's moist and savory (ditto).

the best part? hands down, it's the tahdeeg -- the crust that forms on the bottom of the pot when the rice is made by a true artisan's hands. my mother in law's tahdeeg is crunchy and chewy at the same time. these two opposing facets exist in virtual harmony when the rice is done RIGHT. like the telling nature of a beaujolais nouveau, good tahdeeg can make or break a meal.

just ask a persian.

i caved last week. after my latest disaster, i digressed into quoting popeye -- "that's all i can stands, i can't stands no more." to his credit, my husband has never been anything but supportive. alas, i know him too well. that sweet, half-smile that prefaces a loving lie taunts me to this day.

i can't make persian rice on the stove. it's an absymal failure.

thus, i began my internet search. after twenty minutes of exhaustive research and a shame-tinged phone call to mama joon, i'd found my savior.

no more will i dole out lumpy messes onto the plates of my guests. no more will i painstakingly study one fershlugginer kernal of basmati to determine the right consistency. NO MORE WILL I BURN THE SHIT OUT OF MY TAHDEEG.

free at last, free at last, thank the lord almighty . . . free at last.

p.s. - i'll let you know if it works. tomorrow, i'll share part two.

Monday, May 10, 2010

testing, testing


i had a much wittier post than this one all primed and ready-to-go.


the dog destroyed my blog post. it's the techgeek's equivalent of a canine mastication -- tiny paws dancing the samba across a keyboard -- WAS THIS IMPORTANT? RAWF!! i could feign writeous indignance about the entire incident, but should i really twist my unmentionables into a knot over this?

prolly . . . knot. har-de-har.

sufficeth to say -- i'm in a writing rut. this blog is an attempt to reignite the spark. hmmm, was it even a spark? if it flashes in the darkness and no one is there to see it . . .

in my much wittier post, i waxed poetic(like) on the trials and tribulations of wannabe auteurs. we're a very self-interested group of elitist woebegones. we "suffer" for our art . . . and then we go through the shame of recognizing our lamentations are a far cry from "real" suffering. after all, if we have food on the table, our power cord plugged into a working outlet, a roof over our heads, and the right to write, what have we to gnash our teeth over?

BUREAUCRACY. that's right. i said it.

to whom do i refer? why, i'm referring to all the damn nay-sayers who pass their electronic judgment on our work only to pat us over the head with a "there, there" and tell us not to give up. i mean, really . . . should the beauty queen who cut the fat girl from the cheerleading squad be telling her not to give up her dream? isn't that just . . . bitchy? i'd almost rather hear the beauty queen tell me, "please. you're too fat to be a cheerleader." at least then i'd know i have to lose weight.

this blog is meant to be a place where would-be writers come to share their sob stories, their successes, and their many tales of enduring/prevailing over the "process".

whether or not anyone reads this remains to be seen, but i always promise to be honest and insert my particular brand of humor wherever i see fit -- which is basically everywhere.

if you don't like punchy sarcasm, and you don't like raw honesty, go elsewhere.

who am i to feign such self-importance? i'm a would-be writer of 26 with a day job i dream of leaving behind -- carnage on the ground, in true Palahniuk style. i have an agent i secured at the beginning of 2010 ("yay!"), and my manuscript has been submitted to several "kind" rejections (a hopefully insouciant "boo").

i await the knight with the strength to save me from my dire fate of irrelevance with his first . . . paycheck. i keed, i keed.

honestly though, it's really tough to find the motivation to write when your ego keeps taking such sound thrashings. nevermind your desire to tell me that i should not give up, and keep your "if at first you don't succeed" quotes at bay. i've heard them all, and bobby mcferrin is a mantra-inducing, over-sweet dessert i've engorged upon quite enough.

i just need to write.

if you ever want my opinion on your work, and i have the time to give it, a word of caution: i will be a great deal more honest than the woman who gave birth to you . . . but i will never tell you to give up.

i'll leave that to the bratpack and its shark-infested waters -- where other failed writers found jobs (as agents).