Monday, November 22, 2004

Winning and Losing...

I have both bizarrely good and frustratingly bad news for you, dear readers. As is customary, I shall entertain you with the bad news first.

I have bad luck with interviews for The Gateway. For my first interview, I was assigned to interview the famous rock band Yellowcard - I wasted a precious hour of my life waiting for them to call the Gateway office so that I could question them, only to have them not call, for inexplicable reasons. Very frustrating. Despite my misgivings, however, I took on a second interview - one for a choreographer who was having his special youth-oriented dance show performed in my city.

I wrote up my questions and e-mailed his publicist a full three days before my deadline. Of course, he (the choreographer) says he'll get back to me. And guess what? I waste my entire weekend (and most of today's afternoon) waiting for some guy to call me like a lovestruck, thirysomething lonelyheart. Of course, he never calls, just sends me e-mails of condolences of how busy he is and how fragile his schedule is, never pausing for a moment to consider just how precious my time is and how thoughtlessly he is wasting it.

You're an artist, for pete's sake! You arrogant bastard! How do you think your show is going to get any publicity if you have no regard for the press who volunteer their free time to make you look good? Of course, I am fully aware of how ridiculous my side of the argument is, but where else can one rant articulately about nothing in particular than in one's blog?

Needless to say, regardless of the perfectly reasonable explanations he has for ruining my weekend and clawing my article to shreds, I still think he's an ass. A stupid, prideful, silly little dancer/choreographer who is so "focused on youths" that he ignores the youth (namely, me) who is trying to make a name for herself through his words! I spit on you! Moron! I'm supposed to vote for my province's premier today, and how can I do that if I have to wait on you?
For the bizarre good news, I won first place in a singing competition. One my friend's friends saw posters advertising a singing competition, and eventually I caught wind of it and signed up. It was hosted by the South East Asian Students Association (SEASA for short), and one could basically sing anything they wanted to. I, in all of my innocence, believed that all sorts of people would show up to participate. I felt actually rather nervous and underprepared. I mean, I wasn't the big fish in a little pond of Catholic French-speaking highschool students anymore. I was in University! Surely, among the 30 000+ students there must be some who can sing! Who else could have auditioned for Canadian Idol when it coasted into my city?

I, along with one other girl who mumbled unintellibly along to a cassetteplayer playing "The Way You Make Me Feel" by Michael Jackson, was one of the only white people there. Everyone else got up and sang in Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese (I'm assuming, I can't really tell the languages apart firsthand) - one person did sing in Finnish, for some strange reason - with karaoke music blaring on the speakers in the background.

I, glowing in all of my Catholic Irish/Scottish/Polish paleness, got up to the stage alone, without music, and sang "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" right off the top of my head. I won first place, an elaborate trophy, and a bookmark with SEASA written on it. Enscribed on my trophy were the words "South East Asian Student's Association Singing Competition 2004 - First Place". Full to the brimful with pride, I sailed home on the bus, where my parents soon opened my eyes to the guilty humour of the situation.

How, exactly, could I put in my resume that I had won the South East Asian Student's Association Singing Competition, when the full majority of the competitors had all been South East Asian? I'd imagine any interview would go something like this:
The Employer reads: South East Asian Student Association Singing Competition Winner. He looks up, and sees a nervous caucasian girl whose speaks as if everyone around her is slightly deaf. He looks down again. Then looks up again to examine her more clearly.
Employer: "Hmmmmm....something's not right here....."

My parents, of course, all thought this was very funny, but I felt guilty. A felt like a colonist - or a white rapper who wins the prize away from all of the black rappers (Eminem, with his rare talent, is exempt from this metaphor. Not so fast, Vanilla Ice...). This was a competition hosted by a club that was obviously intended for its own members. As my mother put it "They couldn't very well disqualify you because of your race, that would be illegal." Everyone else had put time and effort into their performances, and then I swept in, in all of my white upper-middle-class glory, and performed, acapella, a song that I was still memorizing the words and music for an hour before the competition started.

Let's just hope I don't get called back to do an encore for the South East Asian Student's Association Singing Competition 2005.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Acquired Habits, featuring the element of Satan: Lithium!

Dear readers, have you ever had the pleasure of watching a certain Japanese film called Shall We Dance? Or perhaps its inferior but still enjoyable American remake of the same name? There is one scene in both films where the protagonist is confronted by a fellow who shares his hobby (in this case, ballroom dancing) who tells him that his interest in ballroom dancing is beginning to show, in his posture, in the way he walks. "You probably don't even notice" the co-worker insists. For some reason, the protagonist is sometime nonplussed by this realization.
The point I'm trying to make is, I really hope that I won't begin to unwitting acquire habits similar to those of the people at BAKA. They're all very nice, sociable people, and I like spending time with them (today alone, without overtly begging, I was treated to a box of Nerds, a plate of fries, and a packet of Pocky by three different people. They're very generous). However, there are a few tiny quirks that I find intensely annoying. For instance, there is a friendly girl that I will now refer to as T. T is an artist, and for National Write a Novel month (November, silly), she's drawing a comic book. Now, while in all other respects she is a respectable, amicable person, she occasionally interjects her own speech with random phrases in Japanese. She's Caucasian (as far as I know), and these aren't only Japanese phrases, they're catchphrases from certain anime characters, so only the people who A) understand Japanese, or B) have watched that specific show that utilizes that particular catchphrase will understand and appreciate the joke. Otherwise - it's fairly irritating. Now, she's not so bad, because she seems to only do this while she's in the company of fellow anime fans, so it's understandable.
Another visitor to the BAKA office is someone who doesn't seem to realize she's using annoying Japanese phrases, so I'm assuming she actually uses it in casual conversation with non-anime loving people. The concept is really quite chilling. At least T's catchphrases, when taken in a certain context, are cute. The quotations this girl uses are grating, to say the least. They are random, high-pitched exclamations that no one understands, like "Oro! Oro! Oro?" and "Hein!!" If any of you, dear readers, can make sense of this, feel free to speak up and tell me what they mean.
I like these people, okay, and they're allowed to have their kooky flaws from time to time. I just hope that I don't pick up those habits unintentionally and spread their pestilence to the rest of the world who firmly believes that animated series are for children. Believe me, it would just be giving anime a bad name to those who already hold it in low esteem.
Speaking of low esteem, something else I have little taste for is lithium - specifically the kind that comes in laptop batteries. I recently discovered, to my everlasting chagrin, that the batteries of MY laptop are lithium, and I never checked before I started using my laptop willy-nilly. The thing about lithium batteries, is that they "remember", through some bizarre scientific process that at present I am unable to fathom, when they are recharged, and they mark it as their "low level". This means that you're not supposed to recharge your laptop's lithium batteries until they are completely empty, or have reached a low enough level to satisfy you (say, 1-4% power remaining sounds fine). So - next time, when recharging, the lithium batteries will "remember" how long it took them to recharge from 0 - 5% of power back to 100%, and they repeat it. At least that's what I heard, I haven't done any serious research into the subject. The Reasons: I have essays to write, and I'm lazy. Due in part to that laziness, I never got around to reading the operator's manual concerning the battery - so I used the battery when I wasn't near an outlet, and recharged whenever I was, regardless of how much I had used on the battery. For three months, nothing happened, the computer worked like a charm - I simply began to assume that the batteries of my laptop were not "those" batteries - the kind that have to be completely depleted before they are recharged. Today, however, in my Earth Science class, I turned on the computer that had been plugged in throughout the weekend, only to have it tell me that there was a "Critical Battery" situation - only 4% of the power was remaining! What? Who? How? Needless to say, after giving that little message the laptop promptly crapped out, and it was only due to the extreme luck of finding an electrical outlet underneath the seat next to me that I managed to take any notes on that class at all.
I spoke to my friend's friends - and they relate from experience that the battery will probably be that way for good - which means I have to fork over 60$ to get a new one if it's too late for the warranty to kick in. Some luck, huh? I guess it serves me right for not reading the manual fully......

Monday, November 01, 2004

Surprises, both nice so nice...

Yesterday, on Halloween, full of excitement, anticipation and general anxiety, I had my father drive me to the dim sum place where I would meet My Guy and, presumably, spend the entire day with him. I'd put a some effort into my appearance, as I intended to strike a balance between casual and fancy, so that, regardless of what the date turned out to be, I wouldn't end up looking underdressed or, as my mother would quaintly put it, like I was "the tart of the mart".
So, I put in my silver heart-shaped earrings that were pretty without calling undue attention to themselves, and I wore my matching heart-shaped locket with the photos of both my parents tucked inside (as a precaution, should they die prematurely, against forgetting what they look like). I put more care into my short hair - instead of just mixing hair cream into the bangs and parting them, I did that and I also perked up my hair in the back with hair wax as well. I applied eye make-up (black eyeliner and the oh-so-convenient roll-on silver eyeshadow) and lipstick (Maybelline Forever Metallics #15 - Copper Pink).
It was upon my arrival at the Dim Sum restaurant that I met My Guy waiting in line for a table - along with two of his male friends. A female friend (with a car) was supposed to arrive as well, but a sudden illness due to allergies had prevented her from joining us. Ah. Of course. It was a friendly get-together, and I, socially inept as I am, had immediately assumed he was asking me on a date where it would just be me and him and platters of deep-fried squid. I felt quite stupid and ridiculously over-dressed, and silently prayed that My Guy would fail to recognize the extra effort I had put into my appearance, and thus realize my foolish mistake.
Most of those feelings were quashed by the rest of the get-together, which was really quite pleasant. His two friends were quite charming, and the food was exceptional - lots of squid and shrimp and sticky rice (the ingredient that makes it so delightfully sticky - pork!). Our conversations were refreshingly free of adult worries - jobs, politics, religion - and were more inclined towards entertainments of the virtual variety - television, film, videogames, and webcomics.
After the meal, we proceeded to walk over to My Guy's building of residence. Before entering, I, hesitant about entering a strange house with three adult men, only one of which I was entirely comfortable with, called home just to let them know where I was and what I was doing. After that, feeling relatively secure, we entered, and proceeded to watch internet anti-Bush propaganda, movie trailers, and flash cartoons, as well as select clips from the Emmy-winning HBO miniseries, Angels in America. It was altogether rather pleasant.
Of course, there were minor problems. Seeing as the young woman with the automobile was too ill to attend our meeting, we were left with no transportation with which to get to our movie, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. My Guy, instead, called his mother to beg a ride from her, but that temporary solution fell through, leaving me to beg My Father to lend us his minivan for our convenience. Surprisingly, he obliged quite cheerfully, with none of the "I work all the time, don't make me drive all day" vibe he usually gives off. Perhaps he was just eager to meet My Guy in person. The two got along rather well, as they discussed mainly politics and law - which my Dad likes. In the end, both men parted with the generally feeling that the other was adequately cool.
The movie was nice, very colourful, I bought my own ticket and My Guy bought concessions. After the movie was over and the six of us (two more of My Guy's friends joined us on the way to the theatre) exchanged brief opinions of the film (general concensus: brilliant visuals, but overly long), we parted ways, the five men to see if the buses would be running after 6 pm on a Sunday night, me to rather guiltily call my parents to let them know that the movie was over and not-so-subtly hint that I would like a ride home. On the way home, my mother and I discussed the unexpected outcome of my supposed "date". Did My Guy just want to be friends? Was he gay? (That option was swiftly dismissed.) Did he really like me? I didn't know, and neither did my mother. I decided that I was expecting to move, relationship-wise, just a little too fast, and that I should wait it out. Even if, in the end, he just wants to be friends, it's better than nothing. Back in high school I had no friends at all.
The Sunday evening continued on as usual upon my return. I supped on hot pea soup and french bread, with the occasional mini-chocolate bar that was not thrown out of our front door to appease the ravening mobs of costumed children, and drank tea with the parents while watching Desperate Housewives.