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Day 05 – A book that makes you happy

Man...this is difficult. Lots of books make me happy. Let's do Matilda, since I just re-read that with my daughter. I love smart little girls who outwit nasty adults and save the day.

Day 06 – A book that makes you sad

All those books where a dog needs to be put down because they got rabies. Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, etc.
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Almost forgot.

Day 3 - Favorite series

Anne of Green Gables. I've read every single book to pieces, and practically know them all by heart now.

Day 4 - Favorite book of your favorite series

As I get older I appreciate Rilla of Ingleside more and more. It's the most realistic one, I guess, and the only one (aside from Anne's House of Dreams) where the characters have real problems to deal with.
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I just finished reading Matilda to my daughter. She's just at that age where she can start paying attention to chapter books, and Matilda's the first one I picked because it's one of my favorites, and also it's about a really smart little girl. My daughter loved the different pranks Matilda played on her parents, and her mouth dropped open when she found out Ms. Honey's aunt was really Ms. Trunchbull.

I love Roald Dahl in general, even though I know a lot of it is pretty problematic with the racism and everything. I forgot how much of it is really about how terrible adults are, and that's probably why so many kids relate to it, plus it's pretty outrageous in a cartoony way. Not to mention all the British-isms; all those witty phrases really passed me by when I was a kid. I just wanted the "eye power"!
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I like books. I like memes. These are two book memes I've seen popping around - the first one is for the BBC's Top 100 reads or something like that. The second is a reaction to the list and is mostly or exclusively on people of color and in different countries other than the UK and US. The instructions are the same for both: BOLD the titles you've read; ITALICIZE those you intend to read; and UNDERLINE those you loved. (As an aside, I generally comment on most stuff I've read.)

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I saw some criticism of the class privilege meme that's going around, and was kind of curious about it. I did it, and it is kind of mind-blowing, in a way:

Speaking of mind-blowing, I just watched an episode of Wife Swap. This week's swap was between a feminist mom who home-schooled her kids and a pageant-obsessed mom who talked about making things "sparkle". The pageant-obsessed mom raised a 15 year old girl who cannot spell "America" and cannot read the word "crutch". And they were proud of it! Are you kidding me? If you like train wrecks, this is the show for you.
Jan. 9th, 2007 08:05 pm


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I have been tagged by [profile] angeeela for this meme:

Each player of this game starts off with 10 weird things/habits/little known facts about yourself. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 10 weird habits/things/little known facts as well as state this rule clearly. At the end you need to choose people to be tagged and list their names. No tagbacks.

I don't like tagging people, but feel free to play along! This is actually kind of hard, because I can't really think of stuff that people don't already know about me.

  1. I seem to attract people who like to tell me that they are afraid of/dislike/uncomfortable around black people. I really wish they would stop doing so. From our department's Filipino file clerk to my niece who lives in and has never been out of China, who informed me  laughingly, that a friend of hers often gets into fights with black people. I know it's cliche of me to do this, but I always say the "I have  black friends" line, even though it's not really true, because then at least they stop saying that stuff in front of me.
  2. I'm kind of a picky eater, but I try not to be. I'm not as enthused by seafood as most I know people seem to be (excepting sushi), and there are certain things I just don't like - like olives. Olives are one of Mark's favorite things, and I've tried a bite of every single one he's brought home, and the strong taste and equally strong aftertaste are just not very appealing to me. That being said, I think I'll try things at least once before I reject them.
  3. I have a bad habit of not backing Mark up when I should. Over the years I've witnessed friends in deteriorating relationships "stand by their man" no matter what horrible thing the boyfriends did, and it influenced me a lot in the way I treat him in front of other people.  I'm working on it, though.
  4. In my head I retain a lot of the stuff that I've read over the years. It includes a lot of stuff that I shouldn't have been reading at my age. For example, the Movieline stuff in my previous post? Movieline also put out an Annual Sex Issue, and I read that stuff around the age of 11, I think. Of course I had no idea what they were talking about until I was a lot older. I retain other things, too, like the fictionalized biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin. I just remember that her older sister scolded her for writing poetry, and I couldn't figure out what was wrong with that. Another book I remember reading was a person's account of his journey around the world, and in his chapter on China, he started out with "In China, they do everything backwards. They wear pajamas in the day..."
  5. I don't pronounce certain words correctly because I read them more than I say them. For the longest time, I kept thinking that the word "examine" was pronounced "ex-a-MINE" instead of "ex-AM-in".
  6. To elaborate on 4 - the advent of the Internet also resulted in me learning a lot of stuff that you wouldn't otherwise think I would know. I got to explain to Mark exactly what "polyamory" was and how it was different from polygamy, and I also got to put the knowledge to good use at a bachelorette party.
  7. Everyone knows I love free stuff. But I really like getting quality free stuff. I'm always on the lookout - in addition to the apartment book fairy, I took advantage of an offer to get mailed a manga from a publisher named Vertical. I hadn't realized that they published Osamu Tezuka's stuff. I mean, he's like the Japanese Walt Disney! Anyway, I just received it yesterday, and it's on really good quality paper - definitely worth paying money for.
  8. I have a really hard time accepting money from my parents (except around Chinese New Year). I didn't even like borrowing money for my car, and I paid them back as soon as I could afford it.
  9. I think I would be devastated if I were ever forced into a position where I was completely dependent on someone else's income.
  10. I can't watch stuff like The Office because my office IS kind of like that. Oh, no one says completely outrageous or racist things like they do, but we do stuff like put on karaoke at the Christmas party and some of the management dress up as Sonny and Cher and sing songs from their archive. I think maybe I'm just not used to corporate culture - it took me the longest time to figure out that "Hump Day" meant Wednesday, that if you make a mistake, you're supposed to say "I'm having a senior moment" and make really bad jokes. They're not bad in a hurtful way - they're just bad.
toastykitten: (Default)
Ok, so I saw this music meme all over the place.

Instructions: Go to and copy the top hits from the year you turned 18. Strikethrough the ones you don't like, bold the ones you do, italicize the ones you know but neither like nor dislike. The ones you don't know leave plaintext.

I turned 18 in 1999.

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[ profile] manrobotmonster tagged me, so I must go:

Each player of this game starts with the "6 weird habits/things about yourself" and people who get tagged need to write a blog of their 6 weird habits/things, as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names.

1. I have a soft spot for spelling bee movies and when I watch movies or television, I will point out every single damn spelling error. I was sixth grade spelling champion, dammit! The latest misspelling was in the last episode of Dr. Who - for Chrissakes, it's an ENGLISH show and they couldn't spell "override" correctly!
2. I am a totally paranoid person, and if you don't show up within an hour or so of when you say you're meeting me, I will imagine that you have fallen into a ditch somewhere, been hit with a nuclear bomb, etc. You'd be surprised how many end-of-the-world fantasies I can have in five minutes. For this reason, I'm kind of glad that Mark is as paranoid as I am, if not more so.
3. I really like Canadian sodas. My favorite one is the Jones brand. It is so awesome. I am also a snack monster and I think the Japanese have the best snacks, especially rice crackers.
4. I sometimes feel like a fraudulent Chinese person because I don't really like organs and tripe and stuff like that. The only thing that keeps me from being a complete fake is the fact that I love chicken feet, although I'm not sure why people find it so disgusting. So it's feet. It's been washed and cooked!
5. I tend to get the same dishes at different ethnic restaurants - gnocchi at Italian, pad thai at Thai, aloo gobi at Indian - I figure why mess with a good thing?
6. I keep most of the magazines I buy, even the shallow ones like Jane and Glamour. This is going to be a problem soon. I keep telling myself I'm going to make collages or something, but I never do.

I'm not tagging anyone, but feel free to tell me anything! ^_^
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LJ Interests meme results

  1. art history:
    I have always loved art, and am fascinated by the different movements. My favorite period is the turn of the century, when Impressionism became the catalyst for ever more radical changes and perceptions. I'm not going to start calling a blank canvas art, though. For me, art has to be both aesthetically pleasing and have really strong ideas.
  2. books:
    Where to start? I love books. I always have. They kept me sane, let me escape from a boring life, and gave me ideas I would never have dreamed of. They challenged me, and gave me satisfaction that I could never find anywhere else.
  3. cooking:
    I only started cooking in college, and then only very rarely. Before, I had my dad. Lately, with the help of Mark, we've been experimenting with different recipes, different ingredients. It's kind of fun and easy once you get the basics down.
  4. drawing:
    I used to draw a lot more, when I was in high school and college. My specialty is anime girls. I should have cashed in a few years ago; then maybe my stuff would be plastered all over Giant Robot walls and I could quit my day job. Anyway, drawing kept me from falling asleep in classes; it reflected my moods and helped me sort stuff out.
  5. hip hop:
    I'm from Oakland. :P

    Seriously, I need to get some more CDs. I'm pretty selective about my stuff, and can't really stand anything on the radio. I love Jurassic 5 and even got to see them free at a concert, which was the best thing ever.
  6. identity:
    Ok, so this one is kind of tricky. I normally hate identity politics; I think that it's really limiting, but I can't seem to get away from obsessing over it. I think the sort of discourse I've seen over the years has been really limiting, from the whole "I just wanna be white" (which, yuck) to the "The Man is the source of ALL our oppression" perspectives. I'm not even calling for a middle ground; I want an alternate way of looking at things.
  7. languages:
    I am so sad that my Chinese is wasting away, because no one ever talks to me in it anymore, and I get embarrassed by my accent. When I was younger, we discovered that I and my sister both had mild hearing losses and there was the possibility that we would be deaf. So we started learning a bit of sign language. In high school I took French, because everyone else was taking Spanish, and even though they were all like "But it'll be useful", I knew I would forget anyway. Then in college I really got into anime, and I learned some Japanese.
  8. mind-fuck movies:
    Donnie Darko, Mulholland Drive. Um, I like movies where things aren't always as they seem, and that evoke mysterious moods. Does the Matrix count?
  9. politics:
    Feminist, left-ish politics. I hate conservatism, right-wing racists.
  10. reading:
    See the entry on books.

Enter your LJ user name, and 10 interests will be selected from your interest list.

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Because the millions of other things I might be writing are too mean-spirited and vindictive:

1. I became an English major partially as an excuse to buy more books. Little did I know how boring most of those books would actually be. My particular hatred went out to professors who assigned their own books, and pleaded with us to "buy new" so they wouldn't go out of print. I was particularly gratified to find one of those books on the $3.50 table one time.
2. The only drug I've tried is alcohol. I am such a lightweight that half a margarita will get me pretty wasted. I never really liked the smell of pot or cigarettes, and find it baffling why people still do it.
3. Some of the questions I got asked when I first started dating Mark was, "Does he wear a turban?" "Does he wear a beard?" The most common response among my family was, "Wow, he doesn't look Arab!"
4. The furthest I've been away from home is Toronto, Canada. I hated Toronto, because my sisters insisted on visiting the Chinatown there, and the Chinese people for whatever reason were pretty hostile to us.
5. I remain confused about tips. Do I tip people who open the door for me? Who clean my room? At a buffet? I think the whole system of tipping is fucked up anyway and their employers should pay them an actual wage instead of expecting customers to make it up to them.
6. I feel weirdly guilty at this point in my life because I make enough money to support myself and have some left over to spend as I wish. Seriously, for most of my life, I didn't think I'd be making more than $40k, mostly because I'd never known what that was like. When I was looking for a job after college, my dad suggested that I ask for a lower salary, or that I look for something that would just pay, like waitressing or something. I was like, fuck no.
7. I want to see the whole world. Granted, I have no idea how that's going to happen, but we'll see.
8. When I tell people that I am a Credentialing Coordinator, the most common question that gets asked is, "What's that"? The second question is, "Does that mean you coordinate stuff"?
9. My job has made me even more terrified of the health system, but I don't really have a method of combating it.
10. My college roommates and I used to pick a reality-dating show each quarter to follow. The first one was the Bachelor, second Bachelor 2, then Joe Millionaire, and Joe Millionaire 2 was so bad and awful that I think it finally put me off those shows forever.
11. I am obsessed with the Food Network these days. I like Alton Brown, but I can't stand his show, because it's too damn geeky. I am fascinated by Rachael Ray and her perkiness. I just checked out her new show, Tasty Travels with Rachael Ray, and it's basically $40 a Day without the cash limitation. It's boring. I also love Iron Chef America, which admittedly, cannot live up to the charm of the original. But Jeffrey Steingarten as the fortuneteller critic is hilarious.
12. I have been getting into cooking and baking lately, but I can't budget a week's worth of food practically. I always buy too little or too much, which basically means that I end up having to throw shit out. That pains me a lot, and I make sure not to tell my mom. She'd throw a fit.
13. My family used to go out to dim sum every weekend. My dad, whenever he's at a Chinese restaurant, will try to chat up the cooks and see if he knows them. My parents are very, very social people, and I think it sort of disappoints them that their daughters are so anti-social.
14. When I was in my teens, the way my friends rebelled against their parents was by obtaining boyfriends. This did not work for me because my parents really wanted to see me "get taken care of" and would ask why we didn't want boyfriends.
15. My parents, because they are not very educated, didn't even know what the SAT was. So I didn't get a lot of the stereotypical pressure that other Asians get, and I did well in school, but didn't do as well as I should have, because I was lazy. As long as I didn't get any Cs, I was happy.
16. I cried anyway when I got my first SAT scores, and had to sit around people going, "Oh, I only got a 1300" blah blah.
17. You would think, that having to share a bedroom with four other girls would result in a nightmare of clothes, makeup, and bathroom time. We are not particularly interested in that stuff, so it wasn't much of a hassle.
18. My friends used to be able to sing any of Disney's songs.
19. I really like Hong Kong martial arts movies, no matter how ridiculous they get. I reached my limit with Shaolin Soccer, though. Maybe Kung Fu Hustle will be more to my taste.
20. You know how in ganster/martial arts/action hero movies, there's always a scene where the good guy finally gets the best of the bad guy and has the knife/gun at the neck? And then the bad guy says something like, "Go ahead, kill me" and the good guy changes his mind and walks away? I've always wanted to see a movie where the good guy just says, "Fine" and kills him, instead of letting him be killed by somebody or something else.
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Total number of books I've owned: Right now, about a couple hundred. It would be more if I had the money for Japanese comic books, or more space, and also, if I weren't so completely addicted to magazines.

Last book I bought: Zora Neale Hurston's Every Tongue Got to Confess. Hurston is one of my favorite writers ever - there are very few books as perfect as Their Eyes Were Watching God, and I just love her way with language. As an anthropologist, she went out and collected stories from black people out in the South, but it was never completed at the time of her life. The book's title is taken from one of the stories, where a preacher says something like, "Every tongue got to confess, every soul got..." to something about not asking too much from god. Then a woman stands up and says, "Lord, make my ass bigger." It's really, really funny, and kind of wrong in places, too. I loved the turn of the century - there was so much happening in creative circles - art movements, Harlem Renaissance, the first modern writers.

Last book I read: Does a zine count? I finished Cometbus: Chicago Stories. Or maybe Cheeky Angel, manga #5. Zines are pretty much hit-or-miss with me - they are either too short with not enough writing, or too full of writing that is precious or stilted. Cometbus was ok, but I don't know, I didn't feel like I was really with the writer. Cheeky Angel is an okay manga with a contrived premise about gender issues. I prefer the artist's first manga, about two normal guys who one day change their haircuts and decide to be bad boys in order to get respect.

Last book I finished: Cometbus. See above comments.

Five books that mean a lot to me:

Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, by Maxine Hong Kingston - Nothing I've read from her since ever topped this book. I relate to this book, but Kingston's imagination and writing are so powerful that every time I pick up this book, I get lost in it. I first read this around sixth grade, I think, and then I picked up Joy Luck Club afterwards and thought, damn, Amy Tan's writing doesn't even hold a candle to Kingston, no matter how mysterious she tried to make Chinese culture sound.

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston - Like I said, perfect book. It takes a while for you to get used to the language, but once you figure it out, you just get caught up in Janie's awakening, or coming-of-age, however you prefer to view it. I guess what makes it appeal to me is the non-judgmental way Hurston reveals Janie's self-realization. Also, Hurston writes so beautifully sometimes it hurts.

The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery - This is total wish-fulfillment fantasy, by the way. It's written by the same person who wrote the Anne of Green Gable series, and The Blue Castle is one of her lesser-known works. It's notable for having a strong female protagonist who decides to say what she thinks (this is right before the first World War) and being critical of Victorian social strictures, as well as bringing up unsavory topics, such as out-of-wedlock pregnancies. It's kind of hard to find a copy in bookstores, but you can get it online at the Australian Gutenberg site. (The American Gutenberg site doesn't have it because of stupid American copyright issues.)

The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury - Before I found out that Bradbury was a racist, bitter, stupid Bush-voting man, I read this, and found it really touching. Later I would read more of Bradbury's works, and realize that all his writerly faults show up first in here, and that he's more of a fantasist than a science-fiction writer. The writing in this one is still very powerful.

Any of the colored Fairy Books by Andrew Lang - I LOVE fairy tales. These collections really appealed to me as a kid, and I would just get utterly lost in them. I reread some of them last year, and just realized how WRONG some of these fairy tales were. Also, Disney sanitized everything. But whatever, I like reading about princesses and fairies and fighting monsters and dumb princes.
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1. Your favorite *non-fiction* book

Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, by Maxine Hong Kingston. I read this before I was old enough to realize that most Asian American novels were rehashes of the same issues, but every time I open this book up I fall in love. This was one of the first books where I realized how much power Kingston concentrated in her deliberate details, how much she thought about the same things I did, and how much interesting material she wrangles from the ordinary details of living.

2. Your favorite children's book (from the age when you were being read to, or just beginning to read)

No one ever read to me. My sisters and I were the ones who helped my parents learn English, and that was from the citizenship handbook. My favorite children's book was Matilda, by Roald Dahl. I apparently like violent revenge fantasies. Also, did you know that Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, wrote porn? It's true - look up Switch Bitch and My Uncle Oswald on Amazon. I haven't read them, but apparently there's a bit of S&M in them.

3. Your favorite book as a young adult (define "young adult" as you will)

Er, I think by the time I was a young adult I was reading adult novels. But Francesca Lia Block held this weird fascination for me. Also, any Christopher Pike novel. I reread some of his stuff a few months ago; I wonder what he was taking.

4. Your favorite fantasy author

Hmm...I haven't read fantasy in a long time. Tolkien? C.S. Lewis, even though he apparently hates hippies?
toastykitten: (Default)
Taken from The Valve:

1. Do you compose on the computer? Why or why not?

I do most of the time, mostly because it's faster and that way I don't have to see my mistakes.

2. Does carbon paper make you nostalgic?

Did paper go away or something?

3. Do you have a stationary and/or a pen fetish?'s "stationery" and I can't believe I just had to correct a so-called "literary organ"! Anyway, to answer the question, yes I have a stationery fetish, mostly for all those cute ones in Kinokuniya. It started young, with all the Sanrio notebooks, and blossomed into an obsession with the emergence of more Japanese characters. The Americans have been trying to catch up, but I don't think their things are as cool or cute.

4. Do you remember the first “grown-up” book that you ever read?

I think it was Charlotte's Web, because I remember having to read it for 2nd grade. I remember liking it a lot.

5. What embarrassing book from the distant past brings back a flood of recognition?

Um, any Babysitters Club book? Or Sweet Valley High? I'm not particularly embarrassed by them, though.

6. Are you a scholar, or a critic? Or neither?

I am very critical. :P

7. When did you decide to become a scholar/critic/neither? Did you decide?

I like venting.

8. Has blog writing affected the way you write in other venues? The way you read?

I skim a lot more now, and I have a shorter attention span. I'm finding it hard to concentrate on real books, which I find a bit sad.

9. Do you still read blogs or other webpages even if the design/print is unappealing or difficult to read?


10. Have you ever bought a book because of the cover/design? Which book(s)?

Not books, but magazines. I love good design, especially in magazines like Readymade and Dwell. *surface was a revelation in the beginning - there's such a thing as the American avant-garde? Of course they moved to New York and then I hated them.

11. Do you think these questions are irrelevant?

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