To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life. ~W. Somerset Maugham
March 27, 2011
I think one if the greatest gifts my parents instilled me with was a love of reading. I am a voracious reader.
When I was young, my dad would quiz me on basic vocabulary using flashcards. I remember these flashcards well. They were regular index cards written with neon green highlighter. And didn’t matter where we were. My family and I would be at a New Years Eve party and my dad would still pull out those flashcards.
I would even read at the dinner table. Or in the car (until my parents told me that I was ruining my eyes).
I think my greatest reading feat occurred in the 4th grade. I started and finished reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. I think I also started reading the rest of the series, but it took me a very long time. Not because of the length of the books, but because Elrond’s Counsel was such a long and difficult chapter to go get through. I finished them all eventually, and I have reread them several times. At one point I could quote from The Fellowship of the Ring and give what chapter and page number it was from without the book.
My favorite book is Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers. I also enjoy The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, the Inheritance Series, and period novels like The Other Boleyn Girl.
Anyways, Catherine, one of my beloved former roommates, got me The Rose of Sebastopol for my birthday. That was on Sunday. I finished it on Friday. I enjoyed it very much. It makes me want to reread Wuthering Heights. She also got me a B&N giftcard. It did not last long.
On my trip to B&N, I got John Green’s Paper Towns. I finished it last night and I’m actually ready to reread it again. It was really good. Despite the fact that it’s geared towards teens, I would definitely recommend it for anyone. It contained a lot of thought provoking bits that I wish to contemplate.
Anyways, I am distracted by the sound of live crawfish behind me. I am ravenously hungry. Cannot wait for them to be cooked. My dad makes the best crawfish ever.
March 24, 2011
to my parents, grandparents, family, and friends that wished me a happy birthday. I appreciate all the thoughts, sentiments, and time that everyone took out of their day for me.
So Sunday, March 20, I turned 23. Not much of a big deal: I’m already able to drink, and not quite close to 25 or 30 to feel that old, lol.
My day was pretty low-key, just the way I like it. Went to church, visited my grandmother, and went to lunch at La Madeline with my parents. When we went home, my dad went to play golf, mom went on her Mac, and I finished up a personal statement and took a quick cat nap. Then, I went to 100% Taquito (again. I’ve been going there almost weekly, lol) with my former roommates and their significant others minus Jack and Adrienne, who were both in Austin. And then after that, we went dancing at the Melody Club.
As Jeff put it, “we went dancing at a club with a lot of swingers.” Lindy hop swingers. Naturally, after Lindyfest, this was my favorite part. I got a birthday dance all to myself because there were no other March birthdays at HSDS this week. Very odd. Still, it was really fun and awesome. I love my friends for putting up with my insane desire to always go dancing.
Now I have to attempt to make something tasty to celebrate her birthday. And clean my room. And go to the bank. Responsibility: I have it.
March 16, 2011
Students are always excited for spring break. I am no longer a student, but I still feel that way. The reason? Lindyfest is almost always during a weekend of spring break. It’s a weekend I look forward to more than my own birthday, which is also in March.
For those of you that don’t know, Lindyfest is “an intensive and fun lindy hop weekend workshop jammed packed with classes for all dance levels, soul sessions with living legends, hot performances and four endless nights of dancing” run by Houston Swing Dance Society. This is my third year attending Lindyfest and it was amazing.
Lately, I haven’t been dancing as much as I did in college. I’ve moved back to Houston. It took me awhile to figure where to go dance. It me even longer to get the nerve to go out. And my parents are still iffy about letting me go out. Sigh. Anyways, because I haven’t been dancing as much as I’d like, I was rusty. Really rusty. Like I-can’t-believe-how-much-I-suck rusty. It’s not a pleasant feeling.
Then, Lindyfest rolled around. I was ready to de-rust, take some classes, and work on my following skills. All of that happened over the weekend, and so much more.
I learned about connection and frame and different moves. I loved going to these workshops led by all-star Lindy Hoppers. I liked learning how to be a better follow. I enjoyed learning about the dance on a whole other level. It was and always will be a wonderful experience learning about Lindy Hop.
However, I think the greatest thing about Lindyfest this year is that the teachers reminded me to dance. Funny right? Lindy Hop is a dance, so I should be dancing it right? Well, I was so caught up with my skills and being a sucky follow that I forgot to have fun. To listen to the music. Or as Dawn Hampton says it, “take all that shit they teach you in class and throw it out the window. Just dance.”
I can definitely took what I learned in class and use it on the dance floor and somehow have fun while doing it. Sunday night, I did just that. I danced with Campbell Miller, my dance instructor at UT, and giggled the entire song. I was just giddy and happy that I got to see her again (even though I’m a horrible lead). I danced with Ashley and was amazed at how a good follow feels like. Wish I were at that level, but baby steps. I danced with Dawn Hampton herself, and it was sooo fun and so awesome. Brittany from Glee would definitely say how it’s like “double rainbows” or something. I also danced with Peter Strom twice over the weekend. And somehow over the course of Lindyfest, I was affirmed that no, I don’t suck as much I think I do; yes, there is a lot of room for improvement; and yes, that’s okay.
So now I have a few tangible-ish goals for my Lindy Hop:
- Work on my swivels
- Work on the solo jazz steps taught by Naomi (baby steps with those too)
- Pulse, pulse, pulse.
- Get out more and dance and maybe make new friends doing so
- Start practicing by myself
I definitely learned so much about Lindy Hop over the weekend. And I had a lot of fun. I can’t wait for next year. Anybody up for the Chocolate Bar on Thursday? Or I’ll be at Melody Club on Sunday if anyone wants to dance. It’ll be my birthday!
March 9, 2011
Yesterday day at work, I was walking around and I somehow started thinking about the Jimmy Fallon episode on Top Chef. fit, my work place, is a Japanese store. Naturally, I started thinking about Richard Blaise’s rendition of duck ramen. I had perused the recipe before and I found his “super power ramen booster- flavor pack” to be quite amusing. The ingredients to replace the normal maru-chan flavor pack looked quite delicious. Unfortunately, Blaise’s dish didn’t seem to impress the judges. I remember him saying on one of the web exclusives that he was supposed to have dumplings, but when he was running around helping other chefs, he knocked them over. Sadness.
So I started thinking about what I would have done if I had special chef super powers. When I visit California, my cousin takes me to this really awesome ramen place, 大黒家 (Daikokuya). They have this special sort of ramen, kotteri ramen, which basically has extra backfat added to the broth of their regular ramen. Fat = flavor, so I would totally add extra duck fat to my duck ramen. AB, also calls duck fat “liquid love.” I agree. I would also add a bamboo shoot garnish.
Somehow during my contemplation, I started fantasizing that I went to Japan and learned how to make ramen and ramen noodles. I would make hand-made noodles for my ramen. And roasted duck legs. Man I’m hungry, lol.
I was so absorbed in my thoughts that I almost didn’t hear a customer ask me where the nail cutters were. I snapped out of it, accidentally called him “ma’am,” mentally slapped myself, apologized, and showed his wife where the nail cutters were. Hopefully I won’t think too much about food at work next time. Priorities. I have them.
Maybe one day I’ll be able to make my own ramen. I must think about it some more. Not just flavors, but actual execution. Until then, しつれします。
March 4, 2011
I was on my way home last night after dinner at 100% Taquito and dancing at The Chocolate Bar, when I Rihanna’s latest song S&M started playing on the radio. I pulled into the driveway when she started singing S-S-S & M-M-M/S-S-S & M-M-M.
Suddenly I started contemplating about the phonemes that make up the letters “s” and “m.”
Out of the all the possible thoughts that I could come up with, that’s what I decided to focus on? I could’ve thought about “man, today’s music is all about sex and alcohol” or “why is it ‘chains and whips’ and not ‘whips and chains’? That’s just confusing.” No, no. I think about the phonemes of ”s” and “m”.
Perhaps I should give some background about myself. When I went to The University of Texas at Austin, I double majored in Japanese and linguistics. I have this weird obsession with sounds and how they combine (the study of phonology) even though I preferred diagramming sentences and semantics. Oh, and just so you know, a phoneme is the smallest unit of sound that carries meaning. At least that’s what I learned in my classes. I, however, have just stumbled across a definition that best suits the purpose of this post: A phoneme is the smallest contrastive unit in the sound system of a language (from the website http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsAPhoneme.htm). Anyways, enough with the phonetics 101.
So the phonemes of “s and m” are /εs ænd εm/. That means that two phonemes make up each letter. Cool huh?
That got me thinking about the rest of the alphabet. Some letters are easier to transcribe into IPA (the International Phonetic Alphabet) than others. [a] is /e/, a mid, front vowel. [b] is /bi/. I think one of the more interesting ones is [g] =/dʒi/. I think I find it amusing that it doesn’t have /g/, which is a glottal stop, as part of its pronunciation.
I tried to explain it to my dad, but he didn’t understand what I was talking about. He told me to go look for something for him to watch on netflix instead. Unfortunately, the instant queue wouldn’t refresh on our TV so we ended up watching Rex Navarrete’s Hella Pinoy on youtube. Dad found it funny and I was happy to see him laugh.
Perhaps one day I’ll go back and transcribe the rest of the alphabet for practice, but for right now I really need to write an essay, cook dinner for my parents, and clean my messy kitchen. Until next time…