Oh, weekend!

The weekend is no longer the pristine marker of fun and games that it used to be in my childhood but it does serve as a bit of breathing space from my own idiocy and inability to maintain any kind of deadline or schedule. So the college student weekend ( at least my version of it) is actually pretty sad, especially since I don’t drink.

That’s right, peoples. I don’t drink. As in, any fluids, ever. Yep. I get by on weekly doses of Jensen Ackles, Lee Pace, and Damian Lewis, instead.

My top priorities right now are sleep and catching up on my schoolwork. In that order. Plus, getting over this really frakking annoying cough.

Once I get caught up, though, it’s fun, friends, and family times. Plans for this weekend include going to check out Chris and Iris’ new place and going to Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza and watch all the pretty bendy people over at National Harbor with the ‘rents (sigh, I guess we’ll let the president of UMCP’s chapter of SigChi come, too).

If I thought I had enough brain consciousness to tide me over, I’d want to watch Quantum of Solace. Not that you really need a working brain to watch a Bond film (boom, boom, va va voom, anyone?).

Current desert island music: Bear Mcreary, acoustic Ingram Hill

Discovered: Brodsky Quartet, The Salteens, Black Lips, Kristin Hersh

Apprehensive about: Writing an actual story, NaNoWriMo, reading Phil K. Dick, APO elections, spring courses, homework

Watching: Life, Pushing Daisies, Office, Big Bang Theory, Daily Show, 30 Rock, Crusoe, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Supernatural

Reading: Sailing to Sarantium by Guy Gavriel Kay, Philip K. Dick, Oscar Wilde, Tanith Lee

Soon off to: Home, blissful land of food less than two weeks old and clean laundry

Weight: 129 lb

edit: I lied. I never actually viewed the weekends as a golden, glorious opportunity to have fun. Actually, I think I ended up going to extra math classes most weekends.

Man, my life was really frakking Asian.

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Lack of Profundity

These posts are just inane, but I promised to write one a day, and I’d like to at least pretend to stick with it. At the moment, I’m sick and dirty and smelly and brain dead because becoming even mildly sick with a cold or flu seems to drain my body of the will to live like a proper 21st century citizen, who, with her easy access to hot running water and chemically enhanced soaps and several layers of comfy, cotton clothing, should not be willing to forgo all that for a wallowing in sniffly misery.

Well, started this yesterday but got sidetracked by my crazy aching body and sleep deprivation induced nausea so instead, there gets to be a post today about the lack of brain matter and energy in my, well, brain at the moment.

Poster Child for an Entire Race

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ blog posts on President-Elect Obama got me thinking about the expectations made of a poster child for an ethnicity or race.

American Heritage defines a “poster child” as “A person who is a prominent example or type of something” which can just as easily be applied to the evils of a certain set as the good but right now I’m more concerned with the expectations made of a supposed “poster child.” And maybe that’s the wrong term for what I’m trying to de-tangle from my brain but for now it’ll suffice.

Anyways, it struck me how I hadn’t really realized before this that some people might be looking to Barack Obama to represent the entire African-American community, putting him on trial as the first African-American president. And how much I hate it when I think of the responsibility inherent in representing Korean-Americans.

Not that I’m foolish enough to think for a second that I actually am a visible or prominent representative of the KA community but in certain ways I do represent. As a member of a minority in America, I understand that some people who have little or no experience with my particular ethnic group categorize and view it through the lens of learning, otherwise known as “oh, so that’s what Koreans are like” or “huh, that must be an Asian thing.”

And then, if you do something crazy or heart wrenchingly horrible like shoot up your university, you immediately create the intuitive bridge between your representative group or subset and idiocy/violence/hatred/ignorance, for other people.

It’s just that, when Obama stumbles or makes a mistake or doesn’t live up to the idealistic standards of the people, some of them are going to cry “Black” in the worst way possible. Which galls me to no end, but Obama seems like a more intelligent and mature person than I by whole boatloads so perhaps it doesn’t gall him, this sad way humanity works.

Rain or shine

I, Esther Kim, do pledge that from here on out, no matter how crappy or destroyed or tired or squidgy I’m feeling, will post a post each day until I die or the internet does.

And along those lines, I forgot to blog about the election. But it’s alright. Everyone else did it for me, and did it better. Personally, as a former apathetic, the fact that I went out to vote indicates something. But it surprised me how much I enjoyed backing the winner. Makes me want to do it again.

Anyways, off I go to the big sausage fest that is our guy friends and Nazia’s lovely company when I should actually be doing homework and going to sleep. Friendship ruins productivity. But it’s certainly worth it. 🙂

July Update

Current desert island music: Emilie Simon, PJ Harvey, Joanna Newsom, Philip Glass, The Dandy Warhols

Discovered: Superhero music, eg. Ballad of Barry Allen, Brainiac’s Daughter, and Superman’s Song & Dirty music, eg. Shivaree and Bitter:Sweet

Apprehensive about: Dark Knight Returns, maintaining friendships with significant players gone, Hopkins

Watching: SurftheChannel, Korean dramas, movies: Prince Caspian & Hellboy

Reading: Patricia McKillip – Forests of Serre, Guy Gavriel Kay – Fionvar Tapestry, Charles de Lint -The Little Country

Soon off to: Russia

Weight: 137 lb

Down the rabbit hole and into the looking glass

Yesterday was an odd but beautiful sort of day: the kind of day that I look for everyday but if I got it would make my life much more interesting than I could possibly handle. It started with an afternoon expedition to the Sakura Matsuri Festival on Penn Ave under the imminent threat of rain. As the sky alternately shone like stadium lights and drizzled like a drooling baby, the festival was in full swing as people sampled bastardized versions of various Asian cuisines and delighted in staged performances. I wound up watching a Cosplay Contest where the Harajuku influence was quite evident. My favorites were a group of country Lolita gals (one of whom, I believe, was cross dressing) and a group of teenage Naruto fans who were geekily, charmingly funny in their responses. Both presenters were quite obviously Japanese and usually flummoxed but the male presenter made up for it by being unbearably pretty.

Afterwards, I made way back down Penn Ave, passing by several Sake/Beer gardens decked out in cutesy paper flowers, a Wii tent with a DDR competition going strong, and various arts and crafts booths. I dearly coveted the paper crane earrings and hand-blown/painted candy but ran short on cash and patience. At the GO tent, I watched a game in progress between a regular player and a neophyte. Educational and entertaining.

Each time I came upon a booth selling anime or cute t-shirts or kimonos I dearly wished Nazia and Vivian were there to share the experience with me. Which accounts for my stopping by a woodworking/calligraphy booth to get wood pendants inscribed with the phrases “Morning Flower” and “Evening Flower” in Japanese for them. At the Cherry Blossom Tea tent, I sipped tea alongside a beautifully polite and affable man and his children. His son (eight or nine years old?), reminded gently by his father, introduced himself to me then asked with great enthusiasm if I had noticed any tents selling anime and manga products along my way. To which I laughed and explained that there was a whole section of the festival down the street devoted to J-Pop. The boy grinned ear to ear, and the father offered his farewells as they roamed off. This, and the whole day really, is why I love the geek community.

Partly to commemorate this auspicious interaction and partly because I am an avid fan of cherry blossoms, I bought a batch of blooming blossoms tea which I am now drinking, and it is heavenly. It smells and tastes exactly of sweet cherry blossoms. Magnificent.

Took in the sights, gazed longingly at some kimonos, had the Japanese paper art Washi explained to me, and followed a crowd to a magnificent performance of drums and dancing. The men played drums and alternated performances with the dancing women. The nihon buyo dancers were like dolls come to life. The occasional, high-pitched “hai” only served to accentuate that illusion. Very cute and a definite sight to see. By the time I was ready to move on the crowd had doubled.

Next, I took a breather and sat watching a kendo exhibition while munching on the roasted almonds I bought earlier. Fun, especially when they brought out a little boy who enthusiastically attempted to hit the target with little miniscule cries of attack.

At that point, I made my way towards the White House, saw that the line stretched down several blocks and detoured around the National Treasury to the back of the White House. None of which I recall ever seeing before in all my twenty-one years of living twenty minutes away from DC. There were the usual protestors behind the White House. The great, white building seemed such a calm place for the epicenter of all the turmoil that has wracked the nation these past seven years. Further along, I found the Renwick Gallery, which I’m sorry to have missed all these years. It held a fascinating collection of Ornament as Art. In my hurry to catch the Bhangra Block Party at GW, I skipped merrily out of there as soon as I had availed myself of their plumbing facilities. After asking for directions from some policemen, I tramped along ’til I reached the Farragust West station. Reaching GW was a frustrating, though ultimately useful, exercise in directions. But I then put one foot in front of the other to reach Georgetown. Finally made it to Big Planet in time to play catch up on Simone’s run of Wonder Woman. Then picked up some drinks and a yogurt parfait from Dean & Deluca to enjoy on the waterfront. My poor feet were begging me to just pick a spot and rest my bum at this point but I persevered along the entire waterfront ’til I found a bench right in front of a rowing center, on the far end of the front and sat enjoying the sun, the parfait, and Pterry’s Wintersmith.

Far more time passed than I had been aware of before I finally made my way back to the Foggy Bottom stop to go home. I passed the Watergate complex and a bevy of Kennedy Center go-ers on my way. On the metro, reluctant to have the day end, I made an impulse decision to stop by Dupont Circle and wander for a bit before I went back. Here was where my day truly took a turn for the odd. Popped into Kramerbooks and Beadazzled, then made my way to the circle itself to sit down and write the day’s happenings. There was a great crowd of people enjoying the weather and indulging in various activities. Amongst them, next to me sat three very amiable gentlemen, one of whom was drawing very detailed portraits of various people in the circle, and another of whom, named Ephim Schluger, I held a varied and lengthy conversation with. Ephim was clearly looking to share his thoughts and the wonderful sunset with someone, and I was the lucky recipient of his colorful and charismatic conversation. I stayed on ’til almost nine chatting with him over various cities’ future plans and the worries and cares of the world, how insular and conservative American culture had become and so forth. It was englightening, engaging, and it had have convinced me to return to university in the fall.

The other half of convincing me fell to Ms. Angela Wu, attorney for the Becket Fund, and a friendly woman I met while waiting for the train. I was attempting to open my bottle of Sierra Mist w/o having it run all over my fingers, so I was sitting on a bench, holding the bottle up to eye level and twisting the cap on and off like some psychotic paranoid. She came over to laugh in commiseration of the quandary I found myself in, and I awkwardly attempted a conversation. I think she was a bit taken aback by my lack of social niceties but apparently I was interesting enough to continue a dialogue with. We learned very little about each other in the ten minutes we conversed but I felt at least a whiff of the kindred spirit about her, and I now hold a business card which declares her line of work. A line of work defending religious liberty (all religions, not just the monotheistic ones), which I find beyond commendable.

So yesterday was a good day. Inexplicable in some ways, but good.