I'm back in L.A. for Thanksgiving and it's great. I miss my palm trees and blue skies and warmth and Tito's Tacos.
Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating it- I adopted a European, Edouard, again this year and took him in for the holiday.
Obama's got an ecomic team that looks promising- they're all experienced and are centrist or leaning to the right on economic policies. I think it's nice that he picked people who aren't going to be pragmatic about our economy and also that he's picked people who he may not necessarily agree with on all accounts.
I'm not too happy that GM and other private companies are being bailed out however. Why support a business that's been poorly managing themselves? I realize the bail out is partly to keep people with work, but why not use that 50 billion to help the workers directly rather than the CEOs who are doing a bad job? I dunno, I'm not an economist, but that seems to make more sense to me.
Thankfully, Obama is planning to work on the country's infrastructrue, which is what FDR did during the Great Depression. You can never go wrong with this- you provide more and new jobs and you get nicer roads and bridges to boot.
I know a lot of people are upset about the new tax structure- I hear a lot of my friends complaining about raised taxes. To them I say, how come you never told me you make more than 250K a year? How come you never buy me coffee or take me out to lunch? Talk about holdin' out on me! =P
While doing my archiving work, I watched Eagle vs. Shark, which was very Napoleon Dynamite-esque but better. The humor is subtler but I found the characters and storyline to be more endearing. I recommend it.
I'm not sure how common this is but it's been my experience that people like to ask each other how they would like to die. Most people either say they would like to die in a massive explosion or in their sleep. I think the "dying in your sleep" answer is a bit of a cop out- I guess for me the point of the question isn't about how you would like to ideally die but rather finding out what freak accident one would prefer to have happen to them.
Most people say they want to die in a big explosion b/c they want it to be a glorious, climactic end where they hopefully take out other people in the process. I don't know, that method always seemed to be too selfish and self- aggrandizing but I guess if we're sitting around talking about our own deaths that means we must be a little egotistical to begin with.
Anyway, I never could come up with a good answer for that question but I decided last night that if I had to die in a freak accident I would want it to be an ironic death. I think being run over by an ambulance would be good. It would be a little funny in a dark humored sort of way, don't you think? I hope that my friends and family would think so because if there's an afterlife I know I'd be laughing about it.
Now that Obama's going to be president there's been a lot of talk about who the next major discriminated race is going to be in Asians. A lot of people are saying Asians. Frankly, when people were telling me this I was skeptical: what about Latinos or Middle Easteners, for instance?
But then I got to thinking- people make racist jokes about Asians ALL THE TIME and for some reason it's much more acceptable and not nearly as taboo. People come up to me after I'm tell them I'm half Japanese and do the whole "slanty" eyed routine, make bad driving jokes, or start talking in ridiculous "Asian accents."
Only my closest friends, who know I have a sense of humor, are allowed to do that to me (in turn, I'm allowed to make rude jokes to them). But I can't believe that people I don't know are rude enough to just assume that I'm ok with them calling me slanty eyes.
A lot of people- even in progressive/ politically correct places like Los Angeles and New York City- also often ask me ignorant questions such as "Do you know how to play the koto?" "Is sushi your favorite food?" "Do you wear a kimono often?" Just b/c I'm half Japanese doesn't mean I do any of these things or that sushi is my favorite food (it's up there, but not my favorite). My mom is full Japanese from Japan and she definitely doesn't play a koto or wear kimonos. She doesn't even wear skirts.
If any of you think these questions aren't racist at all, just think about how it looks if you went up to a Mexican person and asked him "Do you wear sombreros?" "Are tacos your favorite food?" "Are you in a mariachi band?"
Apologies for today's comic- earlier today a comic from last year showed up instead of the one that's supposed to run today. I'm not sure what happened but it's fixed now.
It's crunch time for school. I'm trying to do as much as I can before Thanksgiving when I fly back home to L.A. for about a week. As soon as I get back I have presentations and papers to work on.
Since I'm here writing I might as well recommend to you all one of my favorite TV shows as of late: Dexter (airing on Showtime every Sunday). Dexter is the serial killer you can love and count on.
About a month ago Edouard bought me a WiiFit- and no, it wasn't his way of saying "B****... you are FAT!" but b/c my shrink and I were talking about how perhaps I can help improve my mood (particularly when I'm surfing the crimson wave) if I exercised. We talked about how maybe I could go to the NYU gym, which is supposedly fantastic (much like how UCLA's gym is fantastic- not that I would know from personal experience) but I wasn't sure if I was willing to sacrficie an hour of commuting back and forth for only 40-60 minutes of exercise. I also told him that maybe I would go to the gym for about a week but then stop b/c the idea of getting myself there and lugging clothes would become daunting. Tennis was an option but I don't have any partners to play with right now (plus it's starting to get cold here), and jogging I didn't want to do b/c I'm embarrassed by my sneakers (yayaya, I know I'm shallow) and didn't want tons of people to see them on my jogging route. We agreed that maybe I should get a yoga mat and start doing pilates and I promised him that I would buy one within a month.
I talked about this yoga mat thing with Edouard and the next day he surprised me with a WiiFit. Not a bad upgrade.
I know people are skeptical about the WiiFit but it actually does work. Yeah, maybe it's not the same as going to the gym with a personal trainer but for people who live a relatively sedentary lifestyle (I spend most of my time sitting in libraries) or can't afford a gym/personal trainer/commute time, it's great. After a month, I've lost some weight, gained muscle, and have gotten more toned- I've never been toned. I've either been flabby or unhealthily skinny and waifish. My posture has also improved immensely (which the WiiFit balance board helps you keep track of).
I've been using it for almost every day, the past 40 days, for 30-50 min. I just love how I can use it whenever I please and don't have to go further than the next room.
And my mood has improved a little, overall- I guess it's b/c my endorphins are running but I think it's also rewarding to see my physical accomplishments (I can reach my toes again!).
My friend told me that I should write in my blog more often. I told him that I didn't feel that most people would care about my random musings but according to him I'm wrong. So I'm going to write more frequently here even if I don't have anything in particular to say.
This past week was busy but I have good news: My professor ok'd my dissertation topic. I would let you know what it's going to be about but I don't want any other budding Egyptologists from other universities beating me to it (hey, they might be reading this!) Once my topic is approved by the faculty and my department, however, I will let you know about the obscure topic that I will be dedicating an unheatlhy amount of time studying for the next few years.
I have a boring job at my department where I catalogue and rename images from our Abydos expedition (Abydos is a 1st Dynasty funerary site in Southern Egypt). This job doesn't require a lot of attention so I often do it while watching a movie from my instant NetFlix queue. As a result, I've seen tons of movies these past few months. I find that I often lean toward drama, psychological thrillers, and downright depressing movies. I watch some comedies I guess, but I find light hearted stuff not nearly as satisfying- esp when I'm working late at night. I want to talk about two movies here: A Certain Kind of Death and The Whisperers.
Both movies are depressing and thought provoking.
A Certain Kind of Death is a documentary shot by two dudes (one of them is named Babcock, which admittingly is one of the reasons why I watched it) in Los Angeles and it's about what the coroner's office does with the deceased who have no next of kin. It was very informative- now I know I better have kids or at least make sure I leave behind very detailed plans of where I'm supposed to go (one person in the movie had gone so far as drawing the graveyward with an arrow pointing down to his plot). The movie was also incredibly graphic, showing lots of shots of corpses- some of them had been decaying for weeks. I'm not usually very squeemish about things like this but it disturbed me... but not as much as hearing how nonchalant the coroners and forensics people are when dealing with death. I guess you get used to it, but it's depressing to see people treat other people like meat bags- even if they're dead.
The Whisperers is a 1960s British film and is about an old delusional woman living alone in the slums of London. Lots of bad stuff happens to her and in the end she's pretty much at the same place as she was in the beginning of the movie.
The Whisperers and A Certain Kind of Death are two films that address one of my biggest fears: dying alone without family or friends. This fear is probably why I've often bent over backwards for a lot of fruitless relationships and why I end up caring too much for people who are alone for good reason (sociopathic jerks). But I can't help it! I just feel sorry for lonely people. Nothing depresses me more than seeing someone who is alone. Especially on public transportation. Specifically, busses.
I'll never forget the time when I was at the In-n-Out Burger on Gayley Blvd. in Los Angeles. I was with my roommate at the time and finishing up whatever we were eating when I saw this plain, rather dorky, looking Asian girl in her mid 30s going up to random late 20s- early 30s yuppie guys, trying to initiate a conversation. She was completely awkward and trying very hard to get them interested, but they did everything they could to ignore her. Every time one guy left, her eager smile just melted into complete disappointment... until someone else showed up. I left before she did, but I wonder how long she stayed there and if her walk home was a sad and lonely one.
When I felt really alone- this mainly taking place in 2007- I would often find myself striking up conversations with random people in New York. Sometimes people were unresponsive, which greatly disappointed me, but there were others who happily continued the conversation. At the time, it really meant a lot to me. I think I needed to know that I could connect to people without putting them in a funk.
Anyway, that's what was on my mind today. Sorry to be a "Debbie Downer." But before I go I want to make it clear that my sympathy goes out to LONELY people- not to people who are alone and happy about it ("you go girl!" or something like that...).
My thoughts on this election:
I was in Times Square when it became official that Obama was going to be president-elect. Everyone in the crowd was energerized and it was definitely an exciting and memorable time.
I've seen a lot of people protest that Obama is going to fail- that he is going to be the next Jimmy Carter. I suppose only time will tell, but I hope that he will be the next FDR or Kennedy instead. This change that we've been hearing a lot about lately isn't going to happen the minute Obama is sworn in. Our economy is going to suck for a while but hopefully the plans that our new president is going to set in motion is going to gradually turn this around.
I've also heard a lot of people say that Obama's plan to pull out of Iraq is going to send a message to other countries that we're a bunch of wimps. I'm not sure why this macho sensibility exists. There's no point in beating a dead horse. I think by pulling out responsibly and in phases while also putting together a plan for the countries we're leaving behind (something that Obama and Biden plan to do) is better for all parties directly involved and is going to make the U.S. a lot more respected in the eyes of numerous countries around the world.
You know,I'm not even that concerned about the money that was spent to finance this war. I'm more concerned about the lives lost as a result. People say that by pulling out the lives that have been lost were in vain. But how many more lives have to be lost and ruined because we're too macho and proud to admit that the U.S.'s previous plan of action is not working?
Admittingly, I probably have as much knowledge and experience in foreign relations as Sarah Palin so what do I know?
Speaking of which, I want to make it clear that I never thought McCain was evil or crazy. In fact, I kind of respected him for his centrist views (I was skeptical that Obama may be too left when it came to economic issues). I respect him for what he's done for this country and his experience in the political arena. However, I became a wary the minute he started veering way to the right and even more so when he chose Palin as his running mate. In the end it seemed that McCain/Palin was going to continue along the path that the previous administration paved for us and well, look where that's got us now.
Back to Palin- I want to say something defending her (I feel slightly bad for being so harsh on her): I think it's shameful that Democrats were yelling about how she's an unfit mother b/c her position as VP would've meant that she wouldn't have had much time with her children. Last I checked her family is a two parent household- what's wrong with dad taking care of the kids? Sometimes I think this country is more sexist than racist.
I voted via absentee ballot in CA and saw that Prop 8- the proposition that would ban gay marriage again- went through. I'm not really sure why people are so afraid of gay marriage. I hear stuff about how it ruins family values but personally, I think the divorce rate is a bigger "threat." People just walk into matrimony like it's no big deal- more concerned with the wedding (the average wedding in the US costs about $100,000) than the relationship. Furthermore, pregnant teens from puritanical households are urged to marry before most are probably ready and egotistical women and men too concerned with themselves than the other person. Maybe we heterosexual folk should be more concerned with our relationships instead.
I also hear that people are afraid that if gay marriage is allowed, it will teach children that it's ok to be gay and/or that it will MAKE their children gay. First of all, I'm in the camp that believes it's ok to be gay- if you don't agree with me, that's fine. I respect that you don't agree with the homosexual lifestyle but I don't see why we can't allow homosexuals the same rights as happy heterosexual couples. Secondly, if being around gay people makes you gay, I don't know what's wrong with me b/c I'm definitely straight. Trust me. I have gay relatives that I've been around with my entire life and I study art history for god's sake. Almost all the guys in my department are gay and if they could make some of the straight guys that are there gay too, I'm sure they would take more advantage of their "gay magic."
Anyway, all in all I'm excited for the next four years and for future generations. Whether you're for McCain or Obama, I think you can appreciate the fact that so many Americans were inspired enough by this election to be shaken out of their apathy to vote and to be vocal about where they want their country to be heading.
Being a cartoonist/Egyptologist is hard work, fer reals.
Ok, enough about politics- I've still been busy with my dissertation stuff and my last year of coursework. I'm sorry about the horribly embarassing delay on my rabbit voice. I've also been meaning to post pictures of prints I'm going to sell, but clearly I can't be bothered by it right now.
If you're a US citizen and are registered to vote, don't forget to do it today. It's important!
My CA absentee ballot made it through so I'm relieved.