December 31, 2011 - A year ending with a special lesson...
So on Wednesday my mom’s visit with me and my sister ended as it always does, us just sitting at the airport quietly absorbing the sadness that always seems to swell when it’s time for us to depart from her. Our mom came for two weeks this year to spend the entire Christmas holiday with us. Most of the time, Mom’s annual visits end right before Christmas so that me and my sister can then spend the holiday with our Dad, but this year, Mom wanted to spend the actual holiday here in Arlington which was fine…well…not very fine in the beginning, and quite honestly, I kind of dreaded it a little, but not because it was my mother that was visiting, but because I was slightly afraid of what I could remember feeling on that special day when I woke.
You see, growing up was mostly spent with just the three of us, me, my mom, and sister. My parents had separated and then divorced when I was around ten, and before all that, I don’t really have too many memories of my Dad around because he was often out to sea or I was just too young to remember him around at all. So mostly, Christmastime involved just the three of us. Mom was also not a very social person so she’d never invite friends or relatives over to celebrate the holidays with us either. Plus, I think the years surrounding the divorce of my parents both before and after were a solemn time for us, and especially for my mother. I don’t think she ever thought it could happen to her, that is, she’d end up being the primary caretaker of her two daughters, but she did and this realization I think left a slight hint of bitterness in the air for most my childhood and teenage years. So incidentally, turning the holiday into a huge party wasn’t necessarily something she looked into doing, ever. It was always just us around the tree…with always that strange feeling that someone or something was missing…and just wasn’t there…that maybe should’ve been…or maybe just wished could’ve been…but nonetheless, wasn’t. But despite it being an inevitable existence and at the end of the day, an okay one, it was also a slightly lonely one…the fact that it was always just the three of us, all trying to make sense around the tree, that it would only be us three, yet again.
So when Mom said she wanted to be together again during Christmas, immediately I became a little sad that I wouldn’t be with our father and stepmother. For the past ten years since I moved to the area, our Christmas’s have been spent all together with the exception of one other time, and these Christmas’s have been an incredibly joyful time for me, which I suppose is because of all the time now being spent with my Dad; the time which had been missing so much in the earlier part of my life. These particular Christmas’s with my Dad are also a little more social too with friends and relatives stopping by in and out for most of the season, and the reason being that my Dad and stepmom have a real sense of community in the area and are always very open to bringing in the same community into their homes. That is not to say that my mother never had that same sense of community I think. It’s just that her sense of community existed just between her two daughters whom she loves dearly and did her best to raise. However, putting those quiet, gentle Christmas’s with her and my sister up against the loud, boisterous Christmas’s with my Dad and stepmom and friends often left those quiet times shut out and stored away in a memory bank that I usually wasn’t really looking to invest much interest in the past ten years …and well here I was now being reminded of what I had quietly left to be forgotten.
But don’t get me wrong, our mom did an awesome job in making sure me and my sister had wonderful Christmas’s when it came down to presents and food. We were never left wanting or wishing for anything more. I always got everything on my list and then some. So this is not all to say that our Christmas’s together were a total time of sadness, not at all. But like I said, there was always a tiny sense of it always feeling just a bit small and lonely, and sometimes it’s those little feelings that ironically seem to take up the most time and space in us.
It’s funny but when our Dad found out we were going to spend the holidays with our Mom, same thing I think was returned to him and our stepmom. That is, they were now finding themselves feeling that same kind of sad and lonely feeling knowing we wouldn’t be together this year. However, I knew the joyous fun-filled years we’ve spent together made that realization not so difficult to deal with since having had all that great time together. So despite us being absent from each other this year, it was still going to be okay. Now if only I still wasn’t anxious about it being…just the three of us again.
So fast forward to about a week and a half into our mom’s two week visit, when having had an absolute ball shopping, cooking, eating, watching movies, chatting, and just being around each other, was when it finally occurred to me two days after Christmas what had been really going on with me and my feelings all this time.
My mom and I had been hard at work cooking all afternoon. Usually with every one of her visits, our mom makes it a point to make many of our favorites to be frozen and eaten at a later time long after she’s left; a common perk from having a Chinese mother. This perk usually means a freezer filled with homemade egg rolls, pork dumplings, scallion pancakes, and whatever carbohydrate mayhem she decides to include. This time it included all of the aforementioned along with one other special treat. We had decided earlier in the week to not make my famous Christmas sugar cookies this year since none of our palettes seemed to be into the sweet this season, more savory, so instead we decided to try our best at making the famous dim sum delicacy of the famous Chinese Roast Pork buns.
Anyone who knows Chinese food knows of the delicious Roast Pork buns usually available at dim sums or Chinese bakeries or in the frozen food section of Asian markets, with the light and fluffy bun filled with that sweet and savory flavor of red-cooked roast pork. When made well and stuffed good and full, they are probably one of the most delightful carb treats that has ever come out of steamer. They are amazing, and naturally, this amazement doesn’t come easy. It actually comes out of a rather long process, though not very difficult to a pro, but perhaps a little more difficult to a novice, but nonetheless, long and tedious for all levels.
So after an afternoon of toiling over our very first batch of roast pork buns, which despite us being a little like Laurel and Hardy in the kitchen; we lost 3 cups of flour, one package of yeast, and a countless number of looks, the buns still came out perfect! And I couldn’t tell you how many times we laughed at each other as one of us would turn to the other and say, “Like this?” And the other would reply, “I don’t know. Guess so!” And then vice versa, repeat: Like this? I don’t know. Guess so!
We were both rather ecstatic and proud of ourselves when in the end out came the steamer three pretty perfectly produced looking buns. However it wouldn’t be complete without my sister, who though didn’t participate in the making, certainly did in the tasting of them and it was her final judgment that made the whole laughable tedious process worthwhile—to her the buns, as her eyes quietly rested upon her bite, were not only good, the buns were actually GREAT!
How awesome!? The hard work paid off in the end, and as I concentrated more and more on this aspect as I also took note of the three of us quietly smiling, quietly being pleased, and quietly feeling just happy at the fact that it was just us three together again; it finally occurred to me that those previous Christmas’s which seemed spent small and lonely, were really just spent small and special. I really don’t know what happened this time, maybe it was all the time I spent trying to dodge that devilish lonely feeling that tried to creep up now and again during my mom’s visit and usually only when I would notice just the three of us in the room, but soon at some point I recall thinking to myself: So what? It’s just three. Why does three have to be lonely? Why can’t it be just special? And that’s kind of when it dawned on me. Us three together was no longer lonely…it was just special… and just like lonely can sometimes make you tear up a bit..so can special. And I think that’s really what it’s always been.
The time my mom, my sister, and me have spent together both years ago and these past two weeks have been nothing short of special. I think this Christmas the greatest gift given to me was realizing that; and also that though a loud, joyous, and fun-filled Christmas spent with tons of relatives and friends can make this time of year extra special; so can a quiet, meek, and gently-filled spirit between three individuals be just as special. And I’m so happy, and blessed, for those three individuals to be just my mom, my sister, and me.
And really, like they say about two peas in a pod…for the final days of my mom’s visit…we were truly like three buns in a pot.
Again, Merry Christmas everyone…and Happy New Year, and remember in times like these whether it’s one or a ton…it’s never lonely or loud…it’s always just plain special.
December 25, 2011 - My Christmas Message
So I suppose that if the Pope can have one every year then so can I,
So my Christmas message this year is for us all to remember that if we are able to answer such a question like: What do you want for Christmas?
with a response like: Mmm, not really anything because I’ve got all I need.
Well, then that really IS the best gift ever….
Now, with that thought in mind...
Go put the STUPID FUCKING AIR JORDANS BACK
Merry Christmas y’all.
December 14, 2011 - Merry Christmas to me, a new tattoo...
and the story to come later.
December 3, 2011 - Words to live by, I think.
"I would love to live like a river flows..carried by the suprise of its own unfolding." - John O'Donohue
November 24, 2011 - Gobble Gobb!! OH GAD, she dropped the whole bottle on the floor!
Sometimes the world sets you up just this way: I walk through my apt lobby and drop my bottle of Beaujolais...CRASH...A man near me is also walking through the lobby with a 12-pack of paper towels.
And yep with no hesitation, the man ripped his package open and handed me a roll to wipe it all up.
Now honestly, that's some serious timing to be thankful for..
Happy Thanksgiving everyone...
Ps. and thankfully, yes, the good samartian was too cute.
November 7, 2011- Nature Naturally
Sometimes all one needs is a little bit of time with what’s really real and then all of the sudden, the world seems right again. It’s no secret around here lately I’ve been feeling rather ornery with life. Just the other day I told a good friend of mine that I’ve been visualizing my qi, or life’s energy, as that of a little porcupine. You know, just kind of spiky and sharp all over, yet still very soft and vulnerable underneath. There are several factors that all play a part…a little bit has to do with my station in life, the all too familiar struggle with doing what I have to do verses what I’d love to do…coupled with me knowing full well that a lot of this is under my very own control, yet I’m still not finding the strength or courage to take that control, which is SO FRUSTRATING. So there’s that.
Then there’s just the practical problems like feeling like I can’t ever get ahead financially or lose the weight I need too, but again, who doesn’t understand this. And then of course, there’s me and my men. ..and I should really just pause here a moment so that I don’t write anything I’ll regret later…but let’s just say nicely, that sometimes I wish more men were true to themselves and with others. It’s really hard to deal with men when all they want to do is “play” with you, which at the end of the day causes them to never be honest with you or even sometimes to themselves. It’s incredible. I mean, some of these men I’ve met are in their straight up 40s and yet they are STILL “playing”. Part of me just wants to sit them down, look them straight in the eye, and say, “Hey, you don’t want to grow up, that’s fine with me… but know that it’s either grow up… or grow old… ALONE.” And honestly, I don’t think a lot of these guys get this…but well maybe they do and I’m just the dumb one here, but in all honesty, I really just don’t think they get it, but that’s just my opinion. But what can I do except make sure I continue to do good by myself and really try to do my best at steering clear of the ones who like to play.
So really, all this immaturity and arrested development just makes meeting someone really authentic and true nearly impossible it seems. I like to think I’m as authentic and true as anyone can be, so naturally me not discovering anyone similar to that is making this whole “dating” experience incredibly annoying and again, like everything else, FRUSTRATING. So really, let’s just say that in the past couple of weeks…my feng has been just a little out of shui. However after yesterday, I think I’m now okay.
So what made yesterday so great for my need to re-center myself? Well, my good friend Kris and I had an amazing time with an awesome ride out to Luray Caverns in Luray, Virginia and then back through the Shenandoah National Park via the famous Skyline Drive. I don’t know how to really express the most amazing time I had while on my bike…with the leaves pretty much in full fall color and the breathtaking views from amazing elevations…I can’t think of a more perfect way to spend a beautiful autumn day than what I did yesterday. There’s something so invigorating about seeing a beautiful mountain ridge bursting with reds, oranges, yellows, and muted greens here and there, and all up against a perfectly lit clear blue sky. You really can suddenly forget all about the day’s or year’s trials for a solid couple of hours just by allowing yourself to take in all the sights and smells and feelings…and this all is exactly what I did.
And then not to mention the visit to Luray Caverns. This place had me losing myself in such awe at not only the age and depth of our Earth, but the shear phenomenal art that Nature and Order themselves can create together. The columns, stalactites, stalagmites, and mirrored pools of water seemed a window into a natural world that simply lives mostly alone in its own eternal perfection…and the reason why I say “mostly alone” is because I couldn’t help but think as I walked through the caverns that none of this would’ve ever been discovered had not a couple of curious guys ventured down into the sinkhole back in1878. It’s all so amazing.
Here are a few pics from the day:
And yes, there's a happy me
So truly, this communion with nature yesterday really did in some miraculous way rejuvenate me. I can’t thank Time enough for giving me the pleasure of exploring the Earth’s and in particular the state of Virginia’s, beautiful landscapes both above and below the ground. I’m still kind of on a natural high as we speak about the whole adventure…it’s almost as if at this moment, I could care less about all the lies that have ever been told to me, or I’ve even told myself because in some weird way I feel like I was able to really witness what is really real…and what I mean by that is that down in Luray Caverns or up in the Shenandoah is where one can see the world just being the world. The water is going to drip down to form massive pillars of minerals, and the leaves are going to change color and fall to reform again later. There are no secrets to nature. It does what it does, and just simply waits to be discovered by the likes of us. That is what I found to be so refreshing and truthful for me yesterday. The mountains didn’t feel the need to hide their color; the air didn’t apologize for its chill; the stalagmites stood erect and proud; and the cavern batted back the beautiful tones of its creations… it was all there and open for everyone to take in and enjoy. How much more real can you get than that?
So again, all thanks to wonderful Luray Caverns and the Shenandoah National Park, I was finally able to transform my ornery little porcupine into something a bit more like me… which is truthfully and authentically just a little ole grateful and happy Me.
October 31, 2011 - And it's that time of year again...
On this very eve,
little black kitty sits in the night
waiting for his mistress to take her flight
and through the dark sky will she soon soar
casting her spells against evil forevermore,
And as he sits with her while on their way
they’ll meet those that drift unholy
on this Hallows’ day,
And together they’ll lead them out
and away from the rest they’ll go
all those ghostly spirits of doubt
gone far from our pumpkin's glow.
So do not cower
should you see them during the witching hour
for their path you see across the moon
is nothing more but then a good wish for you.
October 22, 2011 - New Poem
Because God is Woman
I don’t know what else to do—
I don’t have the right education or
experience to make a difference
I don’t have the connections
to give me that edge and
I have no money to fly
across the world to have that say
but I do have this keyboard
and I have this poem
and I have at least
I read about a woman in Ethiopia recently
and the husband of ten years
though recently divorced
seemed to have remained friends they all said
until the night it happened
the night he took a sharp object and stabbed out her eyes
I’ve read about a lot of women in Ethiopia
they sew some of them up you know
and sometimes they even just cut it off
It all kind of makes me wonder
… why do they hate us so much?
I remember back in college
A professor of mine in women studies called her a hero—
(like many women did)
hailing Lorena’s tossing out the severed penis through the window
As us witnessing one of the most, if not THE MOST profound phenomenological displays of deconstructionism ever to have been made an example of in our post-structuralist world.
That somehow Lorena had rejected the form,
the hegemonic system we all thought was inescapable
…just by using a kitchen knife and an open window.
I had thought maybe she just didn’t want
to be driving around with a half-severed
penis in her hand
but I needed an “A”
so I nodded and roared on and on
and swore to watch Thelma and Louise over and over again
and took another Women Studies class the next semester
just to make sure
they all new
But as I read on,
“Kenya is the latest African country to ban female genital mutilation…”
I wonder BAN?
and why aren’t there more
lying littered across reaped fields
with those ugly nut sacks pierced straight through
blood oozing as they hang helpless upon splintered fence posts
looking as useless as caught plastic bags in barren trees
Why aren’t there?
And then I recall
the face of my mother
as she stood leaning over the kitchen sink
weeping quietly to herself,
there’s nothing but to do but the dishes…
and for Aberash Haile
there’s nothing but to do either
but to dwell in her new found blindness
they even sometimes do
sew us up.
October 13, 2011 - A Haiku...4U.
I watch the storm pass
The leaves sway into the rain
Such love in the dance
October 7, 2011- G'mar Chatimah Tova
I'm not jewish...but Lord knows...I'm sorry for my sins.
October 5, 2011
This is probably going to sound as cryptic as ever…
But you ever go and do something you know is totally out of character for you, yet while you're doing it, you feel like you're being more and more like the real you?
October 1, 2011 - Don't mind me, I'm just humming along...
So on Thursday, I came across these amazing photos taken by 15-year-old Marlin Shank of Dayton, Virginia. The photos are of a rare occurrence with an Albino Ruby-throated Hummingbird in a park in Staunton, Virginia. See a few of the photos I posted below and you can read more about the occurrence here: http://www.buzzfeed.com/catesish/rare-albino-hummingbird-spotted-in-va.
Now just how awesomely beautiful are these photos? And the fact that these pictures were not only capturing a very rare instance between us and hummingbirds in general, since I mean, we ALL know how quickly the little buggers move, and the mere fact that he was also an ALBINO hummingbird, rare indeed, makes for the odds of such an occurrence even greater…OH and not to mention the pictures were also taken by a young boy and not necessarily a “professional” photographer either, I mean, really WOW.
But to make this encounter even a little more extraordinary for me—and really probably just for me only—was that just the other day before I came across these photos, a friend and I had a rare discussion which included the very topic of albinism.
Now for the record, I know most of you reading (or any of you who are) will probably react the same way my friend did when I went up to her to tell her about what I thought and think is a MOST fascinating moment of synchronicity—My friend actually just broke out into a very hearty laugh and proceeded to tell me how she thought my incredible “passion” for the “synchronous” occurrence was endearing at best. So then after giving that friend of mine a playful slap on her leg, I am going to tell YOU exactly what I told her, “PLEASE, just humor me a little bit here, OKAY?” Okay.
So like I said, our conversation started off rather oddly. I was just sitting at my desk contemplating like I usually do when trying to make the day go by faster, and my coworker/friend came to my cube and sat down asking me what I was doing. In all honesty, I had been just sitting at my desk trying to understand the nature of Discrimination. Interestingly enough, yes, the topic had been brewing in my head since my last disastrous date I had earlier in the week where the guy I was hanging out with made his “JAP” comment to me so viciously. (See Blog entry September 26, 2011)
Anyhow, my friend and I started discussing it, and I shared with her how I just didn’t “understand” why humans/us have a tendency to see our differences as being inferior when compared to each other. That somehow we take that leap from what we see as different and immediately judge it as inferior, when we we should be judging it as unknown which would then beg us to understand or learn about it, and perhaps then reserving that more definitive judgment for a time when it MIGHT matter, like in the case of albinism, which my friend then brought up. She started to tell me how she had read that in a deer herd, an albino deer is often shunned away from the rest of the deer in the group. I acknowledged her story because I had heard of similar instances where albinos are considered anomalies in nature and that an animal’s instinct is to stay away from the anomaly which could prove to be detrimental to the survival of the rest of them. This I understood. This I understand. Albinos could genetically, I suppose, pose a threat to the survival of a herd so the animals instinctively stay away.
But then I started to think about our own reactions, a human reaction or instinct, and mine personally, which has never been to shun away someone who may be an albino. Quite the contrary, I’ve always been fascinated by them. My first encounter with an albino was my world literature professor back in college, Dr. Charles Burgess, who was just awesome. I remember being so drawn to the way his eyes would dart back and forth ever so quickly, kind of like how our hummingbird would move. He was the kindest and smartest man ever and though I dreaded having to take his World Lit class, it ended up being one of my favorite classes ever, and I do believe I even squeaked by with an A- too.
And though Dr. Burgess may have had a deficiency in melanin, I have to say, he had no deficiency in the brain because the man was a genius, and so well read that I could’ve sworn he’d read every author from every corner of the globe, hence, World Lit I guess. But then again, I KNOW this and perhaps a fellow deer doesn’t have the capacity to KNOW that what lacks in one place is generally ALWAYS made up for somewhere else. But that is for animal experts to debate I guess.
But any way, more to my point, I still lamented to my friend why I just didn’t understand why HUMANS STILL tend to see the differences of others as inferior period. And I hate to admit it, but I used a typical elementary example to my friend since she brought up the animals in the first place, and said that “even all sorts of animals in Africa can live on the same damn plain and not kill each other unless the other is actually seen as food.” (And it’s important to note that I could be wrong about this; I’m just going on what I’ve seen in nature documentaries, but it all seems rather harmonious unless it’s dinner time)
However, as this applies to humans, and the more I read and/or encounter others who discriminate on a certain basis, like the intellectual, or physical, or Lord have mercy, even the spiritual, I just DON’T UNDERSTAND. I mean, we have SUCH capacity to learn from each other and accept one another and to see each other as not really being all that different, that I just don’t understand why we chose to do the opposite when it ONLY makes living our lives THAT much harder. It's so peculiar to me.
I mean everyone has a little bit of inferiority and everyone has a little bit of superiority. No one is completely one or the other. I mean, that’s just nature. That’s just yin yang. A whole lot of one thing isn't without a little bit of something else...and like I said before, where some MIGHT lack in one area, rest assure it's ALWAYS made up for somewhere else. Trust me, that IS just the way IT IS…
…Oh boy, why do me and my thoughts suddenly feel as rare and as odd as those pictures of the albino hummingbird? Maybe my friend is right..maybe this really was all just a coincidence..and maybe I’m reading way too much into it..and maybe this really is just for me.
But that Albino Ruby-throated Hummingbird sure is beautiful though..and well, I guess what I really want to say is that I just hope the other hummingbirds are nice to it.
September 26. 2011 - Sorry Harley, but I'm a HO' for NDA.
Um so okay, I don’t normally involve my blog with any of my “dating” tales because you don’t really know whose eyes are reading what…but in this case, I think I’m going to make an exception to that rule because I really don’t give a shit as to who is reading this because I’ve got a bone to pick with a real asshole I hung out with last night…and I don’t mean just your run-of-the-mill asshole, you know, the kind that cuts you off in traffic, or steps on your heel while walking in line, or sends you that tax letter to collect even more money from you. No, this particular asshole is of the special kind. He’s the kind you make an example of, which is what I’m about to do here.
But so that I don’t draw things out, which I could EASILY do considering how annoyed I am with this schmuck…I’d rather just keep it short and sweet and to the point. And sincerely, there’s really no other way to say it except,
Here’s how to NOT win over a girl’s heart:
First, insult her ride.
Second, tell her to stop looking into all these “Jap” bikes.
Third, tell her to just go and get herself a Harley.
And lastly, tell her again just what it is that YOU actually ride?
And here’s where I now insert the largest, most emphatic middle finger EVER.
I mean seriously, did this guy really think this kind of talk was ACTUALLY going to win me over? I’m so offended and insulted that I don’t even know what to say. Just what am I missing here? Oh, besides the racism, the discrimination, the ignorance, the insecurity, stupidity, ugliness, retardedness, jackassness, the "you soooo won't ever get a second date with me”-ness?
And to make matters worse, I’ve witnessed this kind of divisive attitude in motorcycle culture all over sadly, and so divisive that I think a lot of folks forget that it really should be about the ride, not WHAT you ride…but AT LEAST the folks that perpetuate this kind of ass backward attitude actually ride, I mean THIS guy doesn’t even own a motorcycle!!!
AHH…PLEASE STICK A FORK IN ME CUZ I AM DONE! AY Dios Mio! And man, just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any worse than that last asshole you went on a date with…well guess what people, it actually CAN and it DOES. Good grief.
But you know what, here’s to what I think about his comment and all those "Jap bikes.” And though I don’t normally post pics of myself on here…again, I’ll make an exception this one time because BAM! Cute picture, huh?
September 24, 2011- 20 years and a not so new painting, but really...Nevermind that.
In celebration of the twenty year anniversary of Nirvana’s release of that epic album that defined an entire generation—my generation—I’m sharing a painting I had stored in the bowels of my apartment that until only recently, did I finally dust it off to display it up on the walls of my room. And interestingly enough, I’ve been meaning to share it, but was waiting for an appropriate time to and then this afternoon, while checking in on my Facebook, I was reminded by a friend that today is indeed the 20 year anniversary of the epic release of that epic album, NEVERMIND. So really, today is just perfect.
Now, what initially had me bring my painting out from storage a couple of months ago was when I was channel surfing the tube one afternoon. I had momentarily made a stop on the E! Network to watch some E! Hollywood countdown about Hollywood tragedies, and naturally the unfortunate death of Nirvana’s lead singer Kurt Cobain was on that countdown, coming in as #9. What a bum story, really. But the recap of the story reminded me of my little painting I had stowed away and it also reminded me of what I’d always intended to do with it, which was to post it on this site some day in homage to one of the greatest rock bands in history.
So any way, the painting itself isn’t really fantastically special. It’s small. Only about 9x12 and like I said, I’ve had it in storage for years, never really thinking to keep it out with some of my other paintings. I had painted it back in July of 2001 while I was living in Astoria, Queens-NYC. July 8, 2001 to be exact.
I remember I’d been fucking around with new paints I purchased when I loaded album NEVERMIND into my CD player (back when we still had CD players). I had a small canvas out in front of me, and I soon just started throwing little strokes here and there, checking out all the various new colors, until when…the music finally played and it all just became entirely something else.
It’s definitely one of my more stranger little pieces…and also one of the few I felt compelled to write a poem to go with it. However at the same time, I’m also totally fascinated by it and its potential in meaning, and not to mention the layers and layers of beautiful layers that seem to sit between me and it. I’ll admit, some days I feel like I can sit in front of it forever, and some days, I feel like I don’t want to sit in front of it at all. But this is pretty normal with most of my work…but for this one in particular, there’s definitely something more in the way it lives on the canvas…
Caught in Maize
On two planes
the Tornado waits
it travels too
through twists and turns
on paths in ways
the breach of our reality
the cross of our worlds
It’s more than just what we see
Or Maybe he sees me
Or I see him, or you
But what's seen here
a maze with no dead end
So here it is...my little homage to one of the greatest rock-n-roll bands in history. And I don’t know if it’s the choice in colors, or the salutations I’ve got greeting one another, or the breach in reality, the crossing of planes, or just the similar maze I know we all find ourselves in from time to time, with its little tornados hidden among the twists and turns in the paths we take that makes it all that much harder to seek our own golden nirvana...but what I do know is that for what it’s worth, music and in particular rock-n-roll, lost an awesome band the day Cobain left this world… but Nevermind that because what the world did gain, however, was some truly, amazing music. So enough reading all this deep, deep shit… just go and listen and see for yourself how amazing Nirvana really sounds and enjoy.
September 17, 2011- Why butterflies are awesome.
I was just talking to a girlfriend of mine...talking about things only girlfriends talk about...and I said something to her that in some strange way has me feeling almost proud of myself, in that, for the first time in my life I feel like I have finally been able to define a certain feeling I have noticed before, but never really knew how to explain it. I mean, you know when sometimes you just can't seem to find the right words to interpret what it is you are feeling? And you think and think and think, but every string of words you put together into your thoughts just doesn't seem like you are defining correctly the feelings you actually feel.
And then there's so much frustration with that, especially for someone like me who finds it almost necessary to be in constant connection with my thoughts and feelings about all sorts of things. In some weird way, I'm drawing a parallel to an infant who often just cries and cries all the time because I'm certain it's because of their own frustration of not knowing how to tell someone how they feel or think because they don't know, and so they just cry. And well, happily tonight, there's no tears here because like I said, I finally feel like I know what that feeling is.
And it's really only a simple, SIMPLE statement, but its frankness and honesty make me feel like I've actually come through a real moment of personal growth. Like for just a moment, I felt myself grow another inch, and how often do these moments really occur in one's life? That is, when suddenly all the frustration you seem to have felt forever, comes together and through one act, it all just dissipates away, and you are left feeling like you have finally made it to the other side...like somehow you've broken through a mold, a cocoon perhaps, and now, you are You again, only better. It all seems almost magical.
...so really I owe a big thanks to my girlfriend for helping me to grow into a place that finally brought this kind of honesty out of me...it's been long overdue. So here is that string of words that finally took me from fight to flight:
"And I got to tell you Jess, it's close encounters like these that make you kind of wonder...Is this really real, or is it just me wishing it was.."
September 15, 2011 - Happy Moon Festival!!
I nearly forgot to mention this year's annual Moon Festival that began on this past Monday the 12th, despite even receiving a phone call from my own mother on Sunday wishing me the best this coming week and had I gone out to get my moon cakes yet. Actual sadly, no I hadn't gotten them yet and still haven't. I've been crazy wrapped up in work and other things this week that I totally forgot that this is the best time of year to indulge in those yummy holiday hockey pucks. I will have to make that trip to the Asian market soon before they get away... much like our moon goddess Chang'e.
And speaking of Chang'e, here is one of my favorite poems written during last year's Moon festival, recounting the famous tale of Chang'e and the Jade Rabbit. I was incredibly inspired by it last year when I wrote this, and while I read it now, I get inspired all over again...but too bad tonight I will not be able to see my little rabbit because the clouds and rain keep him hidden...but later in the week, rest assured I will look to the sky and see if I can see him working hard again at bringing our goddess back home into the arms of her beloved...or IS he?
~Lady and the Jade Rabbit~
On the moon tonight
her hope shines as he works hard
on her way back home
Will he ever make
that sweet elixir that sends
her back to love's arms?
She looks to the hare
his work seems steady and straight
but there she still waits
Up high in the sky
eternally far from him
that love of her life
And hare knows this true
as he pounds and pounds away
as she sits waiting
But for lone hare too
she remains the only love
he ever knew, so
Is then hare honest
with his mortar and pestle
does he mix it right?
Or does this hare trick
to keep his lovely lady
forever so near?
You can be the judge
but see now in this moonlight
two great loves so very bright.
September 11, 2011- Ten years later...
I painted the painting below last year, at around the same time I painted September Blue (See Blog post 9-11, 2010). It's no bigger than a memo pad, but today it acts as my little memorial to a day that was prolly one of the bluest days in our recent history.
It was kind of an accident how the painting came to be. I was testing shades of blue on these little small canvases I had, whilst preparing to paint September Blue. But I recall standing over the little canvas when suddenly a wave of sadness came over me and immediately instead of haphazardly testing out colors of blue, the strokes of my paintbrush instead illustrated the image below:
I can't help but tear up a bit while looking at this image and remembering all that happened exactly ten years ago...WTC, Pentagon, Flight 93...but despite the pain and everything bad that did come with it, today I pray we all can fill our hearts with love and hope for angels are among us now, guiding us all through better 9/11 days from here on out. All my love.
Septmeber 8, 2011- All this rain has me feeling this way.
I wish some men would grow up as easily and as quickly as their penises do...
That is all.
September 5, 2011 - Happy Labor Day? –mmm, not so much.
I’m placed here right now, drifting in and out of viewing the day through the window next to me, and I’ve begun to notice the thick clouds moving in around a sun that is now sitting lower in the afternoon sky. It’s about 1:45, and though today is considered a major holiday for the U.S., I have to say I don’t feel much like celebrating. Actually, I’m just about downright sad about it being Labor Day. And I guess it’s because today kind of marks the “end” of Summer, meaning Fall is just around the corner and is ready to shed us all of Summer’s beautiful lushness to only in the end cover us in cold, barren air. Now, I know my moroseness almost tips the scales of some serious melodrama, since really summer isn’t probably over for another couple of weeks, but for as long as I’ve lived here, and especially on the East Coast and in this temperate climate, I know that Labor Day marks the change of the seasons, and incidentally, I’m feeling as downtrodden as probably Demeter would knowing that soon again her beloved daughter Persephone will have to return to the arms of Hades once again.
So I’m just sad. But I will be honest, I think I’m sadder than usual. And actually, for as long as I can remember, I’ve kind of always looked forward to autumn. I liked that sudden chill in the air; the summer humidity all almost just a memory. And of course, the return to apples, and cider, and pumpkins, and fallen foliage, and sweatshirts, and most importantly, the return to good hair all so inviting! But sincerely, I’m really not all that happy about seeing all those things again, and I think it’s because this summer—this past summer—was probably one of the best summers of my life…and please, don’t laugh at me or think me being overly sentimental…but I really do owe it all to the purchase of my motorcycle. I really do.
So yeah, I know. This is true. I’ve been having this love affair with my motorcycle all summer long. I mean I can’t help; it just changed my life so much and I can’t imagine not having had discovered her. My new bike just gave me such enjoyment in the freedom and fun I felt the moment I took off on her that I can’t shake the significance of it all either. And come on, let’s be honest, any opportunity I, pattee, have to wax the poetics of my life I take…and the amount of inspiration this metal machine brought to me the moment I sat on her was sure to put me on a trajectory of utter amazement. And so yeah, I’m now a little sad that the season in which I found her is now slowing coming to an end; however, yesterday I made sure it all wasn’t going to come to an end without a proper send off.
So yes, yesterday I made sure I spent one of the last nice days of summer riding my first “long ride” out to Ocean City, Maryland. It was really important for me to round out my summer with a good, nice long trip on my bike because I felt I really owed myself this pleasure, as well as to my bike and to summer. And so I made the 150 mile trip out first thing in the morning and was back by 11:30 last night. And as expected, it was awesome. I had a wonderful time all the way around. And why wouldn’t I? I spent the day doing my two favorite things: riding my bike and hanging on the beach. For me, it was the perfect day. Well, almost perfect…had I been sharing it with someone other than my friend Kris who I consider FONDLY as the brother I never had. But jokes aside. We did however have a great time just shooting the breeze together, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. He’s a great friend…and I’ll never forget the terrific conversation we had at the Mug & Mallet crab shack. (Dude, I'll toast to that!)
Now how can I express or repay the indebtedness I now feel to my motorcycle and by extension...all the fun and fancy I’ve had this summer? Well, since I can admit I have this love affair, then why not a love poem? Since I’m such a sucker for expressing myself in such a way, why not to my motorcycle? Well I did. I wrote a love poem to my motorcycle. And after reading it, should you, the reader, feel like there’s something else perhaps going on here…well, maybe there is, but as far as I’m concerned at the moment, it’s about me and motorcycle and all that came with it.
I poured as much raw feeling into this love poem as I could. True, it’s not Byron, or Shelly, or Keats, but I think it’s safe to say, it has a little Bukowski edge with Dickinson appeal. Or hey, it’s probably just me and honestly how I feel. And how do I feel? Well, I’ll be honest. I feel sexy on my motorcycle. I do. I feel sexy. I feel sex. And not necessarily sex in terms of the act of sex but rather with the pure unabashed abandonment that occurs with sex. That’s how I feel when I’m on my motorcycle. It’s unequivocally a feeling of unabashed abandonment. A sense of freedom. A sense of fun. All things that can occur, I guess, when also having really, good sex. But since I’m not having any of that right now…Ha-Ha Why not with motorcycle then?
But sincerely, my motorcycle really has been the best time I’ve ever had, and discovering her and everything she has to offer me has literally brought me to my knees in thanks for everything. So this poem, I guess, is my gift in homage to what I think is one of the most fun things to have in life…you can probably guess what else I think is fun to have, too.
So any way, here’s to you, my love…thanks for a great summer.
The second I sat and straddled you
I knew you were the one
Sleek shiny monster machine—
you received me and cradled
each lovely curve of mine as
gently as a summer breeze would
a lost leaf through its warm wind
My life changed at that moment
My hands morphed and molded
themselves onto your solid grips
My legs stretched and wrapped
themselves snug around you inviting
more in than anything I’ve ever allowed in
in my life
My hips robust and round settled
still upon you finally feeling the happiness
at your cock diesel direction
The poetical prowess of it was so
pleasing to me that I didn’t even notice
eyes that saw it all too
You and I instead slipped into each other
in perfect gear
and with one push of a button
both our motors began
and immediately I knew I’d never look back
I’ve been told you make me glow
that every time I’m seen getting off
you—I’m magically colored in colors unknown
a glow and it’s because of you
This I know I owe
And it’s hard for me to believe
That I almost didn’t choose you
I almost walked right out without you
But you had a trinity of help
one, two, three standing around me
and it was done
We were so meant to be
you and me
and it was done
Now life is such a ride
a cool slow easy ride
to wherever our desires move us to go
how could you possible know
I owe the best time of my life to a man
made of metal
cruising me to destinations still left unexplored
for us both to arrive
August 21, 2011
Don Lemon leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
But before I get into that, I have an update that I’ve been meaning to share. I did receive the most terrific response from Matthew Oakley of Bloomberg News regarding my email to him (See August 8 entry). Though I was slightly concerned with how he may have reacted to my slightly overzealous email to him, he actually provided some really nice and sincere comments back. Check it out:
“Hi. Thanks a lot for your email. Sorry for the delay in responding but I was on holiday until today. Glad you liked the review. It's funny, because before I filed the review I briefly pondered whether to remove the reference to the gearbox, but then I thought 'no, it was definitely stiff, so it needs to be mentioned'. It's a fantastic machine but it's not perfect. No bike is.
It's great that you got a chance to have a go on the Diavel so soon after starting riding. Out here in Singapore they make people wait 3 years and put them through several expensive courses before they let them on big bikes. Still, I've noticed in the last few years a lot more women on bikes here, and as far as I'm concerned the more people who ride, the better.
I can understand your frustration though. I go on track days when I get the chance and lots of guys find the chest-butting attitude of some people more than a bit tedious. The best solution is to spend more time on your bike, so you don't have to deal with them!
Take care, and thanks again for the e-mail. Cheers, Mat”
Isn’t that a nice email back? I was really pleased to hear that serendipitously he had also struggled with the knowledge of the gearbox, and actually, I found it kind of funny that somehow I had possibly provided a little confirmation to him as well. I also found it refreshing that he took the time to address the real issue behind my email—the gender issue—by simply including his own example of experiencing the same annoying displays of superiority, etc. So thanks Mr. Oakley and indeed, more time on my bike, the definite better!
Now onto something else I’d like share because I feel like it ties in nicely with my previous entry, and some of my few other entries regarding gender issues.
So last week while I was unpacking my suitcase having just gotten back from a wonderful vacation out in Key West, I was half listening to CNN’s Don Lemon interview of Sarah Palin while she attended the Iowa State Fair. I wasn’t exactly interested in what Mrs. Palin had to say; hence me half listening as I morosely moved around my room, putting things away while lamenting over the near end of summer. However, about half way through the interview, I heard something that suddenly grabbed hold of me like a slimy octopus would its prey, and in which STILL has not let me go. However prey, I am not.
So Lemon poked and prodded Palin like any good journalist would during this time of her questionable involvement with the Campaign of 2012. Again, I listened to the blah-blah-blah questions and responses that all seemed typical given the current atmosphere in politics. Then came Lemon’s line of questioning regarding the current onslaught of republican candidates and naturally his emphasis on asking Palin only about Michele Bachmann, the other woman in the race, rather than the other ten plus men involved in the race, including Perry, Romney and Santorum. But ok, I get it. Bachmann is the “frontrunner” and most controversial figure of them all. Again, fine, I get it.
So as I listened more closely, Palin’s answers all seemed well thought out and appropriate given the climate she was in…being pushed through the Iowa State Fair crowd…and I felt she indeed answered Lemon’s questions quite well. And I should offer here that I am no Palin fan, however I am always willing to keep my bias at bay when evaluating the current moment. Now having said that, I soon noticed that what was surprisingly starting to bother me wasn’t really Palin’s answers but rather Lemon’s questions. He began to solicit more and more Palin’s views on candidate Michelle Bachmann, which I found to be slightly obnoxious considering how transparent Lemon started to look. I also find that interesting considering Transparent is the name of Lemon’s new book…but I digress.
Anyhow, I noticed several times Lemon kept redirecting his line of questioning to what seemed to be what was really in competition here which was not really Palin and Bachmann’s politics, but rather their gender.
The first question that started to draw me out of my robotic movement of putting my things away was when I heard this:
LEMON: I want to talk to you about women. A lot of people are pitting you and Michele Bachmann against each other. Do you think that's fair?
PALIN: Yes, that's so passé. Just because there may happen to be two women in the race that they would, you know as Michelle had put it once, “get in the mud and engage in some cat fighting.” That's ridiculous. Its kind an even a sexist notion to consider that the two women would be kind of ducked it out. No, if I'm going to duke it out, I'm going to duke it out with a guy.
Honestly, when I heard it I thought to myself, Fair enough Lemon, that’s a valid question and Palin, that was a good answer. And it’s true, Lemon has every right to address the elephant in the room, the fact that yes, indeed, both Palin and Bachmann have vaginas compared to the other candidates that don’t. Well, fine, wonderful, good that we addressed that...now can we move on?
But unfortunately, I couldn’t move on and I couldn’t when I heard this; the ultimate question that eventually took me over the edge and had me exclaim to myself in the middle of my room in a most irritated voice, “LEMON, GO FUCK YOURSELF. YOU’RE A MORON!!”
LEMON: I’m going to have to ask you the woman question again, and I’m not pitting you against Bachmann but are you at all concerned about her popularity, a little bit envious, little bit jealous?
Moment of Silence please so that I can tame the monster that is about ready to rip this page apart…
Okay, now really, there are just so many things wrong with this question that I don’t even know where to begin. First of all, Lemon’s lead-in that he HAS to ask the “woman question”, is not only downright patronizing, but how about sexist? And this is where I cannot avoid addressing Lemon personally:
Why DO YOU have to ask that “woman question” Lemon? Are CNN executives holding their penises to your head? Will you lose your job if you don’t put Palin and the rest of the viewing audience on notice that indeed what is between Palin’s legs is not a long, rubbery appendage like what you have (I think), but rather a soft, furry inviting slipper, which incidentally might influence her ability and our ability to comprehend whatever it is she will say or whatever it is you will ask?
And also, what does that mean any way Lemon? The “woman question”? Do you also go around asking the ten plus other male candidates, the “man question”? That is, do you find out how many times a day any of the other candidates scratch their balls or admit to themselves that they would much rather be sitting in front of their TVs surfing through the 1500 channels offered by Verizon Fios? Seriously Lemon? What does that really mean?
Oh wait, I get it. It means you are about to ask a question that will put the spotlight on that obvious similarity that both Palin and Bachmann share. Yes, yes, how astute of you Lemon, they are indeed both women. Congratulations. Your ability to tell the sexes apart astounds me. However your attempt to graciously NOT “pit” Palin and Bachmann against each other is sorely undermined at your very inquiry into whether or not Palin is envious or jealous of Bachmann’s popularity. And this makes you a moron, Lemon.
Of course you are pitting the two against each other by virtue of your very question. Do you even know what jealously means? Envy? Well according to the dictionary.com, jealousy means “resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another's success or advantage itself.” And well, asking Palin if she is indeed jealous or envious of Bachmann’s popularity is not only an obvious attempt to pit the two women against each other, but your disclaimer makes me shudder to think that you might ACTUALLY think that your question wouldn't really do that? And YOU are one of CNN’s top news anchors/journalists? I think I might have to reconsider what kind of background noise I choose to listen to while I work. Nickelodeon is sounding better by the minute. At least, I can expect the ignorance there.
Whoa, but guess what, I’m not finished…and this is probably what gets my goat the most regarding the essence of your stupefying question. Why even ask Palin if she is “jealous or envious” at all? What kind of a question is that? Why do we care if she is jealous or envious of Bachmann? Would her own personal conflicts add or subtract anything that is really on trial here and that is her political views that affect us all as Americans? Would her own emotional turmoil really make a difference as to how we view her positions on certain important issues facing Americans today like the economy, the war in Afghanistan, or the fact that many Americans still have no idea where they are going to find the money to get their teeth cleaned or ulcer checked out? Seriously Lemon? This is what you find important to ask? And you call yourself a journalist? Indeed a large part of journalism is the dissemination of important information, however I hardly consider whether or not Sarah Palin is jealous of Michele Bachmann information, let alone IMPORTANT information…but I rather see this all as a mediocre journalist’s attempt to create static in the hopes that his higher ups will view his attempt to stir things up as a valid approach to garnering viewership and/or its own self-serving need to be popular and number one in the ratings. Yes, yes, let’s create that “cat fight” and let’s make sure everyone tunes into CNN to view it. How newsworthy of you.
But do you know what really changes all this discontent and anger into downright sadness and disappointment? And it’s not, contrary to popular belief, Palin’s or Bachmann’s ludicrous political views on several issues that I often find offensive and ridiculous, it’s actually this:
Lemon, would you dare ask ANY of those other fellow male candidates if they were indeed also…jealous… of each other? Really, ask yourself this? Would you? And now less personally… would he?
NO, I don’t think so…why? Because Lemon’s own question results in perpetuating the stigma that only men are capable of having good, honest competition and women can really only engage in jealous, ugly cat fights. And you know what, thanks Lemon, thanks a lot…I like being reminded of my inability to compete with rest of them…just like so many of my foremothers have felt as well..
And while we're touching upon my sudden pledge of sisterhood, I should thank you Lemon for at least allowing me a BRIEF moment of truce in regards to the war I often feel like I’m having with my fellow sisters Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. I can only imagine the overt and subtle occasions of sexism both women must be subjected to day in and day out in this political circus, so to them… and for this ONE moment only, my skirts off to you ladies.
But what I think is most disturbing about this all was the blatant display of sexism trying to hide itself as well…anti-sexism, but failing miserably and yet still just hoping that most of us wouldn’t recognize it. And all from a journalist who should know better, seeing his new book champions against the discrimination of gays, gays in journalism, gays in the African community, etc. I mean it’s like an orange disguising itself as an apple, but then introducing itself as an orange. It’s all really preposterous and just goes to show discrimination against women in general… STILL has a long way to go to be eradicated, and I say this because when I googled this interview days later hoping to find more women outraged by Lemon’s interview… I found one twitter response which read something like this: “Jealous? Really?”
And my answer to that is: Really. Jealous…and according to Lemon, we women can only be such.
Hmm, see I told you… just plain sour.
See THE interview right here.
August 8, 2011
So sometimes ultimate confirmation in oneself can happen during the damnedest of times. Yesterday, some of my friends and I were given the unique opportunity to try out one of Ducati’s newest mean machines, the Ducati Diavel. It was an awesome, awesome time and one I will record in my motorcycle memory log to revisit fondly time in again and again. I mean sincerely, given the state of my own economics AND experience, just when exactly would I EVER get another chance to take a joy ride on a Ducati..let alone on one of their newest models. So fucking A…it was truly amazing.
Now fast forward to me just reveling in the past 6 hours. It’s hard for me to explain exactly how I am feeling right now, except that I am feeling absolutely GREAT. And here’s why.
Earlier this morning I was doing some additional internet research on the Diavel. I was still a little bit curious about it and wanted to know more about the machine itself, when I came across a modest little review of it by a Matthew Oakley of Bloomberg News. (Read review here)
It’s a short review, but who knew the impact this little 250 word essay would later have on me as I sit back and giggle in slight glee at the thought of how I actually sent along my email/letter/dissertation to this Mr. Oakley of Bloomberg News. I can only imagine what he’s probably thinking now as he reads my academic deconstruction of gearboxes and gender. He probably thinks I’m crazy. But who cares? At this point in my life, being considered crazy is the least of my worries..it’s being taken seriously that takes up most of my concern these days.
So below I’ve posted my letter to Mr. Oakley. Enjoy.
I just read your review on the new Ducati Diavel and just want to share an observation and comment I have. I was able to test ride the new Diavel yesterday. I live in the Washington D.C. metro area, and luckily for us, Ducati reps came out to Leesburg, VA (though far from your Singapore, but not too far from our Nation’s capital) to show off their new Diavel and Multistrada 1200. I opted for the Diavel. I'm a girl (and the only girl to show up to ride in the two days Ducati was here to boot) and didn't want to deal with being on my tippy toes while at stops that I knew the Multistrada would put me through no doubt. Anyhow, I haven't been riding very long, only about 6 months - still pretty green, but I wanted to at least try out the Diavel because given the economy and my experience, a 20-grand (carbon) bike is something I'm not likely to see in the near future.
Ducati took us off on a 30 mile ride. It was awesome. All through twists and turns in the back hills of Leesburg. I stayed in the Urban mode. I completely forgot what mode I was in by the time we hit the road. I was already having too much fun, and stopping to deal with the mechanical controls on such a beast while zipping along on roads unfamiliar to me was something my inexperience and inclination to play things safe wouldn't allow me to do. So naturally, I took the curves pretty slow compared to the leader who at one point I heard was taking them at 65/70 mph. But at the end of the day for me, a 35mph curve is a 35 mph curve. So I just hung back (with many others no less) and took my turns no more than 40 mph while catching nice glimpses of the fat grazing cows.
When the ride was over, I was disappointed, but knew I'd been given an awesome opportunity needless to say. So then came time to review. A few of us started talking about the ride and I cooed on about how great it was, everyone agreed. I then looked at one of the guys and said, "But I didn't like the gear shift though. Felt clunky and difficult."
The guy just looked at me and said in that slightly hidden change of tone, "Oh really?"
And then for just a moment, I could've sworn I felt it again... that all too familiar feeling me and many other women have been subjected to so often when a reaction to an opinion of ours arises in subject matter that we are not usually privy to...but then again, was it the guy or was it ME…I then began to wonder? Had I just taken this guy’s nonchalant shrug and turn away to finish his own review as a declaration of WAR? Did he really just dismiss me and what I had to say just because I have a rear end that looks better on a Ducati than his? Seriously? Did that really just happen?
OR, and in this moment of pure honesty inquiry, was it really my own self who took my gender and my opinion and pit them against each other, and not really the guy? Was it my own lack of confidence and self-assuredness nurtured by years and years of objectification and discrimination at the hands of every day Neanderthals many women like myself are exposed to day in and day out and in the most subtle of ways, that took this guy’s innocent reaction and turned it into a downright feminist tirade on behalf of myself and my own bitter assumptions as to how men really relate to women?
I mean I hate to say it, but even Ducati is relatively guilty of fueling such assumptions. When my two male friends and I arrived at the Ducati tent, we were greeted and checked in by a tall leggy, Brazilian blonde, who was more than happy to see me and went on to say I was the only girl that showed up for the ride. She almost seemed relieved.
She exclaimed, "Hooray! You represent us!" and I laughed, while trying to ignore my two male friends momentary paralysis brought on by this woman's impressive display of cleavage, and immediately asked her if she rode. She regretfully told me no. I then went on to meet the other two girls working the concession. Both young, both equally made up, both who don't ride... So there I was..having my own personal dilemma about what I was witnessing, but then again...I asked myself, who am I to judge Ducati so harshly?
It really all didn't bother me (because I do "get it"), but not until when before we took off on our ride, Ducati decided it would be a good promotional ploy to take pictures of us on the bikes. It was then when I finally looked over to see who was standing beside me that I got a little annoyed. It was one of those cute, little young girls with her tight little butt in a pair of black leggings holding an umbrella over me smiling cheeky into the camera. At that moment, all I kept thinking was: Hey, I want a hot Ducati GUY holding the umbrella...not girl...ugh. But, I digress.
SO honestly, was it really this guy who suddenly threw me into another moment of struggling self actualization or was it me? Had I jumped the gun on this? Had I assumed too much as a result of cultural conditioning? Or was truly the diavel in the details? His heightened tone, his shrug, his disinterest to continue the dialogue with me...were these all really subtle hints to humiliate and not take me seriously?
But here's where I owe you and your review a great deal of thanks Mr. Oakley. As I quickly became enthralled with what you had to say about the Diavel, it was when I read these words that my world finally blew open:
"The gearbox was occasionally stiff........."
I DO know what I'm talking about…and YES, my opinion does matter, and maybe I will get that irritating brush off from time to time, however, now I KNOW I can still have my big butt hanging off the back end of a Ducati making every man look at least twice over at me, yet I will STILL be able to hold onto my integrity and intelligence all at the same time while I ride, and all because you simply agreed with me, that damn gearbox on the Diavel IS really stiff.
So in closure, Mr. Oakley, just want you to know your review of the Ducati Diavel was right on, and I can't thank you enough for such a serendipitous review. Confirmation is a wonderful thing, especially when one doesn't anticipate it.
Oh, and one last thing, your comment about "the wide seat began to chafe the inner thighs after five hours in the saddle." I can't imagine being on that thing for 5 hours. I mean, before we even got out of the parking lot 2 minutes into it, I suddenly caught a really bad cramp in my right hip flexor, and I remember thinking to myself: Ugh, this is not good, seat might be too wide for me. I then spent the next mile trying to kick the cramp out.
So undoubtedly, I suppose a 20-grand bike that could cause me cramps from time to time is probably not the best ride for me at the end of the day because honestly that's the last thing this woman needs, is more cramps.
Take care Mr. Oakley, and thanks again for an awesome review...ride safe!
August 2, 2011
Sometimes you have a comical exchange with someone that just works. Earlier this morning, I had an exchange with a friend on Facebook, FB being the ultimate technological arena where I’ve witnessed some of the greatest moments of Olympic Hilarium ever.
Naturally it started off with my friend making an innocent status update…and me then turning it into an opportune moment to stir up some laughter.. in which I did—at least for myself—for the rest of the day long… I wonder what Stephen Spielberg would think?
My friend’s update: I shoulda left my phone at home 'cause this is a disaster....
My comment: This is the opening line to Spielberg's sequel, "Picking up the Pieces: ET's return home without peanut butter."
July 30, 2011
Well after spending 6 consecutive days on the beaches of beautiful San Diego the past week and enjoying some of the best damn Mexican food on the planet, I’m about to round out my vacation by heading out to the Outlaw Jam Fest in Frederick, Maryland to soak in about 8 hrs of 96 degree heat and humidity, but all to enjoy the crazy rock of who? ...... Mötley Crüe that’s who. Haaaa
Ps. I’m convinced if more people’s personalities were like mine.. we’d all be living in peace.. and having a lot of damn fun doing it.
July 14, 2011
So it's been a rough couple of days. Nothing too worthy to "blog" about or even share, but what I would like to share is a thought I've been having about myself over the past 48 hours and the thought being:
That sometimes I shock myself at what a totol BITCH I can be at times... but then, I'm reminded of what I once heard the great Lemmy Kilmister say,
"That for a woman to be really interesting, she's gotta be something of a bitch surely."
And well after being reminded of his words...somehow then, the past couple of days don't seem so rough any more, just interesting.
June 28, 2011 - Happy Birthday to me!
So today I say goodbye to my 36th year and look onto year 37. I've been a little indifferent to my birthday; No doubt the result from looking into the mirror and seeing the considerably growing numbers of gray hairs now making home on the crown of my head. But needless to say, year 36 has been an awesome year, and ESPECIALLY since my recent purchase of motorcycle, which I continue to have a strong, passionate love affair with and undoubtedly will for the rest of my life. It's amazing, but as this year does come to a final close, I have to say that probably at no other time in my life have I felt more content and happy at all that I have, both the tangible and the intangible. I've got the best family ever, and my awesome collection of friends is more than any girl could ask for. I feel so blessed and grateful that my only birthday wish is for this warm and fuzzy feeling to continue on indefinitely in my life, and hopefully in the lives of all my loved ones. Because truly, when you know and realize that you've really got it all... that's the best gift ever.
Now, enough sincerity and onto some humor. For all the birthday gifts I did receive this year, below is a picture of what I consider to be one of the BEST birthday gifts ever given to me-besides my life, and well, funny, for both I have my mother to thank for each.
She said she spent hours looking for the right card for me, and even took the time to say a little prayer to the good Lord in hopes that the Almighty MIGHT provide her some guidance as to what kind of card to get me. Well all I have to say is that the Lord A)definitely has its own sense of humor and B)couldn't have shown my mother the better way. This is truly the best gift ever:
A red bike just like mine and it even plays the song when you open it. Now how awesome is that. Thanks Mom...and yes, I laughed so hard when I opened it that I swore I also heard the angels in heaven laughing along.
It really is funny how my mom WOULD be the one to thank for two of the greatest birthday gifts ever..this card and my life. :)
June 8, 2011- new poem
MY DEAREST SPIRITUS
We turned the corner
Both at the same time
In perfect synchronicity
You came from one side
I came from the other
And in the middle
our eyes met
I wonder if you noticed
It’s not enough that I did
You have to have noticed as well
The moment keeps playing
Back in the theater of my mind
Just Like a perfect song loop
Stuck on replay again and again
I see you turn the corner
I see me turn the corner
I see us seeing the sweet synchronicity
And again it replays
I see you turn the corner
I see me turn the corner
I see us seeing the sweet synchronicity
The sweet sweet sudden synchronicity
It’s not enough that I just noticed it
It’s never enough
Such synchronicity sadly
Sometimes goes so unnoticed
May 30, 2011 - Memorial Day - Thank You
So my friend Brindisi and I spent the better part of this weekend just riding around on our bikes and enjoying this major motorcycle weekend here in Washington, D.C. and in particular with the observance of the annual Rolling Thunder Ride. Rolling Thunder began in 1987 as a demonstration to bring awareness to the plight of prisoners of war (POW) and to those missing in action (MIA). It originated when four Vietnam Veterans, exercising the First Amendment "Right to Petition and Assemble", organized the first group of 2500 motorcycles to ride through the streets of Washington, DC. This first Rolling Thunder run was made in an attempt to petition the government to take responsibility for the soldiers that were abandoned after the Vietnam War ended.
Today over 250,000 motorcycles ride during the Rolling Thunder Memorial Day weekend observance, held each year in our nation’s capital. Rolling Thunder has evolved to be not only a demonstration for the POW/MIA issue but also a demonstration of patriotism and respect for soldiers and veterans from all wars. (RollingThunder.com)
I can’t even tell you how overcome I was with my own sense of patriotism and just overall excitement at this holiday weekend, and especially since I was able to participate with my own motorcycle. The feeling was incredible when I finally found myself riding alongside the hundreds of motorcycles descending onto Washington, D.C. It was amazing. I didn’t actually ride along the route of Rolling Thunder, Brindisi and some other friends of ours decided that it was much too hot and we really didn’t want to overheat our bikes or ourselves, so instead, we joined in on the festivities and when it came down for the ride, we just parked our bikes in the grass (along the many others who also wanted to just view) and watched the thousands of bikers make their drive by to commemorate our military service men and women, both past and present.
It truly was amazing, and here’s a picture of Brindisi and I at the gathering point of Rolling Thunder in the Pentagon parking lot. And yes, her socks definitely got a lot of attention, too.
So yes, I do have to admit now, that it did feel really good rolling up in the Pentagon parking lot. For the first time in my life, I suddenly felt like a part of something amazing. The gathering and demonstration of all those thousands of bikes was simply amazing, and also, the fact that I had my very own made my participation even better. I’d been at the Rolling Thunder Pentagon meeting point once before, 4 years ago. But back then I obviously hadn’t a bike and I recall sitting around admiring everyone else’s. However this time, Rolling Thunder 2011, I finally had my own. I would like to make the whole ride some day, while wearing my Dad’s Vietnam boots that I have inherited. But maybe next year, and hopefully in 2012, it won’t be as crazy, hot, and humid as it was this weekend.
Despite the heat though, it truly was an awesome Memorial Day weekend. I had a blast riding around and gaining so much experience with my motorcycle that I really can’t believe how much I’ve progressed. Practice really does make perfect. But aside from my own personal fulfillment, I don’t want to make this Memorial Day weekend, nor this blog, all about me. There is something better to make this all about and it’s a moment I’d like to share that I witnessed while sitting on the sidelines during the ride of Rolling Thunder.
My friend Brindisi and I had been sitting and just watching all the bikers ride by. I was enthralled by the sheer number of them as well as being dumbfounded by each bike’s crazy custom designs. They were beautiful. But what was really beautiful was what I witnessed about half way through the ride.
I’d been sitting on the curb just contently watching the bikes. I had noticed earlier a woman standing near us holding a banner that had a picture of her son on it. The banner read something like this:
For our son
I’m not quite sure if those were the exact years. However the implication was that this was the mother of a son lost in the Iraq War. You could totally see the earnest pain casted upon her face as she stood near the road side, holding her banner up for each rider to see as they rode past. Humbling each and every one of them as they rode by I'm sure. It made me sad to see her pain, and I really felt for the woman. And I wasn’t the only one that felt for her, either.
As I sat there on the curb, watching the bikes, suddenly one of the bikers that was heading up the path started to slow down, and I watched him pull over and stop right where the woman with the banner stood. Once he came to a complete stop, he turned to the lady and opened his arms to give her a hug. She immediately fell into his arms and started to cry. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My heart fell through my chest, and I began to cry myself. THIS IS WHAT THIS RIDE IS ALL ABOUT. MY GOD. THIS IS IT. HOLY MARY MOTHER OF A SON LOST IN A WAR. THIS IS IT.
When I finally realized what I was seeing, I quickly tried to reach for my phone to get a photo of the beautiful moment. But unfortunately, as I grabbed up my phone, the lady and the biker had already pulled apart and I was only able to capture what I did below. But believe you me--picture or no picture--you don’t need to see what I know anyone reading this already knows to be true, it was a pure moment of beauty and love…and I can’t even tell you how lucky I was to actually witness it. It simply took my breath away…and it simply made what this whole weekend was about…to commemorate all of those who have fought, and who have fought and lost, for our freedom.
My only wish now, is that one day all of us can feel that same kind of crazy, quiet peace I felt as I watched that beautiful biker ride away, taking with him all that wind, but at the same time, leaving behind so much air.
And I also hope that the woman with the banner finds her own quiet peace...and especially in each time she hears that beautiful rolling thunder behind motorcyle.
To all our service men and women… thank you…and may peace find us all soon.
May 22, 2011 - First Ride!!
So yesterday I had my first major ride on my bike. And wow, can I just say WOW, what an awesome time it was.
Again, it’s interesting how sometimes that unexpected twist of life just somehow takes control and blesses you with more than you had asked for (and on the radio right now, AC/DC Shook Me All Night Long..opening theme? Maybe? Awesome). So previous to yesterday’s ride, I’d been planning all week on going to the Virginia Renaissance Faire with a couple of friends. But when I woke yesterday morning to get ready, plans to attend were cancelled and I was left going back to sleep to later figure out what I was going to do with my Saturday.
At around 1:30 pm, I woke to hear my friend Brindisi’s voice on my answering machine, “Hello!! It’s Brindisi, it’s a beautiful day today! Let me know if you want to go riding!”
First let me explain why I woke up so late. I had stayed up pretty late the night before doing what I’d been doing all week. I’ve been using the late night hour this week to practice riding in empty parking lots while also getting used to the feel of the road without all the needless traffic. I live right smack near a particular neighborhood here in Northern Virginia which has been IDEAL in learning how to ride. The neighborhood is named Fairlington and it’s actually a pretty famous neighborhood around these parts. Right around 1943, Franklin D. Roosevelt constructed the neighborhood of Fairlington for defense workers and their families in unique response to the DC housing shortage brought on by World War II. Its engineering consists of clusters and clusters of town homes with curvy roadways and lots of stop signs, and I had found this kind of road way to be beneficial since one of the major issues I was having while riding was with my starting and stopping, which I had discovered on the first night that I took my bike out.
On that first night, which was actually LAST Saturday, I thought that a short 2-mile ide on a local road near me would be easy enough to manage. Well…it was for the first mile, but then I started to hit the traffic lights, which unbeknownst to my own ability, proved to be both frustrating and fearful. I instantly started suffering from what a lot of new riders do, stalling while trying to start from a stop. It wasn’t only embarrassing, but incredibly unsafe. I found myself trying to pull off at the turn of the light, and then chuck-chuck-chuck-kaput. What the hell!? It was awful and frustrating, and that last mile struggle home got me so wound up that as soon as I got back to the parking garage, I began to wonder, “Am I cut out for this?”
But here is where the internet is a Godsend. I immediately got online and looked up what I was having problems with, and lo’ behold, I discovered that I wasn’t the only one! I read countless number of stories of new riders who all had the same problems. It was very comforting to read them all, while also not to mention discovering the ways in which to solve these problems. Enter: Patience and Parking Lot Practice.
So after that first treacherous night, I made a vow to myself and to my bike that I was going to TAKE MY TIME to really learn what I needed to learn in order to be a good and safe motorcyclist.
For the next two nights after, all I did was ride around in the parking garage of my apartment building, totally learning the feel of the clutch, which enabled me to ease off stops better. I spent each night a little over an hour stopping and going, stopping and going, until finally, I couldn’t take the smell of gasoline anymore which was getting trapped inside the enclosed garage.
On my third night, I decided to venture out, but this time, I was ONLY going to go around that neighborhood of Fairlington which awaited me only a couple of blocks away. I suspect this ride will be one of my most memorable rides I’ll ever have. The stop signs turned out to be a blessing, the curvy roads-what more could I ask for, and then the discovery of the REC center empty parking lot. All of this made for PERFECT practice, and I couldn’t have been happier. I spent almost two hours out that night and when I probably should’ve called it quits, here I went pushing myself to the limit again, which forced another valuable lesson for me to learn.
I had decided to make one more spin around Fairlington instead of returning home. So I made a pass by my apartment building and proceeded to start up a steepish hill that sits right outside the entrance of my building. Not realizing that I was in 2nd gear and slowing up as I approached the incline—which turns out to be a no-no, I made my way up the hill and immediately I could feel my engine trying to catch up with the gears. Unfortunately with the increased incline, it was just making it much too hard for me to throttle through, and then, chuck-chuck-chuck-kaput. My bike stalled off and I was left midway up a hill trying to hold up a 500-lb motorcycle.
Amazingly, I had remained pretty calm. I restarted my bike and tried to make my way up the hill, but again, I was still in the wrong gear and the fear of sliding backwards just wouldn’t let me ease off any of the breaks so that I COULD change to the appropriate gear, which was 1st. So she stalled again and then I was out of luck. I knew I had to get out of the road in case a car was coming so I tried to muscle my bike over to the side of the road, but I discovered with being on the incline and, just the slight shift of my handle bars sent all the weight to the right, and suddenly, I found myself losing my grip to keep her up and so down she went slowly as I tried to make what I knew what was going to be a “drop” of my bike as easy as possible. So down-down-down- she went, just like a tired child.
Can I just say that at that point, I was exhausted!! Just trying to hold my bike up for that two minutes had worn me out. But then came trying to pick her back up, and of course, I did that all wrong as well. I don’t know how I did it, but somehow I grabbed the handle bars from facing forward, bent my knees, and with what HAD to have been Herculean strength, picked her up and got her rubber side down. Later I discovered there is actually a proper way of getting your dropped bike back up, which is to place your backside up against your seat and use your legs as you press back while leveraging the bike up. But of course, why would I know that then? I am sooo lucky I didn’t hurt my back. All I really suffered from were two sore biceps the next day and the muscles along my side. So lucky.
So after I finally got her back up, I rode straight back DOWN the hill and right to where I should’ve gone in the first place, back home. When I finally pulled in, I said to myself, “Next time, let’s quit while you’re ahead.”
However, the whole mishap was yet again, an awesome lesson to learn, AND I had finally conquered the fear of that FIRST DROP. Everyone who rides has been telling me that everyone WILL drop their bike sooner than later. I hadn’t dropped my bike before this. I didn’t drop once while I took the Motorcycle Safety Course, so naturally I’d been waiting in fearful anticipation of when it would finally happen. Well, it finally did and I’ll admit as I walked back to my apartment that night, I was happier than a pig-in-shit that I did finally drop her! I was so happy that I even celebrated with a funny post about it on my Facebook page that read something like this: “Well, everyone says that in the beginning, you WILL drop your bike no matter how much you hope you won't. So I'd like to report, I FINALLY had my first drop! HOORAY! But don't worry, only thing that got hurt was ego, this while trying to maneuver up a hill. But we got thru & even learned some valuable lessons in riding. So here's to finally joining the ranks of tons who've all done the same damn thing! I feel like celebrating.”
That was a good night. The next night after, I just rode around Fairlington some more, again using that empty parking lot to practice slow maneuvers. That would have been day 5. I recall day 6 we had rain, and I wasn’t about to go out in the rain. This would bring me to Friday night, the night before my first major ride and again, I just rode around the neighborhood getting a feel for Shadow, my bike. (Note: I know her name lacks creativity at the moment, but until I find a more suitable name, that’s what I’m calling her.)
So now this brings us to Saturday afternoon and my friend Brindisi calling me to see if I want to go riding.
Though I knew one of these days I’d have to get out there, this particular Saturday I wasn’t sure if I was ready. Despite Brindisi being right, it WAS a beautiful day, I was still slightly anxious about going out beyond my neighborhood AND during the DAY!! So I called Brindisi and left a message telling her I didn’t think I was ready and that maybe some other time.
Well, I should’ve guessed that response would NOT have satisfied my pal Brindisi. Brindisi is your typical over-achieving Asian. (Brindisi-if you are reading this, you are probably laughing..because YOU KNOW YOU I’M RIGHT!) But in all seriousness, Brindisi is an amazing person, and she’s an even MORE amazing female. At some point, I will probably have to address the obvious gender roles women who ride are actively changing whether they know it or not. But in the meantime, let me introduce you to Brindisi who in her own right is a female to be reckoned with and who no doubt is an awesome role-changing-model.
Aside from her looking similar to Lucy Lu, who is undoubtedly Brindisi’s doppelganger, Brindisi is probably—next to myself, one of the toughest chicks I know. Aside from riding motorcycles for nearly ten years, a collection of Brindisi’s hobbies that I know about include fencing (competitively at one time too!), kickboxing, dragon boating, rock climbing, and collecting KNIVES. What chick, besides Angelina Jolie, do you know that collects WEAPONS? Oh, and to boot, she’s a pretty good cook, too.
I had met Brindisi about seven years ago when I began taking a kickboxing class at my gym. Incidentally, we hit it off and have remained friends ever since that first day I thought my legs where going to crumble from beneath me after first kickboxing class. Side bar- we both still frequent the same kickboxing class, which just last week, again made me feel like my legs were total jelly. It’s a great class.
So like I said, Brindisi wasn’t going to let me wimp out. She called me right back and in that no nonsense manner, typical Asian/Chinese forcefulness, she set the expectation for the day and expected me to meet it. I caved and agreed to let her lead me through the streets. But despite her abrasiveness, Brindisi did acknowledge my fear and anxiety and assured me she would be with me every step of the way, guiding me through the streets, alerting me to obstacles, and keeping with the encouragement. And I’d like to report, my girl did just that.
She picked me up from my apartment yesterday afternoon, and with her on her ‘97 Kawasaki Vulcan 500 and me on my ’96 Honda Shadow 600, the two of us revved off on which is now known as my very first Ride.
And boy, was it awesome. We first went down to have lunch in my neighborhood. This would be the first time that I actually A) rode in the DAYLIGHT, and B) in front of PEOPLE. But it felt great!! I managed to get myself down to where all the restaurants were and Brindisi and I parked it. I’ll admit, there is some kind of sick pleasure in mounting off a motorcycle in front of a crowd of onlookers, and the fact that I’m FEMALE makes for even sicker pleasure. But while I realize a lot of this has to do with my own sense of ego, again, I do feel that every time someone sees ME or any female for that matter solely mounting off a motorcycle, a very blatant message IS communicated. And that message being: Muthafcker, I RIDE MY OWN!
As soon as I finished that sentence, I had to stop and go out for a ride. Just got back, was only gone about an hour, and feel like I’m right on track…but I digress…
So Brindisi and I had a great lunch and then off we went for a ride. I’ll admit, I was a ball of nerves when we first set off. However, with Brindisi only a few meters ahead of me, my nerves soon began to subside a bit and I started to feel that sense of control inching up ever so slowly. I’ve discovered that obviously the more control I begin to feel, the weaker the grip of anxiety, and beginning with yesterday’s ride, can I finally say my confidence is slowly beginning to rise.
The ride was amazing. Brindisi took me all the way out to Mount Vernon, which is a common destination ride for the anyone who wants to enjoy just one long stretch of road whether on a motorcycle, bicycle, convertible, or with just two legs, what with gorgeous vegetation on either side capped off with smells of lilacs and jasmine trees. It was about 12 miles out and then back. I was amazed at how quickly I felt in command of the ride, and of course, I have Brindisi to thank for that. Riding with someone on your very first time is a SURE WAY to calm anxiety and I’m SO glad she led the way. I was a little hesitant at first when she told me where she wanted to go. I hadn’t been past 2 miles outside my own neighborhood let alone all across town! But again, she wouldn’t let my nerves get the better of me which led me to forge on, which I did.
When we finally got back to my apartment, I can’t even tell you how accomplished I felt. It’s been a long time since I’ve really challenged myself at anything, and actually, the last time being back in 2007 when I trained for the Cherry Blossom Ten-Mile race. Again, at the end of completing that race, the awesome feeling of hard work finally feeling paid off was undoubtedly revisiting me again with the completion of this ride. However, we weren’t done yet.
Brindisi then invited me to a housewarming party a friend of hers was having in the D.C. Naturally, the first thing I asked was, “Where is it?”
She told me it was near the National Zoo and we would most likely stay off the highways because she knew I was still a little too anxious to get on one just yet, and instead we would take Rock Creek Pkwy, which is a local road that winds through the District.
Well, I was so much on a high from having just completed that awesome ride out to Mount Vernon that I then figured, “Why stop now?” And agreed to go.
Boy, anxiety-wise, was THAT a mistake!! As soon as we hit the road, I started to second guess my decision to go with Brindisi to this party. I was having flashbacks of what I had said to myself only the other night ago, “Next time, let’s quit while you’re ahead.”
Now let me tell you, want to psyche yourself out? Start thinking that way, and then hop on a winding road where cars are flying by you at 50 mph and then the sun is setting and you still have your sunglasses on making it a little hard to see ahead of you… and meanwhile, you’ve got a friend ahead that you are desperately trying to keep up with, too. Ah, yah, sure fire way to make you want to crap in your pants with every rev.
BUT, I managed to calm my nerves about half way through the ride and figured, “Fuck it. If I’m going too slow for everyone, including Brindisi, then I don’t care!!” I knew that I needed to relax and instead of trying to keep up, I dropped my speed and just took my time while keeping a relatively close distance behind Brindisi.
I can’t even tell you how happy I was when we got off the parkway. That relief I felt when we finally got to her friend’s house was AMAZING and for the next 2 ½ hours, I just enjoyed sitting around talking to folks while sipping on my club soda. Just completely unwinding…Whew!!
The party itself was nice and low key. I met a lot of nice people, and at the end of the day, I’m glad I made the anxiety-ridden trek out there. There was, however, a very interesting moment toward the end of the night. And I guess here is where I will begin to address the first of MANY moments of gender…shall we say STUPEFICATION?
It was at the end of the night and all the guests of this friend of Brindisi’s had left except for us. So as we began to say our own goodbyes, suddenly a couple showed up as we were leaving. This couple Brindisi had only met one other time she recalled, but we stuck around just to small talk for a minute before leaving.
This couple was overall very nice. The conversation stayed mostly around what the couple had been doing all evening, attending a fundraiser for one of those run-of-the mill DC non-profits. Right before we left, it came out that Brindisi and I had rode our motorcycles over and that I was a “new rider.” The couple seemed impressed, which I didn’t really feed off of. Yes, I rode a motorcycle, yes, I’m a new rider. Meh, no big deal.
Then the gentleman of the couple began to ask me questions as Brindisi and the “better half” of the couple I’m sure, were engrossed in more NGO and non-profit talk.
Now, aside from mildly creepy me out by his Dr. Evil, skinhead, goatee look the guy had, I didn’t really flinch when he began to inquire about my motorcycle. He asked me what kind of motorcycle I had; I told him it was a Honda Shadow. He reacted like he knew the model and gave me a slight smile. I shrugged and continued to just offer how much I was enjoying learning to ride and that my Honda was the perfect bike for me.
It all seemed rather harmless until the next question he asked came out just like this, “Do you know what cc’s you have?”
Now, you are probably thinking, what is so wrong with that question? He’s simply asking what’s the cubic centimeters of your engine are so that he, himself, can formulate how much power is at your disposal when riding on the open road.
Yes, you are right, however what bugged me about the question was with HOW he FRAMED it.
“Do you KNOW what cc’s you have?”
Do I KNOW? Hmmmm, I don’t know. I just paid $150 to take a motorcycle safety class to get my m-class driver’s license, spent hours reading the manual, scored a 100 on the written and an 86 in the riding test, passing with flying colors and then awarded that m-class successfully, then to only drop $3000 dollars on a motorcycle that I’m hoping to ride all over the Virginia, DC, and Maryland with and so far almost 50 miles clocked in and yet… HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM, maybe I don’t have ANY idea what cc’s mean or are? Wait, you mean they don’t stand for Crazy Cuteness or maybe Curious C-U-Next Tuesday? Wait. I’m so confused. You mean to tell me they aren’t just two letters followed by a bunch of numbers that I’ve just been seeing next to motorcycle models…YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THEY ACTUALLY MEAN SOMETHING??? NO WAY!
Okay okay, so you catch my drift. Now really, if I was a man standing there talking to Dr. Evil, who by the way barely stood at my height of 5’6 and if I had to, probably could’ve easily taken him for at least one round before knocking him out, he would’ve NEVER framed that question that way: Do you KNOW what cc’s you have? I mean, I know it’s incredibly subtle, but when you have lived among such subtlety your entire life, such little moments like so really do end up feeling like an anvil to the head.
So anyway, I didn’t call this guy on it because I didn’t want to waste my time. I didn’t even tell Brindisi about it… though she might be reading this right now and laughing her ass off I bet. I suspect though had I, it would’ve only ended up putting him on the defensive and since this wasn’t my party and I’d just met all these people, I refrained from the confrontation and just smiled, told him it was 600 cc’s, and left it at that. Now, I don’t want it to sound like I then left the party feeling all hopeless and cranky just because some a-hole suddenly got all belittling and chauvinistic on me, far from it. Actually, I was delighted. Not only can I ride my own motorcycle, but I can also see through such bullshit that most people would otherwise over look and wade in, and that kind of sensitivity is awesome…even though sometimes, it feels like a curse.
But nonetheless, the conversation soon came to a close, and Brindisi and I loaded our gear on and headed back…and again, through miles and miles of awesome road did Brindisi help me find my way back home in the night, safe and sound, and with now, 50 miles of travel under my wheels. And remarkably, on the radio right now RUSH and Fly By Night,Wow…what an awesome way to end this.
So there you have it, my very first ride. Who knew it would’ve been so soon, but it happened just the way it did and I’m grateful for it, and more so for my girl Brindisi for bringing me through it successfully…even if I did suddenly find myself wondering, Wait, huh? What the fuck does cc mean again? Cool Cookie?
I’m such a smart ass.
Ps. I think Shadow just acquired a new name…hmm…Cookie.
May 15, 2011 - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Chapter 33: A New Generation.
Sometimes there are real moments when you know the stars just really come together and unbeknownst to you, they suddenly spell out and show your beautiful destiny. Well, this is exactly how I came to find Shadow, my new motorcycle, which has already become more than just a new motorcycle to me, but also become a real, new Life.
It’s all pretty amazing how it happened. I mean, one day I woke up expecting one thing and then a couple of hours later, everything changed. It’s incredible. And I know some of you may be thinking, “Aw come one, it’s just a motorcycle.” This I totally know and I totally get, but somehow I can’t disregard the awesomeness of it. So read on if you want to hear a really cool story, or if not, then you can just simply stop now…
So yes, this past Friday, the 13th of May 2011, I was about on my way to check out and most likely bring home a used bike I had found off the internet. I’d been researching all week. My goal was to quickly purchase a bike because I didn’t want what I’d already learned after my MSF course to go cold. One of the things the instructors stressed during class was in order to learn good skills to riding this required very good muscle memory of technique, which can only be achieved by actually getting on a bike and drilling the techniques over and over again until soon it all becomes second nature to you. So this is basically why I’d had fire on my ass to get a bike soon and quickly.
So I found this really nice used 2009 Yamaha 250 V-star out in Winchester, Virginia. It’s the same bike I trained on and naturally I found this to be a real find. I was super happy to find something I was already familiar with and didn’t hesitate to set up an appointment to go check her out. The only hitch was that Winchester, Virginia is almost 90 minutes away and sincerely, neither me OR my dad, who had agreed to take me out there, was keen on the idea of traveling all the way out to such a place. It had been raining all morning and the logistics of getting the V-Star back was beginning to weigh heavily on me. I didn’t think I was ready to ride her all the way back, KNOWING that I lacked so much skill to make such a long ride. My dad had suggested maybe fitting her in the back of his SUV, but I doubted the ease with which that would have happened. So I kind of settled on me probably just writing the check and on a better, sunnier day, going back to pick her up or finding a way to get her ridden back or maybe even delivered. All I knew was that the goal for the day was to get out there to Winchester to check out that berry purple V-Star.
But before we could do that, I wanted to stop off at Coleman Powersports here in Falls Church, Virginia to pick up a helmet. If I was going to test ride that V-Star, I knew I needed a helmet and Coleman’s was the place to go for all things motorcycle. I had gone there two weeks before to pick up a pair of gloves and sunglasses for the MSF, which is when I met Barry.
Now, Barry has got to be the BEST salesperson I have ever met, not to mention the cutest (Ha-Ha) but I bet all the gals think that, and probably the guys, too. Tall, blonde, and with such a boyish grin about him. He can’t be more than maybe 27 or 28, but he still manages to pull off incredible professionalism despite his super sexy, sweetness. But any way, I digress.
So I had met Barry when I first went to Coleman’s two weeks ago. He was super nice when I told him I was only just starting out, hadn’t even taken my MSF yet, but that didn’t really matter. He still took the time to introduce me to the different bikes they already had on the floor and also went as far as to teach me a little bit about the differences in all the classes of engine power. The best way to illustrate how nice Barry is, was when he told me to feel free to sit on any of the bikes on the floor, and naturally, my reaction to his offer was to cringe in immediate fear that came from the incredible intimidation factor these massive machines exuded.
I quickly shook my head, and Barry kindly raised his hands in surrender and said, “Oh, ok, not ready yet.”
At that point, I just shrugged and said it wasn’t THAT, but that I really just needed to get going. And while I was totally telling the truth—I really had to be going—Barry also knew a little better. Nope, I wasn’t ready yet.
Anyhow, so my dad and I arrived at Coleman’s around 11:30 that Friday morning. I’ll never forget, as soon as I opened the door to enter the store, something right over to the corner caught my eye. I knew it was a bike; a bike that had a cool flash of Chinese red. I knew at that moment I instantly saw something I liked, but I immediately told myself AND my father, who was now soooo overwhelmed by all the neat bikes and was dragging his feet all around the floor to look at them, to get over to where the helmets were so that we can be on our way to Winchester.
I didn’t get a quarter a way through the store before I saw Barry across the aisle. He then saw me and at that moment I waited for that split second of recognition I was hoping he would have before I went ahead and said hello. But regardless, even if he didn’t recall, he walked over and I just said hello and made mention that I had, “Passed my test.” I think at that point, he recalled who I was, he congratulated me, and we chatted a moment and I began to tell him my plans of heading out to Winchester to check out this 2009 V-Star I’d seen.
Barry then cocked his head to the side and I could tell he was questioning my decision to check out this V-Star and said, “Well, I just got something new in. You should come take a look at it.”
He started to walk me over to where that flash of red I’d seen only moments earlier was. As we started to walk over to it, I said to him, “Man, I KNEW you were going to walk me over to this. I totally noticed her as soon as I walked in.”
Barry laughed and said that he had literally JUST rode her up to the sales floor not five minutes before I walked in. And I knew he wasn’t lying because I could still feel the heat from the pipes.
Man, and up close, she was as I expected, absolutely beautiful. A Chinese red 1996 Honda Shadow 600VT.
Instantly I thought she was too much for me to handle. She was too beautiful, too seemingly big, and just totally too much chocked full of power that I was completely intimidated by her. I just walked around her in circles. Totally admiring her, totally checking her out. She was totally awesome. Totally.
Meanwhile, Barry just droned on about how great a bike she was and especially what a great starter she’d be for me. Soon my dad waddled over and immediately agreed at how beautiful she was. And then came the price: $2999 with only 1800 miles on it.
Yes, it seems this Honda Shadow just stayed in someone’s garage for years, and quite possibly only taken out on a few occasions. And as a result, she was in MINT condition. No bumps or bruises, no scratches, and in perfect order. Amazing.
The V-star we were going to look at was at the same price and my dad soon began shaking his head and said, “This one. This is the one. You should get this one.”
I began to fight them both. I knew both my dad and Barry thought this was the bike to go with, but I still wasn’t sold on her. Then came over another salesperson, Dave. Dave was super nice too and had said to me that he has owned three Honda Shadows and absolutely loved them. And then sidebar, and you will probably laugh at me here, there was a LITTLE bit of Nikki Sixx factor in this, too.
I’m currently reading Heroin Diaries (which really is an amazing story about one man’s addiction and recovery from it), and in it, Nikki mentions that he at one point rode a Honda Shadow. When I had read that, of course because of my newly instilled interest in motorcycles, I immediately looked up what a Honda Shadow was. And well, I thought: Wow, it was sooo cool, but also, something I probably couldn’t ride just yet.
So now, here I was, eyeing a Chinese red Honda Shadow. I couldn’t believe the color, too. It’s no secret that my color palette over the past couple of years has been black, red, and white. Just something I’ve started to reduce my style to out of pure laziness I think, and also because about two years ago I bought a pair of red spectacles that have kind of ruled my fashion choices as well. Nonetheless, her color was perfect for me as well.
But like I said, I still wasn’t sold. She was JUST TOO MUCH.
Then Barry told me to just sit on her. Just mount her and try her out.
“Okay, okay…” I said, and then at that point, all Heaven broke loose.
She was not as heavy as I thought she was, and actually, she was quite light. And her seat, good lord, was soo comfortable that it almost felt like I was sitting on a lazy chair. I got so spooked at how awesome she felt that I quickly got off and lamented that although she DID feel really good, I just…well… couldn’t.
Then sensing my Dad’s slight frustration with his daughter’s fear, he asked Barry if they had something comparable to the V-Star we were going to see. Barry said that actually yes, they had a brand new one. I instantly thought: Perfect! I can now at least compare.
But when I went over to sit on the brand new, rather stiff leather seat of the flimsy, small bodied V-Star, I knew there was no comparison. Crap. Now what?
So then I decided I needed to do what I had FIRST planned on doing. Get that helmet. So for the next half hour or so, I tried on helmets, with Dad in tow, and then settled on a real nice, EXPENSIVE top-of-the-line one. And then at that point, I said to Dad that we needed to get to Winchester, NOW.
As I began to walk toward the front of the store again—the helmet section had been in the very back—I saw Barry and proceeded to thank him again for everything he’d help me with and said we were on our way to Winchester now. He nodded, welcomed us, and then wished us good luck.
BUT before I decided to go, I made my way back to where Shadow was one last time. I had to get one last look at her.
And this is where sometimes FATE takes a hold of you and just won’t let you go, no matter WHAT you do. FATE has her plans, and sometimes, YOU are involved whether you planned on it or not.
I sat on Shadow, and with my dad overlooking, he said in one of his best fatherly counsels ever to me, “You look great on this. You should get this. Really, I wouldn’t tell you if I thought otherwise.”
Then suddenly out from the sales floor walked over Dave, where he just grinned at me and said, “She’s a great bike, isn’t she?”
I remember at that point, I smiled at him, looked down at my legs straddling Shadow’s sexy red frame, and then slowly I began to feel my heart melt. I was totally falling in love. She is the one.
Now, it’s so crazy, but doesn’t this read like a freaking LOVESTORY. I’m still a little amazed by it all, but it really was this way. Exactly how I tell it. At that moment, Shadow and I belonged to each other….
Barry soon made his way over to me again, and that’s when I told him I’d take her. He smiled satisfyingly at me and said he’d get the paper work ready. My dad was so pleased that he laughed on and then said to Barry, “Do you think I put the hard sell on her?” WE all laughed. Indeed, the only person who could ever hard sell me would be my father. God love him.
Later that afternoon, Barry would ride Shadow over to my apartment. Yes, Coleman’s even delivers, and boy, do they!! Barry showed up, and I asked him if he wouldn’t mind taking me for a short spin around the block with me riding in back. I wanted to see what Shadow felt like at good power since I knew, and know, it will still take a while for me to get her running at maximum performance. But with Barry riding her, I could at least get an idea at what she is like.
Man, it was awesome taking off with Barry at the reins. She sounded awesome, not too loud, but just loud enough. She was totally smooth on the corners and turns. She was simply just comfortable. And the one thing I also noticed, was that I, myself, was comfortable. Shadow was an easy ride. And I loved it!
When we finally got back to my apartment, I thanked Barry soooo much for everything. If it wasn’t for Barry, this wouldn’t have come to be. Again, Barry knew much better and luckily this time I didn’t recoil in fright from what this super, sexy, sweet tall glass of water was finally offering me. Man, so who’s thirsty now? Haaah.
So in the end, I gave Barry a big, fat hug, and with that, my dad drove Barry back to his store, and I snuggled in to begin this new relationship with Shadow.
And well, it’s been pretty good so far. I’ve realized it’s hard sometimes getting used to something new. Shadow and I don’t really know each other very well. But the one thing I do know is that I’m willing to put the work in to really get to know her. I really want to know everything about her. I want to know her insides and outsides and the whole thing!
Two nights ago, I took Shadow out for a short spin around the neighborhood. It was great at first, but then I started to stall and make all these mistakes while riding her that I quickly became incredibly discouraged and slightly more anxious about riding her. I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong, and I quickly became disappointed at myself. But then I came in and started reading, via the internet, stories about new riders who often make the same mistakes and that it really just takes time and practice. Reading all of that helped a lot with this sudden new anxiety I was feeling, and so did a really good night’s sleep.
When I woke yesterday, I decided that I needed to come up with a better strategy to get to know Shadow. I just can’t expect her to perform perfectly when her rider is no where near perfect. Yes, this might be surprising to some, but this actually just occurred to me. I mean, I know I’m very far from perfect, but I think my lack of patience with myself has often been the reason why I’m not NEARLY as perfect as I’d like to be in all aspects of my life. I often subject myself to very hard challenges, which I truly believe I can easily overcome; but when you throw in the element of impatience with oneself, that can actually make the challenge THAT much harder and often times, resulting in just a lot of disappointments. And this undoubtedly has been my weakness for a long time.
So late last night, I decided I’m going to take my TIME to really work on this relationship with Shadow and with myself. If it means I spend a month, just riding around in small circles in my parking lot garage until I find complete ease and comfort controlling her, then so be it. And actually, I think it’s a great plan. What’s with the haste? I’ve got all the time in the world … at least, that’s how I’m going to think it from now on.
Last night, I spent one hour just working on stopping and going, especially since this is what I was having the most problems with when I first took her out. Again, in the beginning, I struggled. What the hell was I doing wrong??? But then finally, it clicked. I figured it out. It was me. It’s always been me. And yes, I’ve known this, but to finally be able to correct it, and then see what happens when I finally get it right and then how wonderfully Shadow begins to ride when I finally cooperate is really what this great feeling is all about. Time and Patience are really my two best friends right now…and well, Shadow? She’s my Love.
I’m listening to Rush’s Closer to the Heart right now, and I got to say, what better way to begin this soundtrack of a great ride I’m undoubtedly about to take with my Life….
Now see, what’d I’d tell ya, cool story huh?
Shadow happily ever after
Ps. For the record, I have not actually read Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. But as I was writing this account, I was totally recalling what I'd heard about the famous book years ago and while I worked at Barnes & Noble. A few times I thumbed through it, but never quite understood it, that is, until now. So let's just say that indeed, this book has been added and now topped number one on my list of must-reads, and most definitely, as soon as possible.
May 8, 2011- Happy Motorcycle..er Mother's Day!
So I did it. I freaking did it. I passed the Virginia state required motorcycle skills safety test, and I'm now the proud owner of a Class M driver’s license.
I can’t even tell you how excited I am. Man, this has got to have been the most intense three days of my life. I don’t think I’ve ever tried so hard to work at something like I just did this past weekend. And well, guess all that hard work finally paid off because I PASSED. And I fucking nailed it!!!
Well Okay, okay, I decelerated right before I went into the curve, went over about 4 feet on my stopping, and I still got to learn to ease up on the clutch a bit, but I conquered the U-turn box and hit the swerve on cue. I feel like such a rock star.
Now when in the world did I even decide to do this? It was actually a couple of months ago. I’d been teasing the idea in my head for a while. I’ve been tired of not having transportation, but don’t really want to own a car. They are too much money and too much maintenance. So logically I then thought well than what about motorcycle? I’ve always loved motorcycles. I recall the one and only time I actually got on something like motorcycle. I was about 15 or 16 when I discovered moped. It belonged to one of the neighborhood kids. I’ll never forget that day. The guy who owned it said I could take it for a spin. I was the only one out of my friends who was gutsy enough to try it. But I recall being fearless as I hopped on, pulled the throttle, and then felt myself riding off in speed and wind. I fucking loved it. It was the best feeling ever. I also remember how gorgeous it was that Summer evening.
I took the moped and rode all over the neighborhood and even back to my house. I remember I pulled up to our yard, turned off the moped, and ran inside to grab my little sister to show her what I had outside. She came out and found it to be really cool. I told her to stand back and watch me take off. Well, now, this is where big sisters get laughed at.
Not knowing how to control the handle brake and throttle after turning on the motor, all I remember was suddenly the moped took off WITHOUT ME on it, but with me still holding onto the handle bars! It ran me full speed about thirty feet in a diagonal toward a neighbor’s yard. It hit the curb, I then flew head first into a flip and BAM, landed sprawled out in the grass with moped not far behind. I guess in motorcycle terms, that would kind of be like my first high-side fall, and man, I hope that’s the only one I EVER have.
I was so dazed and confused, but got right back up. When I managed to gather my wits, I pulled up the moped and walked back over to my little sister, who was now laughing at me from across the street. We still talk about it to this day. She always just shakes her head and lets out that meager laugh only a little sister would give to an older sister who had totally fucked up and all because she was being clumsy.
But any way, I got right back on the moped and zipped right back over to where I started. I turned off the motor and handed the moped back to the guy. I’ll never forget, he took one look at the brake, noticed a bit of divot wedged right in the control, nudged it with his finger, and said to me, “You totally crashed didn’t you?”
I remember I looked down at the evidence and tried to play it off by saying, “No, I didn’t. That’s from me putting the moped down on the ground for a minute.”
He just smiled and said, “Uh-huh. Right.”
And with that, I walked off feeling the most awesomeness I had ever felt that summer.
Unfortunately there was no way in hell I would’ve EVER been able to own my own moped. My mom would’ve killed me if I even dared ask. So I just took that one memory of the best summer spin on a moped I ever had and locked it away in my chest of treasured memories. But today, I was finally able to unlock that chest once more and feel that summer spin all over again. It’s so awesome.
So a couple of months ago, some friends and I were hanging out. It came out how easy it was to sign up for the Biking Rider Course (BRC) offered at NOVA here in Alexandria. $150 and three intense days didn’t seem so bad. My friend Kris expressed some interest too, so we both made a pact to DO THIS together and GET IT DONE.
And successfully, we both DID! Kris passed with no problem either.
I will admit though that for me there was some MASSIVE anxiety to get over. But with each exercise, it all just got easier and easier. Sure, there were slip ups..but I can at least report, I didn’t drop the bike once. It was funny, but weeks leading up to the course, I spent hours and hours on Youtube watching videos of all sorts of motorcycle clips. I watched How-To videos, crashes, mishaps, etc. And each video I watched I recall thinking, “Man, am I going to be able to do this?” I’ll admit, I was terrified. Really wasn’t sure if I could do it. But I knew I had to try. There was no getting around that fact. Something in me just said to DO IT and worry about the results later.
And well, now look at me. Bona fide.
But I got to tell you, the moment I hit the engine starter and felt the vibration all throughout my body, I just knew this was and is for me. Also, not to mention, our class had AMAZING instructors. Wayne and Mike were so awesome and so patient with us, yet they both totally worked us to the pavement. At the end of these past two On-the-range days, I’ve been so exhausted both physically and mentally that all I’ve wanted to do was…well, what I’m doing now, just sitting here typing at my computer.
I really do owe those two guys all the thanks in the world and also to Jason, the in-training instructor who was particularly gracious in his instructing of me. Actually, he did wonders for my confidence. Constantly reinforcing the “FUCK YEAHS!” “AWESOME” “ALL RIGHT PATTEE!” And just really keeping up my no fear attitude. Because I’m telling yah, really, one fuck up and it can frazzle you for a while. I think that was the hard part for all of us. When suddenly you make that quick mistake of pulling the throttle a bit too much, ratcheting the clutch into god knows WHAT gear, and then trying to maintain that friggin friction zone while trying to stay within the lines or else you’re off that imaginary cliff or hit by that bus..good grief. INTENSE. But now, we aren’t going to worry about that. Because we did it.
Well, actually most of us did it. We started off with eleven of us, but lost two just after the first day, and then one guy didn’t pass. So yeah, not all of us did. But the eight that did…is enough.
So okay, I’m totally running out of steam here and need to go pass out into sleep. But before I go, here are a few pictures of the last two days. Enjoy them and may the Vrooooom Vrooom be with you.
Wayne and Mike, the BEST motorcycle instructors in the world!
Here's the bike that got me through it all. A brand new Yamaha 250 V-Star. (At the time, it seemed so grand)
My buddy Kris and his bike.
Ah, Kris doesn't like PDA. He's Asian.
This is me right after the test. It's a happy me. But cut me a break on the make-up less look I'm sporting here. It was an intense two days, and how I LOOKED on a bike was the LAST thing I was worried about. After all, safety first, style later.
I think this is coach Mike trying to tell me to believe in myself a little more. Yes, that's exactly what's going on here.
Because when I do, BAM, things can happen.
Oh yeah, now into the chest of treasured memories....
May 7, 2011
There are very few times in my life where I have suddenly found myself at a loss of words. Well, it happened this past week when at a sudden chance flip of the paper, I saw something that made me remember what a friend had told me about weeks before. It was an ad for the book signing of Nikki Sixx’s new book: This is Gonna Hurt, at the Barnes and Noble in downtown Washington, DC, which is also the same Barnes and Noble I spent the first five years of my life working at when I first got to DC.
For those of you who follow me and MIGHT NOT know who I am talking about, Nikki Sixx is the bassist of the Heavy Metal band Mötley Crüe …and if you’ve never heard of Mötley Crüe...well then, I caneventalktoyou…ha, just kidding. Go check them out on Google, listen to these three songs on YouTube: Wild Side, Kickstart My Heart, and the monster ballad Home Sweet Home. And you’ll prolly have a decent idea about them.
So luckily, when I happened upon the ad, the first thing I did was gasp, “AW MAN, did I miss this??” Weeks before I had gone to visit my friend Allan who was working at the bookstore. Allan is a huge metal head. I’m nowhere NEAR his aficionado-ness of metal, and actually, far from it.
Quite frankly, I’m kind of odd when it comes to what kind of music I truly identify with.. honestly, I listen to all types and I’ve gone through all types of phases. But what I can say is that the first phase I ever got into was Heavy Metal music. Now to be clear, I wasn’t really into HARD heavy metal music. Bands like Megadeth or Iron Maiden just didn’t appeal. They were a little too dark, a little too angry, but you know what did appeal to me… Mötley Crüe. I loved Mötley Crüe.
I'd known all the hits off their other albums, especially with the Theatre of Pain album, but it was the Girls, Girls, Girls album I first bought. I was twelve then and now I can fully understand why I feel the way I feel today about meeting Nikkii Sixx. I can’t tell you how many times I’d listen to their music as a young girl and then watch their videos and see, who? Nikki Sixx. Talk about getting all fucked up with watching too much TV. I must have watched their videos a million times, and each time, there he was…always making me feel like he was ever so slowly possessing me with his gaze into the camera.
I am convinced to this day, that Nikki Sixx was probably the one who “kickstarted” my sexuality. Now how can I just blatantly make such a definitive statement? Because when I do think back, I recall again that it wasn’t an innocent puppy love crush, or a popcorn TV fun star that made me feel…ahh, I can’t even put the words to it. Made me feel…ah, just SEXUAL I guess. I mean, of course I had crushes on all sorts of different classmates and TV stars growing up. But my crush on Nikki Sixx was different…it was serious…it was something that was ON.
Now on the TV, on the radio, on the album cover, I don’t know. But what I do know is that nothing else I was into back then ever felt quite like it. This might be silly, too, but I recall as kids we used to hang out in the parking lot of a spot called Motley’s Pizza, where’d we look for just about anything to get fucked up on. It was in this very parking lot where I had my first “pass out.” I remember I drank so much beer and whiskey that night that I passed out right while I was sitting on the curb. My friends had to pick me up and hide me behind a dumpster because the cops were on their way and they didn’t know what to do with me. Ahh yes, good times.
But any way, I can’t tell you how many times we walked to this Motley’s Pizza, and in my own little “demented Pattee head” felt good about going there just BECAUSE it was called MOTLEY’S Pizza…that somehow, again, in my own little demented head, that I thought I was part of The Crüe …however far and remote our worlds really were and are.
And then to meet the motherfucker 25 years later. I’m still a little dizzy about it. I mean when I was 12, 13, 14, he was only on the TV. But now, you can only imagine how the fuck I felt standing before him…meeting the one dude, the one guy that I KNOW was the first one who turned me “ON” 25 years ago. Fucking crazy.
So yeah, there I was, standing in the line, holding his new book, while waiting to get it signed. I was totally cool and excited about meeting him. I hadn’t crawled into my crazy head just yet. I was just like any other fan, patiently standing in line, hoping that the water I was drinking wasn’t going to have to make me pee too soon before I got up to the front of the line to meet him. The chicks behind me were avid fans I could tell. The one lady said something about having been to a number of the Crüe’s concerts, she’d also gone to one other book signing, the one for Nikki’s first book Heroin Diaries. Shamefully, I’ve never been to a Crüe concert—honestly I’m really bad about going to concert shows, and Heroin Diaries I’m just beginning to get through. But, I did manage to almost finish This is Gonna Hurt when I arrived on this day (having bought it the day before), so my compliment of “nice work” to him was true and honest for sure.
So there I am, about to meet the one person I can say most definitely had no idea he had all this aforementioned coming. It was actually a pretty funny exchange though. For some reason when it was my turn, it was like the crowd suddenly parted because there was some confusion with the folks in front of me, and so one of the line Nazis started to push everyone out of the way. When she did that, suddenly there was a wide space between where Nikki sat receiving people and me. I had not expected that. There had been comfort with my nerves with all the people who had been in front of me, but when they were pushed away, suddenly I found myself feeling completely vulnerability to my nerves and so naturally my susceptibility went straight to my cheeks.
As soon as he looked over to where I stood, I IMMEDIATELY started to blush when I made eye contact with him. He grinned, slowly looked me up and down; and I then…almost peed in my pants…and no really I almost did, I’d had to pee SO bad.
But as I slowly walked to where he sat, a Barnes and Noble assistant took my book and slipped it to him. I happen to know this B&N assistant since I used to work at that store. She began to giggle at me because she knew how fucking excited I was. I made a playful plea to her to "shut up" and she giggled some more. Then I’m pretty sure Nikki noticed our exchange because I saw him suddenly look very pleased with himself as he looked down to open my book with a half-giggled smile himself.
He cracked it open, with his head still down, and while starting to write out my name that had been already written out on a Post it stuck to the inside flap (a clever organizational tool brought on by years of book signing I’m sure) Nikki—in the most sexiest voice I had ever heard in my entire life--said: What's going on?
I immediately could not believe at just how THICK he had laid it on me. I didn’t know what to do. It was like every goddamn nerve in my body just went into shock. How the fuck do you respond to something like that? What’s going on? What’s going ON? Motherfucker, I’ll tell you what’s going on…
And straight away, I started to feel the nanobeats of my heart. Every fucking pulse of my body was so electrified that I’m surprised I didn’t spontaneously combust right fucking then and there. I put my head down and thought: Okay okay, be cool. BE COOL PATTEE. Don’t get all fucking stupid. This is Nikki Sixx. The one person you can just about redirect your entire, total sexual awakening, too. So don’t fuck this up. Just be cool. Be cool. BE COOL.
Oh God, and then in the best way that I could and in the most nonchalant/be cool/keeping it real voice that I had, I just looked away and down and with a shrug of my shoulders said, “Oh you know, nothing, nothing much..just... YOU!!”
As soon as I said that, Nikki’s assistant behind him burst out into laughter. I was a little surprised in her reaction because I had been SOO caught in my demented panicked mind that I had totally forgotten anyone, including Nikki, was around. I was already laughing at myself though, so her reaction was more than welcomed.
She looked right at me, her face flushed red, and said, “That was the BEST comeback!” The two of us continued to laugh, I shrugged a “what do you expect!” And then I looked back down and saw that Nikki was pretty amused as well. It was a very funny moment. I'm such a fool.
So then Nikki signed my book, I complimented him on his work, and he then looked up at me with this grin.
What a great picture that is right? I remember when the assistant who was helping with the taking of pictures handed me back my cell phone, she squealed to me, “OH, there’s a nice picture of Nikki smiling at you in here.” And she was right.
But now imagine being on the end of receiving that grin. I froze. It was like suddenly all the functions of my brain began relaying messages to my body in French and my body was responding like what the fuck do you want me to do? I was completely at a loss of words. Totally. Completely. My mind had gone blank. And this is what I’m talking about being one of those times where I had just nothing to say. I mean there was absolutely NO WORDS in my brain bank left to grasp at. My mind was a blank.
BUT THANK GOD, I HAVE TATTOOS WRITTEN ALL OVER MY ARM. Because I am 100% sure it would have even MORE awkward than it did later.
So THEN Nikki noticed my tattoos and leaned in to read the ones on my arm. He drew in slowly totally commanding me to lay it all out for him. It was the strangest damn thing, but I had literally lost the function of my body and I’m not kidding you, but his draw in, totally and completely, drew me out. I turned my forearm up and out and slowly raised it over for him to see. I remember as I looked down at my arm, suddenly I began to panic. All I kept thinking was OH God, no, what is he going to SEE?
And man, you know, sometimes this is where I hate being who the fuck I am. This is where I feel like a freak. This is where I feel like a goddamn asshole with ugly fucking tattoos scrawled all up and down my fucking arm. Like a goddamn billboard of crap I don’t understand half the time. Sometimes I feel like this whole fucking thing isn’t even MY IDEA. Isn’t even MY FUCKING CHOICE. Like somehow, somebody else got into my fucking head and fucking chose me… chose ME to get THEIR fucking ideas out to the world. And goddamn it, it’s hard. It’s so hard sometimes. But any way…I digress.
So yah, Nikki then inquired about the meaning of one. As soon as he saw my arm, he read OUT LOUD and SO loud that I knew everyone around heard.
“There’s no sex in heaven?” Then over his shoulder he kind of gave his assistant a “look” and continued to say half to me, half to her, “Now what’s THAT supposed to me??”
Ugh, it was the most awkward moment for me because I could tell he was really like, WHAT THE FUCK? As I sit here right now, I feel fucking awful for not being able to sit him down and be like here, “here dude, this is what it means.” OR even being able to keep my cool and say, “oh yah, well hey, go to Thattattoogirl.com and you can read what it means there.” NOOOO, like a dumbshit I scramble with what to say…but at the same time, trying to negotiate with the line Nazi who was now moving me along.
I mean by the time I knew what was happening, I had responded, “I know, it’s a long story.”
And in my stupid ass response, Nikki scrambled himself to offer me, I don’t know advice or something, and started to say, “Well you should…” and by the time I heard that, the line Nazi had pushed me off, and another assistant had slipped another book in front of him and the next fan was up to bat.
Moment of Silence for the Stupid Please…
Now, I can’t even tell you how irritated I am at myself for not being more at ease with what happened. And okay, let’s be honest, I’m stuck in my own demented Pattee head right now, and really, it’s not like any of this would have made a difference any way. Not like he would have gone to it if he HAD gotten my website address. So again, then why do I feel so fucked up about it.
I guess because I just don’t like leaving people hanging like that. I HATE IT as a matter of fact. I mean that’s why I created this freaking website to begin with. To NOT let people hang on knowing the meaning of my tattoos. And what do I go and do… leave one of the most “important” people I can think of I’ve met in the last five years.. totally and completely… hanging. WHAT THE FUCK.
And to boot, why am I not surprised that THAT tattoo would be the one that got his attention. I’ve got a ton of shit on my arm, but that’s the one he asks about. The one tattoo that reminds me to keep, of all things on this earth…Sex…sacred, and Nikki Sixx…being the epicenter of where it all kind of began for me…how fucking crazy is that? I don’t think things could get any more full circle than that. That’s for fucking sure.
But now really, if you’ve read my story on what it means, it’s also a lot more than just that. So I guess that’s why I’m just so bummed that I wasn’t able to do it justice. To the tattoo I guess. Though yeah, it’s ugly as hell, it’s still one of my favorites. The whole story with all of its lessons really represent a huge part of who I am..so again, not that it really matters, but I must confess, I’m still mildly irritated that I just didn’t hold more value to the explaining of it, and to him. I really fucked up. BUT let's just at least remind one's self that it was STILL regardless, really freaking awesome to meet Nikki Sixx. And to get that picture with that smile! Ha- I'll be able to enjoy now looking at THAT for a while. Who needs old 80s videos?
It was sincerely a dream come true.
But any way, so that kind of wraps up a moment in my life where I finally had nothing to say but: it’s a long story.
Man, and so was this one.
Ps. Man, if somehow—you—Mr. Nikki Sixx somehow magically finds your way to my website…because perhaps you do get that business card that I did at least manage to pass along in that gift bag to you, though in my heart of hearts I know that’s more like me expecting you to find a penny that’s been thrown into the sea—know that it was fucking awesome meeting you...and really…thanks for all the good music…and well, you know what else.
Pss. Oh My God… why do I feel like this is the biggest piece of GROP ever. Sometimes that little demented 14 yr old Pattee likes to come out every once in a while. I appreciate you indulging her. Really.
May 2, 2011
It’s magical how I interact with my world sometimes…
So the night before last, on Saturday, I was finishing up with the reorganizing of our pantry. It had gotten totally out of hand, complete with half open pasta boxes collecting up, a six-month old fruit roll-up (my sister’s), and the precarious teetering of soup cans, black bean cans, and for some reason, 6 cans of coconut milk.
Way in the back of one of the shelves, I managed to pull out a half sleeve of saltines that I had no idea how long had been there. Taking one cracker out, I bit into it hoping my taste test would be a positive experience, and it was. The crackers weren’t stale at all, but I later found the box the half-sleeved belonged in and inside were two completely unopened sleeves of crackers.
Now overwhelmed by the amount of saltines packs I had, and knowing that neither my sister nor I really eat these things on a regular basis, I decided best to get rid of the half sleeve. However, I felt it almost a sin to throw it out realizing the freshness and edibleness of them, and so immediately I thought: I can crush them up and drop them in a pile for the birds near the bus stop across the street because I often do see them nibbling on the crumbs of odds and ends people have left on the ground as well.
And they really do. I always see peanuts, popcorn, chips, and just the other day, a whole piece of cornbread was on the ground. It was the most random thing. When got to the bus stop, I noticed a black bird was trying to pick at it, yet all he was able to do was pick at a very large square of something very dense. I decided to help him a bit, and so I walked over and broke up the cornbread with my foot. When I got home later that afternoon, the pile of cornbread crumbs that were left were gone. I suspect it was some feast that day.
So any way, here I was at almost midnight about to walk over to crush up my half sleeve of saltines for birdies that were fast asleep I’m sure. Mind you, our bus stop at almost midnight is probably not a place people are usually seen since buses stop running around midnight. In other words, I knew I’d probably look weird out there crushing up crackers and throwing them onto the sidewalk. BUT my need to keep from creating more waste and my concern for the birds having enough food to eat got the better of me, and so I donned on my sweat pants and sweater and made the trot over to the bus stop, while trying to look as inconspicuous as anyone could look walking across the street with a half package of crackers in hand and nothing else.
The whole time I walked over to the bus stop, I kept muttering to myself at what a nut I was being. If anyone should see me???? But at that point being a nut didn’t matter, all I kept thinking was that I didn’t want to waste food and this was the perfect way of not wasting it: feed the little birdies since I’m sure they are hungry.
So I got to the spot where I wanted to leave my gift to the birds. I took out the sleeve and crushed all the crackers into tiny crumbs, sprinkling them all along the concrete. Finishing quickly, I made my way back to my apartment, moving through the parking lot just like a stealth ninja. It was funny.
So as soon as I got back into the apartment and having had a good chuckle with myself over my sacrifice of sanity for good intention, I forgot all about my own weirdness and went to bed.
Sunday passed without me remembering the Saturday night before, and so came today, Monday, and I’m currently remembering what happened today, and I’ll be honest…all I can do is sigh at the sight I saw when I arrived at the bus stop this morning.
I arrived like I always do, half asleep and grumpy as hell at having to be up. I did remember to take a glance at my pile of crumbs I left the night before last. To my delight, they were all pretty much gone. A little bit of crumbs still dusted the area, but I was happy to see that they seemed to be eaten up… that is, until I remembered it had rained a little on Sunday. Remembering this made me a little sad, I feared the rain had maybe wiped away all the crumbs and the birds perhaps weren’t able to feast as much as I had hoped they would.
Until all of the sudden, a little bird flew right in front of me. He was no further than a toss away, when I noticed something dangling from his mouth. Caught right between his beak was a bright green worm! He stood right in front of me, walking back and forth almost as if showing off his prize. It was at that moment that I got the message: You really shouldn’t worry so much about us Pattee, we can take care of ourselves. Okay? And then with that, he flew off with a much better breakfast in beak than I could ever dare provide.
Lesson in all this: Good intentions aren’t always the best intentions, but they are recognized and thanked for all in the same.
April 24, 2011 - Happy Easter
Last Easter I wrote a very special and (ahem) long story discussing the themes of renewal and faith and what it can be about for each of us during this season whether we practice a particular faith or not (April 11, 2010 entry). This year though, I thought I’d just share a couple of short thoughts about a pair of particular four-year-olds I know.
I have found that like Christmas, Easter can sometimes seem like it’s being misinterpreted. As much as I want to be politically correct here—let’s face it—it’s about a very special person and what he went through and what it later meant for people of Faith around the world. I grew up hearing the story every Easter, celebrating it with my family, and also later understanding what it means for me personally as an adult. However like Christmas, I sometimes get the feeling that Easter may have lost a lot of its true meaning lately, and I especially feel like this when I walk down a candy aisle at a local drugstore.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m the first that will go straight for the SweetTart jellybeans once they have arrived. My sister Clarissa discovered them about three years ago and ever since they’ve become like crack for us every Easter season. You can easily find us every evening just mindlessly nibbling away at those sour, sugary bits of goodness while in front of the TV. However at one point this season, I began to wonder if Easter, for me, had also become just the 40-day consumption of sugar, sugar, and more sugar. I noticed that I’d kind of been feeling a bit disconnected and maybe somewhat disheartened by the lack of recognition among not only myself, but that of my own peers, and perhaps just how Easter in general seems to be viewed in our secular world. But about a week ago, I came across something, a Polaroid picture of a four-year-old me with my sister one Easter morning, which reminded me that at the end of the day, no matter how removed things can seem to feel at times…no chocolate bunny, no dyed egg, and certainly no jellybean could ever really take away the true meaning of Easter. And even at four years old, I think I knew that, too.
Okay, now once you get pass the laughter, remarkable isn’t it? I almost feel like I’m saying two things here. First I feel like I could be addressing the world something like, "REALLY people? Eggs? What’s with this nonsense?"
The second I like to think my four-year-old self could be looking into the future to tell my thirty-six-year old self now to, "Come on, and keep the Faith pattee, and don’t let all of this insignificance get you down. You know what it’s about, just look at your dress up. We don’t see you affixing bunny ears on your sister now do we?"
It’s so funny how such a humorous picture can somehow miraculously become just the lesson I needed and what maybe some others might need to help renew faith in ourselves and in the season.
And now as for Clarissa in this picture…honestly, she still looks exactly the same, especially when she’s grabbing for those crack-filled SweetTart jellybeans.
Now that was the first story about a little four-year-old, the second story I’d like to share was about another little four-year-old I had the good fortune of spending this Easter Sunday with. His name is Zane and his mother (who is a coworker of my stepmom) were both invited over for Easter supper. Well after Easter supper, I invited Zane to go on a walk with me and my parents’ poodle Fido. We had the most beautiful weather today, and both Zane and I, not to mention Fido, couldn’t wait to get outside for just a little bit.
As the three of us walked up the block, Zane and I came across one sole dandelion seedling. I asked Zane if he knew how to make a wish with the seedling. He nodded knowingly and then bent down to pick it. As he brought the seedling to his lips, I asked him, “Now Zane, what are you going to wish for?”
In his earnest to make his wish, Zane closed his eyes tightly, and I could almost see the intensity with which he began to think at what would be the greatest wish he could ever make. Moments went by, and then I saw him take the biggest breath in he could and then blew at the seeds with all his might.
I looked at him endearingly and said, “Well Zane? What was your wish?”
Zane then smiled at me and with all the enthusiasm that only a four-year-old could possibly have, he exclaimed, “I wish for ALL THE ICE CREAM IN THE WORLD!”
And yes, at that moment, my heart melted.
Miraculously again, that sometimes it’s just the simplicity of a pair of four-year-olds that can make you renew your faith in all that is good and holy. Happy Easter everyone.
March 17, 2011 - Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
One, Two, Three!
Let us count on the blessed be
And hold our mugs in toast
To the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
Happy are those who believe in ye greatness
Of one good Saint’s triumph o’er utter wickedness
For through his lucky charms
He saved clovered Ireland from dreadful harm
And now we celebrate in grand gladness!
So go now and laugh and sing on merrily
Eat and beat on a drum until just barely
Can we see through all our smiling Irish eyes
One, Two, Three!
Let us drink to the blessed be!
February 21, 2011
So this past fall, I finally took my first poetry workshop class since college, and it was probably the best $300 I have ever invested. I took the class at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland and had learned about the center through my friend Reuben Jackson who is an instructor there. I met Reuben while I was working at Barnes & Noble. He was a regular in the music section (music being Reuben's actual first love) and I was the manager of that department. Soon enough, Reuben's regular visits sparked conversations that eventually led us to discover our mutual interest in poetry. I can't even express to you how grateful I am at this most significant if not providential meeting. Reuben is an inspiring teacher and quite the phenomenal poet as well. You can download a great interview with Reuben featured in the Library of Congress: The Poet and Poem Webcasts here: The Poet and Poem Webcasts. (just page down to Reuben Jackson)
Now having given the proper credit, I’d like to now tout what I think might be some of the best poems I’ve written thus far. I had really forgotten what it feels to be in a structured setting and among those who are also “like” me. When you go about things alone for so long, sometimes you can forget how important it is to be around your peers. These peers provide both praise AND criticism that are undoubtedly invaluable in the shaping of an artist/poet. If an artist/poet is on a constant path of expression, then his or her peers are the guideposts that help move the artist on their way, and most notably the final destination being that of the Truth, and during my eight weeks at The Writer’s Center, I was most certainly reminded of that essential purpose in why I write poetry.
So please enjoy reading the new pieces. I really do hope you are as moved at these pieces as I was while writing them…I mean, sincerely, there’s just no better satisfaction then finding the right string of words that best captures what one is trying to say, and in these particular cases, I truly believe that nothing got lost in the translation. That being, the greatest gift of poetry.
February 3, 4708 - Happy Chinese New Year!!
I will have to admit I am a little sad to see our fearsome feline, The Tiger, go and not to return for another twelve years, which means I will be a whopping 48 years old!! And sporting a full head of gray hair I'm sure. But I can nonetheless still look back in the last year and smile proudly at how closely I stayed true to my "year". I was incredibly adventuresome and daring especially where my art and poetry was concerned (which I promise the poetry part will be up soon!). I was cautious in matters of the heart and also somewhat guilty of being easily scared away, yet returned playful and ready to sport. I was fierce in battle and attacked when I saw danger or was challenged, yet remained even keeled and able to unwind, lying about basking in the warm sun whenever possible. And where times where challenging or hard, I was brave and strong and followed through with courage right to the very end...
But with that, I bid my fair Tiger a loving zai jian and with open arms welcome our wrascally cotton-tail the Rabbit! May good fortune and prosperity come to us all as swift and fast as our furry friend. May his ingenuity and guile steer us through lucky endeavors and trying times. And may we all hop in health and happiness all year long. This I wish for all. Gong Xi Fa Cai!!
恭 禧 發 財
January 11, 2011
I had a very poetic thought about my life this evening. I was walking the quarter-mile walk back from the grocery store to my apartment while up against the pressing snow and cold wind and carrying three bottles of Pellegrino, a quart of chicken stock, bag of apples, a head of cabbage, and a few other odds and ends and with no gloves on to boot, when after finally reaching the top of the three flights stairs and a nice gentleman holding the door open for me... I stopped midway up the hallway and whispered quietly to myself, what in the world made me think that I could carry all this?
Something to contemplate I think.