Wednesday, December 26, 2007

a blog about blogging

"It's a funny thing, the blogosphere, making my world a lot bigger and simultaneously a lot smaller." - Charlene P. Lobo Soriano

I started blogging when I was fourteen. In blogging, I found a way to write life into myself. It took a lot of typing and writing to believe that what I did was worthy enough to have someone else read. I've always wanted to record and document my life just in case I was gunna "be somebody" one day. And now I'm glad I did because I find value value in knowing what my everyday used to look like. Sometimes writing is still a process where I have to convince myself that what I have to say is right and worth reading... and I'm trying to quit that.

Counseling first-year college students and learning how to communicate effectively by simply actively listening has taught me that everything comes from somewhere. Mannerisms, political persuasion, social behavior, triggers, daily interests - it all comes from somewhere or has been socialized into everyone's psyche somehow. From this, I've deduced that everyone has a story to tell and I've been more than willing to figure out where everyone's "shit" comes from. So blogging has become one way of trying to figure out where mine comes from. 

Yet, maybe blogging is a coming-of-age, rite-of-passage, privileged-position-marking type of hobby. Or maybe we're all just trying to convince ourselves, trying to figure out whether this shit is worth reading. 

A lot of people have figured out what blogging can do for them. Among those lucky individuals, is my cousin Char. She's been blogging for about five years now and she's recently edited a new book titled beatsrhymesnlife: anthology (not to be confused with the Beats, Rhymes and Rice tour). Her book is based off of the beatsrhymesnlife blog which features those who contributed to the book. If you're looking for a good, REAL read then by all means please find your way to and purchase your copy. Some of the photography is straight up like a still out of a movie. It's an easy read and everyone can find their everyday out of this art. It's also hella Filipino; a lot of the photos are taken around the SF Bay Area or by well-traveled Filipina/os who live there.

"beatsrhymesnlife:anthology is the culmination of writing, photography and art from beatsrhymesnlife writing staff and others. culled from blogs, journals, flickr accounts and other forms, the contents are personal, sometimes emotional and always original"

I tip my hat and toast my invisible glass of champagne (or red wine, Char's fave) to my cousin for taking blogging to a new level. Cheers to making relatable blogs materialize. 

Friday, December 21, 2007

remaking history

Being a student worker actually isn't all that bad.  I swear I'm going to join the IHateFilingClub which is advertised on every single Pendaflex box ever made (well.. at least since the internet became popularized). I've left work with several papercuts after one sitting and I've never relied so much on coffee that someone else made or to keep me awake. But that's besides the point...

I understand the importance and problem with inciting a critical gaze. I know that people only like to look at pretty things, or shiny things or colorful things. I dig that, I do it too. So I thought I'd share with you one of the hapless benefits of having to post pictures as representation. I was asked to choose images for the cover of a department manual. Imagine my shock when my boss was so flexible, careless even, about giving me such a heavy task.

Here is last year's cover (I didn't make it):

Uhm... wtf. So... I'm gunna say that the pictures above are from the Civil War or they're just other images corresponding to European/Western events in white peoples' history. There's a fucking picture of U.S. currency with a fuckin American flag on it. If this is history as of 2007-2008, then I'm going to change it.

So I was like EFF THAT! Here's my cover!

(left to right, top to bottom)

#1: a political cartoon found in one of my favorite books, The Forbidden Book, "Kill Everyone Over 10"
#2: 1989: a lone protester in  China's Tiananmen Square stopping the People's Liberation Army
#3: a march for the Women's Suffrage Movement
#4: an "upside-down" map of the world 
#5: 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington
#6: the real/forgotten founding fathers - Chief Joseph, Sitting Bull, Geronimo, Red Cloud

There are problems with the events I've chosen, too. I know. I just wanted to re-focus and perhaps get at beginning to remove the colorblind lens that people use when they think about history.

Yes, world, I am going to change history.


Asian Hip Hop Summit


Monday, December 17, 2007

hooked on the hook up

Looking to immerse yourself in a new guilty pleasure? Yearning to dive into a world away from reality television? Sick of Sex and the City? Down to explore other definitions of masculinity, femininity and sexuality while having your own normative notions of each challenged? Ready to fall in love with 4-5 men?

If you've answered 'no' to any of the above, then maybe you should just stop reading this now.

I have fallen in love with Noah's Arc. These characters are so damn likable and personable that I forget that I've seldom been exposed to, but have always been inquisitive about LGBT characters and the way they would be written and portrayed on television. The intriguing lives and loves of Noah, Alex, Ricky and Chance have cured this curiosity. The Logo network is composed of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender shows and original movies. One network unlike the usual spotlight shed on sports, bad game shows, unnecessary reruns, or extensions of primarily male-oriented interests is MUCH NEEDED.

If you're interested, here's a site with ALL OF THE EPISODES. There are only 2 seasons; season 1 has 9 episodes and season 2 has 8 episodes. Get yourself hooked if you find that you have a couple of hours to spare. There's a Noah's Arc movie coming out next summer! =)


EDIT: The link for Noah's Arc above doesn't work right now. Go here and watch some clips. The Logo Network only hosts episodes 1-4 of season 1.

Friday, December 14, 2007

backyard boogie hometown happening(s). I can't wait! Copped the flyer from Dandiggity

If you're gunna be in the Bay, what the hell else are you gunna do on a Wednesday night? Clubs are crackin every night after 'til Sunday. Or, there's always Christmas in the Park in Downtown San Jose, but you might wanna stay out of that piercing cold Bay Area weather.



Tuesday, December 11, 2007

spice it up!

These are the Spice Girls as I remember them. I'm not gunna lie, there was a period of time where I would religiously collect Spice Girls posters, sift through BOP & Tiger Beat magazines for pin-ups, shop at Limited Too for Spice Girls lollipops, dress like Sporty Spice (because she was my fave) and browse the Internet and CD jackets for lyrics. Seems like it was easy to invest in British whiteness as a Pinay, but that shit was hellllaaa hard to do at an age when I was a young, easily-influenced 5th grader. I also didn't have access to the Internet from home and I made sure I tagged along with my mom to Wal-Mart every week. I had two scrapbooks filled with photos  that I would preserve by placing them inside plastic protective pages and searched for articles that I would read and cut out. Damn, I even brought that shit to family parties in Frisco so that they could validate my keen sense of pop music. 

My first concert ever was a Spice Girls concert that I went to with my mom. Reader, you have to understand that it took me years to admit this. Throughout all of middle school, I would say that I had never been to a concert. Perhaps I was just waiting for the perfect opportunity or the right conversation about "most embarassing concerts" to come up sometime. But really, it was the Spice Girls' absence coupled with the fear of being labelled as "uncool" in early adolescence that led me to become a chronic liar and charlattan to R&B/Hip Hop when it came to concert-going. But anyway, yes, I went with my mom. Back in the day when tickets were only $40 each. Even then, I knew it wasn't "cool" to go with my mom but I went because my friends were going with their moms. We bought our tickets the day after my friends and I danced to the Spice Girls' "Spice Up Your Life" in our elementary school's talent show. (It took us several months to figure out our own choreography. We even had our friend pretend to be our manager, just like the movie. AND these 4th graders asked us if we were the real Spice Girls.) Then the day after we purchased our tickets, Geri Halliwell left the damn group! I felt like we should have gotten a discount on our tickets since she was the "leader" of the group. How the hell were they gunna preach "forever friendships" when they couldn't even get their shit together? This is probably why I never understood why girlfriends seemed so willing to ditch their girlfriends for boyfriends. Soon after Geri left and after the Spice Girls' trial run at being a 4-person group, I, like every other dedicated fan, grew up and let go. But I waited.

And these are the Spice Girls after they announced their World Reunion Tour. 10 years later, my 10-year-old self inside was elated at the fact that they were back together. Now, after a considerable amount of studying race and gender representation, I can't help but deny academia here. This is one subject I have a hard time critiquing as a blogger. 

I saw their show on their first night in Las Vegas and I must say that it was AMAZING. I did, however, reflect on how they should have just stayed together and taken over the world. I did realize that although the little girl inside of me was happy, I wished for them some more personal growth as artists outside of their commercialized images. 

So I hope this isn't just an isolated stint of Girl Power that will die after the tour's over and resurface when they need to make some money. Mainstream and the independent artist scene need more female representation. I'm looking forward to it but this world can't wait for another 10 years to go by before we realize that we had a good thing. I understand that some females pay the prices emotionally when they are thrown into mainstream, but I'm not asking for that. I'm asking for females to feel comfortable and to be heard but not at the expense of censoring or limiting ourselves. I'm not asking for women to be given a voice because would imply that we don't have one. That's not it. So I'm waiting.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

is this right?

"There were centuries when writing was a crime punishable by death. There were times when intelligence was a serious crime....In our exuberance, remember how we became privileged to think and to speak and write." - Carlos Bulosan

I'm working on a paper. Knowing that most of what I think or say is, surprisingly, seen as heretical or radical or just crazy, I usually like to test what "is" and "what's right." But in reality, I often have ineffable experiences. 

So, I'm writing about Barack Obama and how race and gender play out in presidential campaigns and media. Leaving out the crux of what I'm writing typing in my essay, I look up the Civil Rights Act to make my claims stronger and provide evidence blah blah blah, you know, the whole college-research-essay-writing deal, minus procrastinating and deciding to do it all the night before:

I clicked on ALL 3 links. (And No, I didn't Google it.)

And I found this! Decided it was blogworthy, and typed this:

So for this, Amerika, I, too, am Billing You For My Rights:

Rafael Casal - Billing Them For My Rights



Sunday, December 02, 2007

dear reader, p.s.

a funny post secret:

uhm... 2 girls & 1 cup = hella nasty. but i LOVE watching peoples' reactions.

that is all.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

decaffeinated stimulation

Coffee shop franchises like Starbucks, Pete's Coffee, Coffee Bean, and Coffee Lovers got NOTHING on the Vietnamese coffee shops in San Jose, CA. Granted I'm not in San Jose at the moment, this is some serious stuff and this is in my own backyard.

Some argue that it may be easier to be more concerned with issues and social problems that are farther away from our cities and ourselves. Easier to be concerned with natural disasters displacing communities of color because it's 3 states away, easier to be concerned with the psychology of an Asian American gunman in Virginia because he deviates away from the normal psychology of an "average" college student, easier to be concerned with the juxtaposition of images running for President of the U.S. as opposed to actually noticing that Obama & Hilary (I did that on purpose) have been taking stances on mainstream issues, easier to care about and conquer Iraq, easier to ignore domestic racism, easy to watch shit like Tila Tequila without critical eyes and even easier to not give a fuck.

Tully Road in San Jose towards Eastridge Mall is filled with a couple of plazas composed of small businesses, mom and pop shops, Asian supermarket centers and music stores where you can purchase the latest in K-pop, J-pop or the leftover soft rock CDs from major retail stores - whatever your craving, all are serving the Asian/Asian American population.

Metro visited three Vietnamese coffee shops on Tully Road. All were identical: Loud thumping music; big screen televisions; petite Vietnamese waitresses with ample breasts; young Asian men smoking cigarettes in violation of the state's anti-smoking law (2004).
This Metro article mainly focuses on a coffee bar on Santa Clara Street, the next cross street over from my high school (located on 24th & Santa Clara Street). After looking on, turns out that there are several coffee bars in my hometown. These days, Vietnamese coffee bars often have Asian women clad in lingerie, waitressing and serving a primarily male clientele. It's 2007, almost 2008, and these businesses are still running.

I hope, that after having posted several blogs concerning the body politics of Asian women and calling for more respect from the media's tainted lenses and denouncing the ways in which we are seen and see each other from a patriarchal perspective, that I won't have to explain why it's wrong to have women degraded and commodified for commercial purposes. I don't want to tout my opinions as more analysis on why it's nonsensical, violent and disgusting, probably unsafe for these women, to serve coffee in unsuspecting places wearing lingerie and get paid for it.

Remember Chinese women in the early twentieth century who had to sell their bodies on San Francisco streets to survive? Ever heard of Silicon Valley immigrant women who labor over electronic assembly lines? Or taxi dancers in 1920s/30s in Stockton? Or picture brides?

These were not just women trying to put money in the bank. These were not women who are inherently or innately inclined to sexual behavior. These women were not naturally predisposed to desperate actions in tough times.

This is because we are worth more.



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