Thursday, July 31, 2014

There and Back Again: A Homo's Tale

(If you don't understand The Hobbit reference in the title of this entry, just know I am very disappointed with you. Also, yes, it occurred to me this entry should probably have a Pocahontas pun for the title [You'll see what I mean in a minute], but this one was too good to pass up.)

I'm getting on a plane this Saturday and going back to Arkansas. I've talked about this in podcast episodes, I guess, but I don't remember if I've blogged about why I'm leaving San Francisco and my job here.

I moved here to be an associate producer at a digital network. I also moved here under the condition that the job would be contracted for three months to see how I fit in. Well, they really liked me, I fit in, and it was assumed I'd be staying. I was the one who decided to end this journey. And it was possibly one of the most difficult decisions I've made in a long time.

You guys know I love comparing myself to cartoon characters or characters from kids' movies, so I've been looking at this situation as though I'm Pocahontas. (Please imagine me in the dress and with her gorgeous, flowing hair, possibly crouching under that waterfall. You know, the one where she first meets John Smith.) And it's like I'm standing in a canoe looking at my reflection in the water and picturing my future with Kocoum (in San Francisco), and singing something about taking the smoothest course or maybe taking the other path and holding out for something else that turns out to be John Smith (who is from Arkansas in this metaphor, I guess). Except, honestly, in this case both paths have good and sucky aspects, but neither is particularly smooth, and both have piranhas leaping out of the water and there are some sharks swimming around (river sharks, of course) and even a few corpses just floating around near the shore, too. So right now I'm really just picking the path where I don't end up living with twenty people and having zero dollars in my savings account. Anyway, this whole paragraph has been a really flimsy metaphor, so I've typed out my reasons below for taking the path back to Arkansas (and it's not just because John Smith is more attractive than Kocoum, because I'm not totally sure he is. Kocoum was pretty hot, too). Also, this isn't being written because I feel the need to explain it to anyone. Writing it down is more so a type of therapy for myself.

First, this city is simply too damn expensive. Just google "San Francisco rental market" to see what a mess it currently is here. With student loans and other bills, I'd never be able to even afford a cramped studio, even in the East Bay or far outside the city (and even if I could, the travel time to work wouldn't make it worth it). I've done the whole living-in-a-house-with-five-people thing before, and I've outgrown it. I want to make music and videos and spread out and be comfortable in my own space. I don't want to struggle month-to-month and not be putting any money towards savings.

Second, I want to be closer to my family and BFF. My parents are getting older and, while they very much want me to go where I want and do my own thing, I've discovered that my place right now is closer to home, nearer to them and my sister and BFF. Also, life is just a lot more fun when you're closer to your BFF. Me and my BFF spent way too many years living in different states. I'm still not sure I want to stay in Arkansas forever, but I don't want to be quite as far away as I am now. I'm an East Coast kinda gal, and I'd really like to live in Philly again someday.

Third, a couple different job opportunities popped up back home and, though neither of them is a sure thing, I want to pursue them. While I feel like I'm a damn good associate producer here, I think I've learned it may not be the thing for me. Of course, I've had more than enough jobs to realize almost every single one has sucky aspects, and I'm not afraid of hard work or of doing something I don't 100% enjoy. That's just life. So this wasn't really a big factor in my decision. There's definitely more good than bad in the job. Most of the good stems from the people and the environment being so great. I just wish it were closer to home and this city weren't so damn expensive.

I am glad I came, though. This has been one of the best summers I've had in a while, and I've been ready for another adventure for a long time. A lot of good came from this. But I don't think I'm ready to share that part, yet.

I originally had another list at the bottom of this entry where I typed out things I'd miss about this city and things I wouldn't, but the post was getting too long so I'll save it for another.

So, yes, to summarize: I'm not marrying Kocoum. Or choosing John Smith, either. But, until I figure things out, I plan on doing a lot more jumping off waterfalls and singing with raccoons and hanging out with old, sassy trees. And, of course, I'll still be looking just around the riverbend (and probably end up canoeing my way off a goddamn cliff eventually).

-joe

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Photo dump

I stayed up late last night transferring tons of photos off my camera from when my BFF was visiting, and also I went to the SF Japanese Tea Garden this weekend. Here are links to the corresponding galleries on my Flickr.

Places I went with my BFF when she was visiting:
Since we had the car rented, we also drove to Gilroy so we could go to a Sonic and Wal-Mart because I hadn't been to either since I left Arkansas. And Wal-Mart is literally Mecca to an Arkansan.

And this weekend:
Also uploaded some photos from the past that I never put up:
Here's a sampling of some of the things you'll find:

-joe

Friday, July 25, 2014

What the psychic told me

I went to a psychic tonight. It's only the second time I've ever been to one. The first time was when I lived in Philadelphia. I drove a little bit out of the city to her place for a tarot card reading. She had a lot of good reviews online and I was going through some things so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Well, that one turned out to be a pretty emotional experience. I should also frame this entry by saying I've always been an extremely practical person and still don't really believe in psychic-type stuff, regardless of what happened in that reading. But that first psychic repeated some things to me that I've never told anyone. And she freakin' named names. Regardless, I'm still not completely sold on the psychic thing, but I do think there's some value in the comfort it can bring. And it's just fun and interesting, almost in a taboo sort of way.

Since Arkansas is severely lacking in psychics, I decided I wanted to go to one before leaving San Francisco. So I called up the one near my house on my lunch break today to see if I could get a tarot reading later. The lady immediately asked if I was from Arizona. I told her no, I'm from Arkansas. I know, it sounds like a rocky start. But people often think "AR" stands for Arizona instead of Arkansas, so I just figured maybe her geographical knowledge wasn't quite up to par with her intuitions. Close enough. I also made sure to not give her my last name over the phone because I didn't want her googling me for info. There is way too much material about me online (years and years worth) that could be used in a reading.

Anyway, I walked into her shop around 7:30, was greeted, and sat down at a small table just inside the door for my reading. She dealt the cards, and here are some of the things I was told (while it's all still fresh on my mind):

• I'm going to live a long and healthy life. Kinda generic, and I'm not quite sure I believe this one, with all the health problems I've had in the past. I'm also pretty bad about texting while walking and have almost been hit by buses a few times, so I've always kinda figured I'd die in my mid-fifties at the latest. But it was comforting to hear.

• She asked me some questions about an ex and then told me I was going to find someone I'd be extremely compatible with the second week of October. She made it sound like he'd be "the one." She also said I'd meet him through a friend, and that maybe we'd be friends first, too. Which seems maybe a little unlikely because, well, I don't really have any friends. A guy did ask me out on a date for August, though. Maybe if I can put that off for a couple months, he'll end up being "the one." I'm hoping that's how this works.

• She said I'd be taking vacations in both August and November, which is eerily true. I'm flying back to Arkansas in August. It's not really a vacation so much as I'm moving back home, but I think it counts. And in November I've got a ticket for the Perfume concert in NYC. She said the trip in November would be very fulfilling spiritually, and I can totes see a Perfume concert doing that for me.

• She said I'm making the right decision in leaving my job, and that I'd be offered something better in about six weeks. This new thing might include the opportunity to own part of a business, and she said she wasn't worried about me financially. Which obviously made me happy because now I don't have to stress about my eBay addiction.

• Someone in my family is having or will be having back problems. It will be recommended they get surgery, but they won't need it. Just a little physical therapy. I guess we'll have to wait and see about this one.

• Someone I've known for a year or more will try to come back into my life. This person thinks I've wronged him in some way (even though I haven't) and he'll try to get back at me. So I need to watch out for this. I can only imagine I've pissed off quite a few people online with all my videos and stuff, so I'm now just assuming you're all out to get me.

• Three of my chakras are not properly aligned. I don't remember two of them, but one was my "root." I don't know anything about chakras, but that doesn't sound good. Maybe my lack of "root" has something to do with my tripping all the time. Or maybe that's simply because I insist on wearing lifts inside my shoes to make my legs look long and fabulous.

• My childhood wasn't always great, and I struggled through some things, but they made me a stronger person who now doesn't take nonsense from others. Again, kinda generic. I think you could say this to any gay kid who grew up in the South and you'd be hitting the nail on the head.

• I should try to do some meditating, or take some time for myself, and maybe go on some walks. Sort of a general recommendation as meditation would probably be good for anyone. But she was correct in saying I probably need to do this more.

• And, finally, she said I'm a very lucky person. And that I try to be honest and I have a good heart. *flips hair* *smiles*

There were other things, but I don't remember the details as well as all those. Overall, I'd say it was an interesting experience. Comforting, definitely, and fun, but I'm still not quite a believer. This psychic seemed to tell me way more specifics about my future than the first one, whereas the first one seemed to tell me more about myself and the people around me (although there was some future stuff sprinkled in as well).

To summarize, if you want me to fall in love with you, just plan on bumping into me around the second week of October. And if you're someone from my past and you think I've wronged you, I totally haven't, and I've got my eyes on you.

-joe

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A nomadic man on the bus told me about the zombie apocalypse

It's been a week or so since I've posted, but I have a good excuse. My BFF was visiting from Arkansas for a few days and we were having lots of adventures. I still need to weed through the photos I took, so that will come later. This entry is about another conversation with a stranger I had last night. (You can also go ahead and hear about my adventures with my BFF in this week's podcast episode.)

Last night, I went to a screening of The Garden of Words at the Japanese Film Festival. They're showing it a couple different times this week, but the only time I could go was last night at 9:15. Because of work, I never go out after dark, so I was kind of excited.

Firstly, the movie was great. It was quiet and strange and sad and the animation was unlike anything I've seen before. There's a trailer online, but it kinda sucks balls and doesn't do the movie justice at all. Just see the movie. The end.

The movie is also fairly short and was over by 10-ish, so I decided to walk around Japantown a bit since I've never been at night and the weather was nice (which it always is here, and which can get a little boring but I was thankful for it tonight).


One thing I've missed about living in a city so far away from home is being somewhere and knowing that nobody else in the world really knows where I am. I don't know if that makes sense. But, like, in Arkansas my family usually knows where I am, or they at least know I'm somewhere familiar to them and within reach. But my family has never been here. They don't know even know what it looks like. I'm 2,000 miles away from anyone who really knows me well enough to care about me, and that feeling of being lost in the world is somehow exhilarating.

After a while, I got on the 38 bus back to my place. A couple stops into the ride a homeless guy got on, although I don't know if he was homeless or just a nomadic-hippie-type person (so I'm going to call him "nomadic guy"). He looked to be about my age, maybe a few years older, and was carrying a couple large bags, a guitar, and a foam sleeping mat. Someone had just gotten up from their seat, and I offered it to him.

"Thanks, man," he said, putting his big foam mat in the seat and sitting down on top of it. The man in the seat in front looked uncomfortable that the nomadic guy was sitting behind him. "Don't worry," the nomadic guy said, "I won't hurt you. Probably." And then he laughed.

The driver's voice came over the speaker and he said something about transfers to the 44 bus. The nomadic guy mumbled something about the zombie apocalypse. I realized he was talking to me, but I hadn't heard, so I asked him to repeat it.

"The 44. That's the place to be if there's ever a zombie apocalypse," he said.

"Why's that?" I normally wouldn't engage someone in conversation on the bus, but I was curious. Plus, you can never be too prepared for the zombie apocalypse.

"I dunno. I've never been on it so I assume nobody else has, either." It sort of made sense, I guess. He then started telling me all about where the 44 bus goes. The man in front of him eventually got up to get off the bus and I asked the nomadic guy if he wanted to sit down in that seat because he looked kinda cramped sitting on top of his foam mattress.

"I'm good," he said. "Don't you wanna sit?"

"Nah, I like standing. I sit down all day."

"Admin job?"

I don't have an admin job, but I said "Mm-hmm" anyway. It was easier.

At this point, a dude-bro-type guy joined in the conversation and I sort of drifted out of it. The dude-bro seemed to get along better with the nomadic guy than I did. I'm just not very good at keeping up conversations, and I think the dude-bro was drunk and looking to chat. After a while, he and the nomadic guy were swapping jokes.

"What did the hippie say when someone asked him to get off their couch?" the dude-bro asked. "Namaste." They laughed. In-between jokes the nomadic guy would strum a little on his guitar.

The nomadic guy eventually told a particularly funny joke, but I don't remember it. I just remember I laughed and he hit me on the arm good-humoredly and said, "Ah, I got you with that one."

Eventually, the dude-bro offered to buy the nomadic guy a beer and they got off the bus together. And I went back to my place and it was quiet, aside from some muffled guitar playing slipping through the wall between me and my housemate. I think I'll be sad to leave this place in a couple weeks. Not so much this house, but just being somewhere where nobody knows where I am and where there's the potential for interesting late-night conversations with strangers about the zombie apocalypse.

-joe

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Lost in Translation, except in the USA

I know, I know. We're all sick of my Japantown tweets and haul blogs. But this post isn't about shopping.

Today was the Japan Day Festival in San Francisco. I wish I could've stayed at it all day, but I was able to wander around for about three or four hours, which turned out to be plenty of time to have several adventures. Here are some things I saw and did. (Lots of photos coming.)

First, I watched the taiko drum performances in the Peace Plaza. The beats and the synchronization were really mesmerizing.
I walked to the other side of the plaza to try and get some shots from another angle, and a man who was working at the festival came up to me, handed me a pamphlet, and started speaking to me. His English wasn't very good, but I was nodding and I guess I agreed to go to a Japanese calligraphy demonstration. So he lead me into a small room in the East Mall where a woman sat me down at a table, explained some kanji to me, taught me how to hold the brush, and then I did calligraphy for the next hour. I totally felt like Scarlett Johansson's character in Lost in Translation when she stumbled into an ikebana class and people just started handing her flowers and scissors and things. Except with calligraphy. And, lbr, I wish I looked like Scarlett Johansson.


The main demonstrator kept cracking jokes like, "This stroke is like stabbing someone through the heart." And then he'd walk around and tell us to make our strokes "with feeling."

Practicing "patience" and "thank you." I might need more practice
stabbing people through the heart.
After that, I went back out onto the plaza and watched some dancing. One performance was Japanese classical dancing by Fujima Ryu of Chicago, and the other was traditional dancing by Sakura Ren.

I was a tiny bit concerned one of the men was going
to have a "wardrobe malfunction."

At the end, they danced through the crowed and right beside me. It was a lot of fun.

Then, I took a quick frozen yoghurt break in the West Mall.

Really crowded today
Stopped by the bookstore to gaze upon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's new album in the flesh (or in the plastic, rather). (Special appearance by 2NE1.)

All three versions! And all three ridiculously priced.
Note Ayumi Hamasaki gazing up longingly from the shelf below.

And then headed back to the East Mall for the ikebana (flower arranging) demonstration. I don't remember her name, but the head sensei (as she was referred to) arranged flowers onstage while an assistant helped her. And off to the side, another woman narrated everything they were doing.


The narrator was a small, elderly woman and she was probably my favorite part. She'd tell the crowd some informative facts about the arrangement and how it takes many years to master different styles of ikebana, but then she'd humorously question the sensei's arrangement with something like, "Are you sure you want to put that there, sensei?" and the crowd would laugh. She was very much like a sports commentator on TV. Except for flower arranging. Awesome.


I had some more work to do this afternoon, so that's all I got to see. I did take videos of nearly everything, which I might put up sometime as a private video on my YouTube and post here. A few lovely people from YouTube also stopped by and said hey to me. I'm used to always doing things alone or not talking to anyone here, so those conversations were really nice. If any of them see this, thank you for the great chats.

I've also got a story about some haunted tofu, but I'll save that for later.

-joe

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Since I last blogged

(The title of this entry is meant to be sung loudly and out loud to the tune of Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone.")

One of my besties, Greg, was in town and I got to spend an evening with him in Japantown. We went to Pika Pika, a purikura place (Japanese photo booths) and took some glamour shots.
Click to see in better quality. Hopefully I can scan these when
I get back to Arkansas.

Inside the decorating booth after taking our photos and at the Peace Plaza:


Greg went into the arcade with me. I've never been inside because I'd feel awkward going in alone. And we came across this glorious Domo machine:
Like that machine in Toy Story except better.

After work one day, I decided at the last minute to get on a bus I never take and ended up meeting a girl on it that said she'd been a fan of 5awesomegays. (Cue nostalgia.) We talked during the whole bus ride and it turns out she works in the same part of town as me. Hopefully we can hang out sometime.

A homeless man said I was a "very beautiful lady." (No photo taken of homeless man, sorry. That probably would've been inappropriate.)

And I got a new phone case that I'm excited about because it has a key ring for my charms collection, which I haven't been able to have on my phone lately because they normally dangle from the audio jack and I use my headphones all the time here. So now I can have the best of both worlds. Hopefully that explanation made sense:

Tomorrow, I'm going to the Japan Day festival. And in a few days my BFF, Elizabeth, is flying in from Arkansas to spend some time with me and we're taking a trip down to Monterey Bay.

So now we're all caught up. ヽ(o・_・)ノ

-joe

Monday, July 7, 2014

Extreme Language Barriers: San Francisco Edition

This past weekend, I found myself in the middle of several situations in which language and/or culture made conversing either awkward or impossible. I'm not a stranger to these situations, having lived or worked in other big cities, and I've usually been able to sort through them without turning into an awkward mess. That wasn't the case this weekend, so here they are:

1. I was casually chatting with my Indian housemate in the kitchen a couple nights ago. He was telling me some things about India and then told me he doesn't like the milk here, in the USA. He said it's too liquid-y here, and that he's used to boiling it back home. I said, "Oh, cool!" thinking it was something he did to enhance the flavor, like how some people heat up a glass of warm milk before bed. This wasn't the case. He told me it was not, in fact, "cool," and that it's done to kill the bacteria in the milk because it isn't always pasteurized. And so it was awkward and I felt like an idiot American.

2. As I was leaving the house to walk to the grocery store, our neighbor, a small, elderly Chinese woman, rushed up to me and started speaking to me in very fast Chinese. I took a semester of Chinese in college and maybe remember two words. "Hello" and "cat." She was saying neither of these things. And for all I know she was speaking a totally different dialect anyway.

She was also holding a key and kept gesturing for me to take it while also gesturing at her door. I assumed she was having trouble opening it, so I let her place the key in my hand and I tried to unlock her door. All the while, she was still rapidly speaking Chinese and then I realized I wasn't entirely sure she was my neighbor because I've only seen the neighbors from a distance and then I started thinking, "Is this even her house? Am I helping this woman break into this house? How did I get here?"

After a while, it was obvious the key wasn't going to work. I shook my head and said sorry even though I knew she couldn't understand. She continued speaking Chinese and started gesturing at her ear. I thought maybe she wanted to use my phone. I was afraid she'd run up a bill calling someone in China, but I wanted to escape the awkward situation so badly that I offered it to her anyway. It was apparently not what she wanted because she refused it. And so I was at a loss because I have no idea what else people hold up to their ears or what that might have to do with a key or a door, so I looked apologetic and mumbled an, "I'm sorry, I don't understand." And she smiled warmly as if to say, "That's okay. Thanks anyway" (even though she was actually still speaking very fast Chinese) and she waved me on. I still have no idea what happened.

3. Yesterday afternoon, I was lying in bed when my bedroom door was suddenly and very forcibly yanked open. I had the chain lock on, so it caught, but through the crack I could see (a different) small, elderly Chinese woman staring at me. I should mention that none of my housemates are small, elderly Chinese women. I should also mention I spent a good part of the weekend watching East Asian horror films, so my first thought was that one of them was actually real and this was the end for me.

I think it says a lot about how quickly I'd accept my fate in an actual horror movie by how quickly I got up to unchain the door. However, upon seeing the woman was holding several cleaning supplies and noticing the kitchen was looking especially tidy, I deduced she must be someone hired by the landlord to periodically clean this house (which makes sense, because the landlord is also Chinese). Also, she had apparently just mopped the floor and I wasn't wearing socks or shoes and so I was now wading in a puddle of what smelled like Lemon Pledge while she (like the other woman) immediately starting speaking in very rapid Chinese and gesturing around the kitchen. And (also like the other woman) she clearly wasn't saying either "hello" or "cat."

I couldn't really do anything except stand there looking sorry and saying sorry, but then one of my other housemates came out of his room and starting speaking to her (in Chinese, which I didn't know he spoke, but which was very convenient). So, since I was clearly useless, I just sort of shuffled my way back through the Lemon Pledge and into my bedroom.

And thus it was a very awkward weekend. All this on top of my landlord also coming into my room because I guess he mixed up his calendar and thought I was supposed to be gone by now (when I have this place rented until August).

I did, however, manage to squeeze in some retail therapy in-between the awkward moments and I purchased a sweater with Einstein's head on it (and also his eyes are replaced by huge diamonds, obviously), a polka dot cap, and some other things I'm sure I'll take selfies wearing later.
Because I'm obsessed with dressing room selfies.
Left: Trying to look creepy in the H&M dressing room (and also the polka dot cap).
Right: The most amazing sweater ever created.
-joe

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Review: Obviously Underwear from MensUnderwearStore.com

This entry contains a non-paid review of a product. This means I wasn't paid for reviewing it, but I was sent the product for free after agreeing to write an honest review. You can read more about these types of things on my Disclaimer page.

A couple weeks ago, I was asked if I'd review some underwear from Obviously's Urban Collection at MensUnderwearStore.com. And I said, "OBVIOUSLY!" Not really, though. The first thing I did was laugh, and then I made sure I didn't have to post photos of me actually wearing the underwear, and then I said sure. (Nobody needs to see that.)

I initially agreed because I've never owned a pair of fancy underwear in my life. All my undies come in packs of three or six that cost about ten bucks. This is mainly because I'm freakishly thin and still have to buy underwear from the kids section, and fancy/sexy underwear for kids doesn't exist, because that would obviously be super-fucking-creepy. But this underwear is for adults. And so it can be fancy/sexy and I wanted it.

I guess fancy people keep their underwear
in resealable pouches.
Since I'm still moving between temporary locations, I had the underwear sent to my work. I'm glad nobody opened the package because it would've been awkward and it's still early enough in my job for me to get a nickname like "That Guy Who Has Underwear Shipped To Work."

The fancy underwear arrived quite quickly in an equally fancy resealable black bag. (I didn't question it. I just assumed fancy people store their underwear differently.) Obviously's Urban Collection underwear also comes in different fits (briefs, trunks, and longer boxer briefs) and three different pouch sizes (based on how you like your underwear to cup your bits), but I requested just the classic trunks. This being my first venture into the realm of fancy underwear, I didn't want to go super crazy. Baby steps.

The first thing I noticed was how soft these undies are. The package says they're 90% bamboo rayon and 10% Lycra. I took a textiles class in fashion school and I've never even heard of bamboo rayon. I can only assume it's made using voodoo or witchcraft of some sort because it kinda feels like a cloud wrapped around your junk. Very comfortable. The package says this blend is antibacterial, anti-fungal, and hypoallergenic. I don't know who the people are who let bacteria and fungus grow on their underwear in the first place but, hey, now you don't have to worry about that.

Now your pelvis can look just like a Porsche.
The undies look pretty cool, too. I appreciate that they say "OBVIOUSLY" in big letters across the waistband. I think this would come in handy if someone were like, "Hey! Your underwear is showing!" and you could just point to the waistband and be like, "OBVIOUSLY." They also have these nifty racing stripes down the sides that really make your pelvis feel like it's actually a Porsche. Very sexy. I do wish they came in pink, too, but I understand the main demographic probably wouldn't go for that.

The only downside for me is that they fit too loosely, compared to how I usually like my underwear to fit. I got the smallest size, which is (surprise, surprise) a size "small" and is recommended for waist sizes 30-32". At 95-100 lbs., my waist is more like 24" and my ass is nonexistent (which I why I have to buy my underwear in the kids section). Surprisingly, though, the waistband still fit fine and didn't sag. I assume this is because they're meant to stretch to your size. (As a bonus for the people who they do fit properly, the package claims they don't shrink, fade or lose shape.) But the leg parts were definitely baggy on my thighs. However, I don't think others would have this problem. Like I said, I'm just too thin. And honestly, I'd still wear these because they're so soft and, let's be real, nobody is going to be seeing me in my underwear so it doesn't matter if the legs are baggy. I can just pretend they're supposed to be boxers instead of boxer briefs.

Sorry you don't get to see them on me. Just imagine Gollum wearing these and you'll get the picture. Or, to get that image out of your head, you can see the models on the Obviously page at MensUnderwearStore.com wearing them. And thanks to them for my first pair of fancy undies!

-joe

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Showdown in Japantown

I've only lived here just over a month and a half, but I could probably already write a book about all my experiences in Japantown. I try not to talk about them too much here, though, because it would mostly just be me squealing (in text form) over cute things and the haul posts would get old super fast. But today I had a different sort of experience in Japantown. Not quite negative, because it didn't phase me that much. But curious.

I've been eyeing a "One Line A Day" memory journal online for a while (here's a link if you don't know what that is. I suck at journaling and thought it might help me), and I finally found one today in the little stationary shop in Japantown. So obviously this was the perfect excuse to buy a fancy new pen to go with it. (Note that my idea of "fancy" is probably more along the lines of "gaudy" or "anything with glitter.")

Very fancy.
After visiting a few shops, I finally found the perfect pen. It was clear pink with little strawberries and diamonds printed all over it and it had things written on it like "cute!" and "happy!" and "very sweet strawberry." It was also one of those magical color-switching pens and wrote in black, red, orange, green, and blue. So yes. Very fancy. (And also cheap, which was good.)

Just as I was admiring it, a couple girls, who I presumed to be in junior high, came along and were also looking at the pens.

"Ohmygod," one of them said, "I have to show you this pen I bought that some guy tried to steal from me!" She picked up the amazing pink pen I'd been looking at and showed it to her friend.

"Ahhewwweee!" That was the sound her friend made in reply. It was sort of a mix of laughter and disgust that I can't really convert into written dialogue. "Why would he want to steal that? It's pink! What kind of guy is he?"

Upon hearing this, I could imagine pretty well what kind of guy he probably is. A really fucking awesome one who knows a really fucking awesome pen when he sees one. And a guy who I hope has kids so he can pass along his clearly fantastic non-gender-assigning color ideas to them. (And perhaps a guy who has kleptomaniac tendencies, but I'm overlooking that part.)

I was obviously projecting into the situation a bit. The girls reminded me of many of my peers when I was a kid. And in my head the guy was a young me. I obviously know nothing about any of these people outside of this brief dialogue, but it was enough to conjure up warlike flashbacks of school and of the things I always felt I was expected to like, as a boy. There were "boy" notebooks and "boy" clothes and "boy" toys. (Now the term "boy toy" means something a little bit different to me. Bow-chicka-wowow.)

And I'm not talking about this as a sexuality thing, because I don't know the sexuality of the boy they were talking about. I just know he's a boy who, based on context, wanted a pen because it was pink and I don't get why that's bad. It struck me as weird that people still apparently make big deals over things like this in 2014. Actually, it's weird people ever made big deals over stuff like this in the first place. I thought it was an old topic and that we'd all moved on to more important ones. I guess it isn't.

Luckily, I haven't experienced much pink-hate as an adult, but now I don't know if I just stopped caring or stopped noticing or if it actually stopped happening. My favorite colors are purple and black, but if something comes in pink, I generally get it in pink. I think pink radiates happiness. My phone case is pink. Several of my phone charms. My 3DS. My notebook at work. My computer wallpaper and water bottle and other trinkets. A coworker recently complimented the color scheme of my desk. (A straight male coworker. Not that it really matters. Just a lot of the pink-hate I got as a kid came from straight males, so obviously this guy's pretty awesome.)

Needless to say, I bought the pen anyway. As soon as the second girl said her bit, I snatched it up right in front of them and walked away. But I could feel their judgy eyes on my back. It didn't matter, though, because I had an awesome pen.

-joe

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I would've been an amazing crime scene investigator (with bonus boob puns)

I've only lived in this house a little over two weeks, and already at least six or seven housemates have come and gone. Another just left a little bit ago, and about ten minutes later another one showed up to take his place.

There are four bedrooms here, and this house is advertised as a short-term place to stay, so it's not really surprising, but it's a weird and stressful environment to live in as an introvert. I've only met three of the other house guests, mostly because I work all day and come home and like to be alone. And there's no living room, so everyone just stays in their bedrooms. One of the people I met is currently in the room next to me. Like me, he's another longer-term resident who's living here for the summer (while I'm staying here for about six weeks). The other two I briefly met once when I was in the kitchen, and they're both already gone. I've never seen the others.

I do see all their things, though, and it's made me realize how creepily observant I am of my surroundings. When I first moved in, I noticed the guy in the room next to me always takes his shoes off outside his bedroom door. That very first day, I counted the pairs of shoes. If there are six pairs, it means he's not home. If there are seven, he's here. If there are less than three, he's gone for a few days to see his girlfriend (or who I assume is his girlfriend. I've heard them together in his room and seen them leave together).

Bathroom products constantly change. When one guy arrived, some fancy and expensive face wash appeared in the shower, and he would always make sure the bottle was facing a very specific direction (not with the label outward, but slightly turned away from the shower head). The long-term guy uses two different kinds of Head & Shoulders shampoo on alternating days. (I can tell because each slightly shifts from its location from day-to-day.) One guest had a very particular way of hanging her towel. (It had a striped pattern on it that she would match up with the towel bar. I realized this after accidentally moving it once and coming back later to find she had straightened it back out.) Another guest left a pizza box on the bathroom floor overnight for some reason (with pizza still in it. Blasphemy if you ask me). I think anyone would've noticed that, but it was especially irritating because it stank up the bathroom and, really, what kind of monster wastes pizza like that when we have a refrigerator?

I also notice their routines. If anyone stays for more than a couple days, I can generally estimate when they'll arrive home (if they come home later than I do). One girl cooked eggs every evening. (My bedroom is by the kitchen and I could smell them.) Currently, there's a really loud guy in one of the other rooms who uses the stove late at night and is always shouting on his phone in Italian. He also seems to think doors need to be slammed. My bedroom is also close enough to the stairs that I can hear people climbing them. Based on how quickly they come up and how loud their footsteps are, I can tell if it's the longer-term guy or a newer guest.

It all sounds totally mega creepy that I do this, like I'm just listening and waiting for these things, but I'm totally not. It just happens naturally, which makes me think I'd have been an awesome crime scene investigator. (I'm thinking like Poirot in the Agatha Christie books except without such a fabulous mustache, but instead with circle lenses and a super cute Hello Kitty phone case.) I wouldn't, however, be a very good detective in general, because I usually forget every single thing a person tells me when they're actually talking to me (which is why I don't remember the name of the longer-term guy in the room next to me). I think conversation tends to blow through my brain so fast because my mind is busy observing other things about the person, like noticing where their hoodie is from, or weirdly counting the shoes outside their door. And I'm totally not judging them on any of it. Just constantly noticing, and I can't seem to turn it off.

Anyway, I was sick today and didn't go to work. I think stress and work just finally took their toll and my body decided it needed a break. But while lying in bed all morning in a feverish haze, I did notice something I hadn't observed before. The light on my ceiling totally looks like a giant, gold-rimmed boob.
Photo taken during aforementioned feverish haze that made me laugh about
the boob comparison way too much.
But after relaxing all day and some much-needed breast, I think I'll be back up and running again tomorrow. Perhaps a day off here or there is a good thing to keep you feeling your breast. I should go now though before these boob puns become even more unbralievably lame and this whole entry goes tits up.

A quick mention, though. I've done some remodeling around here on the blog. The look I'm going for is "cute and slimy," which I think I pulled off decently well. Also, I've switched to a different comment service. People have told me for years how awful Blogger's default commenting system is, but with this new one, you can comment using a variety of social sites, including your Twitter handle (which seems to be popular, although I also re-enabled guest/anonymous comments). I honestly don't know why it's taken me this long to make the switch. So check it out. I'm sure you'll find it simply breasttaking. Er, breathtaking. Sorry.

-joe