Monday, May 30, 2005

European Roadtrip II

Maussie's in Portugal at the moment "eating some of the finest chicken a man can feast upon!" He sent quite a few photos and is heading back to Barcelona in about a week.

Laid-back and enjoying an espresso.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

C'est tres cool

Kicking off this morning's housecleaning soundtrack is ... Regina Spektor.

Ah, errands: the second oldest soul crushing activity next to co-habitation.

***

I feel a lightening round of rants coming like another histrionic Britney Spears missive (a ninth-grade education evidently not only gets you millions of adoring fans, but voodoo powers capable of lowering all literacy expectations for a 22-year-old -- albeit, a pregnant one).

1. *SPOILER ALERT* Forcing myself to sit through Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reasoning was a dehumanizing experience. None of the characters in the movie were fleshed out. Renee Zellweger did her usual sour lemon face in every possible scene and Colin Firth was set aside to make room for Hugh Grant's Daniel Cleaver (who brieftly shows up maybe twice in the book: the beginning and the end). The film was a dirty excuse for a chick flick; it wasn't even mildly entertaining. Nor was it quirky enough (at all?) to merit qualification for its own genre. I was embarrassed -- I actually tipped over and hoped for a brain aneurysm -- for Mark Darcy. Why would anyone like him be so foolish as to stick around with an emotionally deranged, impulsively eratic, game-playing bimbo? It wasn't that cinematic Bridget was depicted as a twit and an airhead, it was her utter insecurity about absolutely everything! Where was the sharp wit that typified Helen Fielding's protagonist? It was like the producers threatened to dip the screenwriter in acid had he written something even vaguely inspired by the source. Rebecca wasn't this gorgeous, cutesy lesbian lawyer; she was a professional man-stealer in Gucci perfume! That's how Bridget's insecurity was initially fostered. How neurotic can one be if some chickenshit bitch tells you she saw your boyfriend enter his townhouse with a woman and you rush over there to straighten him out? It's unbelievable: My lovely Bridget was turned into some sort of squinty-eyed, possessive stalker! Was I really supposed to believe I, as a Singleton, was just like Bridget? An ungainly hag with a penchant for Ben & Jerry's (okay, I do like Ben & Jerry's, but I eat it with exuberance, not dread)? What's more, she doesn't even write in her fucking diary! Goddamnit, I know for a fact that number II was based on Jane Austen's follow-up classic Persuasion. That's why it was so romantic: it was about two, thinking people; not crass caricatures. Being patient is a virtue; suffering is not.

2. I used to be addicted to Las Vegas-style productions of beauty pageants. "Look at those costumes!" I'd drool. "Is that ... No, it couldn't be ... Are those Tahitian pearls set in chiffon roses?" Now, I plain can't stand them. The glossy veneers. The cemented smiles. The '80s dance moves (who's their choreographer? Paula Abdul?) It's all a show of excess vanity. I know I'm not bringing up anything new. It's just that, from the look of things, Donald Trump still thinks we're living in the Me Decade. The Miss Universe pageant needs a facelift (and I don't mean Miss Colombia) because it's living a perpetual time warp. The only person who'd still find boatneck collars sexy is Tammy Faye and she's too busy being a gay icon. And one-shouldered, Copacabana cocktail dresses? Did someone resurrect Sammy Davis Jr.? For shame, for shame, the show puts the "art" in "retarded." Now, I'm not suggesting these girls with degrees in managerial studies should start shuffling across the stage like an aging alcoholic. But give me something that'll jolt some shit from my sphincter! Give me someone to root for other than my home country for once. I want to know who the controversial puta was backstage. Screw "Most Photogenic". How about "Most Politically Active"? Or "Most Racist"? Or "Most Unlikely to Graduate from School Due to Huge Financial Burden Placed Upon Family by that Unsightly National Costume Made from the Skinned Remains of the Labour Camp Next Door"? Talk about ironic parallels: World peace is apparently achievable by competitive prancing on an international platform and judged by an elite few who select the candidate most willing to give up the reins when asked to do so (sure miscalculated that one, eh Chamberlain?). That would almost convince me to watch television again.

3. Don't you hate underwear? I do. That's why I don't wear them unnecessarily anymore (except on special occasions when public indecency laws are taken seriously).

Saturday, May 28, 2005

La Ribambelle du Luxe

Readerdroid anxiously called me last night as I was digging my spoon into the jumbo Nutella jar for the umpteenth time to reveal to me a revelation of sorts:

"You were right," she confessed, now calm. "What that faucet did in under three minutes, three men couldn't even come close to."

Let me parse that for you. By "faucet," she meant "bathtub faucet" and by "couldn't even come close to," she meant "get her off."

I guess I have to flush out the backstory. You see, I've been an advocate of self-loving since I was 13 as a way to prepare myself for those mythological high school escapades (originally thinking adolescence would introduce me to -- hold the gags -- a miasme of free-love and masculine charm). Turned out, even if the God Squad and Academic A-holes didn't run the place like Guatanamo Bay, there still wouldn't have been enough action to feed a class of hungry Czech whores. So the more I observed junior high traditions re-enacted by the pubescent, pimply set, the more I became a mating recluse, forever closing the door to handhold-a-thons in favour of pressing time spent alone (all the while praying my grandmother doesn't catch me in the act). [*Related story: I think she once found me in front of the Spice Channel and turned off the TV when she saw that I had fallen asleep mid-plot with the remote hovering dangerously over the edge of the bed. She never betrayed any signs of knowledge or disappointment afterwards -- it happened a few times -- and for all I know, I could've been watching the Food Network and getting hot off Emeril.]

Readerdroid's participation would make her one of my two public converts (along with a handful of privates). I believe there are three garden varieties of women in this department: Those who own up to what they do (besides consuming the Bridget Jones bible); those who engage in masturbation, but are still too shy to admit it; and those who've never seen a pussy without getting guilty flashbacks of Sister Wendy pointing at phalluses and foliage.

To resucitate the old, Steinem adage, "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle" would be terribly anachronastic at a time in history when the young are raised to believe in "partners." Yet, it would be wrong for me to say women have fully embraced their freedoms, which would include exploring erogenous zones traditionally deemed tasteless or unacceptable by a society ruled by matriarchs and their Oedipal sons. When men are still made squeamish by women who understand their own anatomy, you know there is still room for change.

Just don't make the mistake of telling girls who enjoy publicizing your habit to heighten their own appearance of sexual frankness because you will have men -- including unsavoury types -- begging to eat you out to validate their exaggerated abilities.

***

I've been listening to album after album today (real productive, I know): The Futureheads, The Bravery, LCD Soundsystem, Bloc Party, Scissor Sisters, and the Montreal-bred Arcade Fire. Like Swiss Alps, I've been getting into this whole Disco Punk genre where syncopated beats and heavy guitars dovetail perfectly with techno pops and screams. Makes me want to dance and contemplate all at the same time.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Roughing It

Set in Africa, Beau Travail is the perfect film to reference to at times when you need a pop culture marker to fake brains and deflect suspicions of shallowness because:

a) It conveys repressed sexuality in a strictly homosocial context limited to the hierarchical dynamic that exists amongst the portrayed men. In other words, it's about the French Foreign Legion.

b) Hot damn, those boys are fine. Claire Denis sure capitalized on her obvious talent for scouting out drool-worthy specimens of masculinity. And that Gregoire Colin ... Woowee, he's some exotic-looking meat. (But of course, by that, I mean, respectable, human being who just so happens to have a superbly lithe frame capable of making me come on command.)

And:

c) See B. Multiply by other, equally-satisfying, manrieties. Minus Colin's slight physical resemblance to Keanu Reeves. Add presence of hideous, "The Lovers on the Bridge" actor, Denis Lavant. And you'll never be accused of going only ga-ga for beefcake again (that is, until some kind of multicultural mutant made from the melted remains of Tony Leung's Mr. Chow, Larenz Tate's Lovehall, and Guillaume Canet's Jeanvier reveals himself and decides to stop by your house to check up on you ... r plumbing).

Gregoire Colin: "Like a living Modigliani"
(Wilson, Salon.com)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Il y a un probleme avec mon ordinateur

Just finished watching Layer Cake, the recent UK release starring Daniel Craig. It's Goodfellas with more charm (and less Joe Pesci). I highly recommend it: failing to do so would be a burden on my conscience.

Hell, I think it did Scorsese better than Scorsese.

***

When Swiss Alps couldn't get ahold of (convince?) his booty calls for a bit of midday canoodling, he rung me up to gratify his mind. He took me to a great, organic-serving bistro hidden within this quaint, francophone community to discuss the perils of Big Pharma, identity-enforced subjugation, and other bourgeois topics only out-of-work students have time to examine and speak ill of.

We continued debating as we mucked about the park throwing styrofoam airplanes, cheerfully mocking pop culture platitudes, and eventually settling at a bar with a massive backyard garden when we met up with Maussie's ex-roommate, Bloody Toe, a freelance painter.

That evening, the three of us dropped by a McDonald's (with a rustic, brick-exposed interior decorated with faux, Deco-era art -- all the better to divert hipster attention away from those golden arches, eh?). When we finished ordering, Bloody Toe warned us this outing will lead to the walk of shame. I felt guilty for entering already. You know about the "walk of shame," don't you? It typically describes the long journey home after realizing you've woken up next to your friend's, middle-aged brother with the lazy eye whom you don't remember being burly and naked the night before ("Damnit, I knew the left one was up to something!"). However, in this case, it refers to the period in which you plan to enter your plant-populated pad (still shit-faced at 3 a.m.), but your over-zealous vegetarian friends catch you trying to sneak in with that oily, translucent bag of beef, buns and butter and make a mental note of never sharing their Wendy's tofurkey salad with you ever again. Let me explain: Since enrolling in university last September, everything I've been consuming either contains pronounceable ingredients ("No artificial preservatives!") or has a tendency to actually rot when left exposed ("On sale!"). I haven't held a seared patty (dripping in grease that doubles as its own dipping sauce) between my hands in ages. It's not that I necessarily miss being a statistic from Fast Food Nation, but being a health nut hinders my ability to get over the health nut I've been, you know, writing obsessively about for months.

Anyway. When we finally left the Evil Establishment ("Hear, hear!"), I caught sight of a fleet of crotch rockets parked alongside the sidewalk with an equal number of leather-clad guidos wandering near and a thought came to me: Would global auto emissions drop significantly if men would only learn to accept their size?

***

The feature presentation in today's film class was Claire Denis's 1988 debut, "Chocolat." Just as I voiced my opinion about the cinematographic implications and representations of race, class, and gender in the movie (Cameroon, circa 1950s) and provoked budding group interest in the subject, the PC professor put an end to it, blaming it on "time."

Golly. A whole 15-minutes.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

J'aurai un bon cadeau pour moi

The theatre will present The Hours of the Day (Las horas del dia) only once. After that, this critics' darling and 2003 Cannes winner will fly the coop, forced to traverse back to high-brow heaven, and I will have missed my chance to catch it in its intended widescreen format. How fitting that I will celebrate my 19th birthday with a Spanish movie about the drudgeries of repetition and normalcy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Je ne t'aime plus

I gave in and splurged at HMV, plunking down the bucks for both of Manu Chao's solo albums: "Clandestino - Esperando La Ultima Ola" and "Proxima Estacion: Esperanza".

Never has anti-colonialism sounded so sexy.

***

Oh man, witnessing a gang bang is no fun. Today's film class focused on the aesthetics of the Dogme 95 movement. We watched Lars von Trier's 1998 representative work "The Idiots". Without revealing the story, I must say he sure knew what he was doing hiring well-endowed actors. One shower scene featured an erect penis definitely qualifiable for steady work at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament as an impressive show prop. You could hang two towels and possibly a couple of owls on that thing. When the orgy scene appeared, I didn't know how to react. Obviously, I couldn't turn away in respect for the film, but watching all that hardcore fucking wasn't a turn-on either. Yet, despite the graphicness, I also didn't find the scenes objectionable because von Trier admirably (or shamelessly) adhered to (most of) the doctrines of Dogma: use of natural (unflattering) light, capturing real emotions, making do with untouched backdrops, etc.

Nevertheless, that dick could sure do some damage if it ever escaped from said Bounty man's pants. It has the skillz to take over Godzilla's job as a one-eyed danger stranger, leveling Tokyo with one swing of its, um, tail.

Ladies, take cover.

***

Readerdroid and I sat by a street fountain behind a torch juggling busker to discuss her unhealthy preoccupation with her (already petite) shape and size.

"But skinny girls turn heads!" she protested. "You wouldn't understand [because you're thin.]"

"So do trucks driving at 160 miles an hour," I countered. "Besides, you're one of the thinnest people I know," I tried reassuring the lass.

Expecting another wave of objections, I quickly added how disgusting lollipop women look. And if she was doing it for quickie attention, I suggested she gain a few pounds. I mean, if I were a man, I know I would want to grab onto something when I'm pushin' the cushion. If I had a hankering for coat-hangers, I'd work the Hollywood casting couch: there's enough starving starlets there to pass for one person. (They'll soon replace "hungry Africans" as the go-to Chinese phrase to get kids to eat.)

"Oh Lily," she said, sentimentally. "What would I do without you?"

I turned my head to face her, lips wet with grease, and handed her half my spinach pizza:

"Enjoy."

Monday, May 23, 2005

Surprise!

My parents gave me an hour warning before showing up at my doorstep. Dropping her belongings haphazardly, my mom stuck her head in my fridge and came out with a look that said, "At least it's cold."

When they left early this afternoon, my parting words to her were, "Don't forget to give me money for some stereo speakers."

She turned her back to enter the RV and chuckled under her breath: "I would've been more worried had you said something nice."

***

If God was a hair accessory smelted from ore, S/He would be a bobby pin. Think Extreme Makeover: Temporary Edition. Dig, dig, flick, flick, you too can now transform yourself from the Elephant Man to Donna Summers in a few rattles of the wrist.

***

Listening to Manu Chao. Crazy, socialist goodness. JuanaMachine got me hooked when I viewed live concert footage off his computer. The vibe he gives off is amazing: there's a lot of positive energy on stage (spectacular showmanship notwithstanding). You can sense the purity of his intentions because there's an undeniable feeling that you're listening to someone who just wants to reach out and play music for the masses. And by the way, he sings in French, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, English and Wolof.

The man's a freakin' phenom!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

European Roadtrip

Maussie is currently galavanting in Europe now that he's an official university graduate. I've decided to excerpt a part of the email he sent out (spell-checked for coherency only):

I spent 5 days in Paris and was totally blown away. The food, the history, the wine.... 2 euros a bottle! I partied with Craig and Dom before heading to a hippie commune for a week. Really funny stuff! The deal was meant to be that we got food and accommodations for 5 hours a day working to restore these old French villas. Turned out they expected us to work for about 10 hours a day in exchange for bread and beans and a bed in a room with no power and made accessible only by a dodgy ladder! After two days me and Craig decided that we were going on strike which was really funny because I had to explain it to them in French. Translated into English it would have sounded something like: we are hungry, we need food to work.... too many beans! Anyway after that me and Craig started to conspire to eat their chickens but we ended up just sneaking into the chicken coop each morning to steal the eggs.

The rest is written in the same vein, changing in scenery from France to Spain and involving the po-pos. I'm reminded of the "On The Road" movies starring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby except this made me howwwwwwl because it's just like him to get caught up in stuff like this!

Headline: Houdini Baby Takes Toy Initiative

"A three-year-old boy became trapped in a toy vending machine, after crawling inside to get a stuffed animal when his mother wasn't looking."

Full story here.

The greatest tragedy is the jumpsuit:
It's like vomited whore makeup with sleeves.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Arrested Development

I watched the Korean arthouse flick 3-Iron today. It's left me in a daze. Beautiful. Haunting. Ethereal. And largely silent. I was stunned into submission, obsessively dissecting the final, bittersweet ending where the lovers' combined weight added up to a ghostly zero and the stubborn line between dreams and reality finally blurred. It was like the story of Orpheus and Eurydice in a parallel universe where he was her shadow and she didn't look back.

***

Without divulging in detail, I must say lunch with Franpa bordered on surreal. Conversation veered from vacation plans to music to my supposed sexual promiscuity (ha!) to his affair with a much younger woman in New York to the state of my 'rents' relationship to his contemplation of divorce to resolve a 30-year, loveless marriage to an overly possessive homebody ("I don't like to be dictated. I want to live [my remaining years] for myself").

"I have more to say," he casually slipped in. "I'm a man, right? I need sex and she only give me sometime or never."

Right there, he crushed long-held prejudices I've secretly held. One being Chinese couples having anything resembling a sex life because accepting that would mean actualizing the gross possibility that my parents would have, at one time, enjoyed the company of each other's nether regions in empty phone booths and vacant parking lots (and that's just not cool -- especially since the soundtrack to those scenerios would undoubtedly be light lesbian rock, a la Clay Aiken). Joking aside, I actively reflected on the second issue: ageism. I knew I was guilty of committing this crime when my heart skipped a beat no sooner had Franpa finished saying the above statement. This man -- hovering above three times my age -- confessed to having a sex drive, a carnal appetite that needed to be quenched (still!). It took me completely by surprise. I'm not supposed to know about these things, I thought. Don't old people naturally fall into the habit of silently reading the paper across from each other at Denny's (or those special, meatball-serving IKEAs)? Apparently ... not. Apparently, the numerically-challenged don't drift off the edge of the earth upon reaching a certain age either. Apparently, cheerful demeanours merely obscure the truth about the golden years (which isn't mutually exclusive with being old, by the way): it's really a one-way street to cease being perceived as "persons" under the critical eye of a juvie-centric culture (which is what we're ultimately up to our necks in no matter how much we pride our fetishization of maturation -- pageants and pubescent models anyone?). I think we've been conditioned to associate youth with vitality, agility and progress. Does that also mean we value unnecessary risk-taking, self-absorption and serpentine logic undiluted by experience?

So I must admit it's a little embarrassing confessing my inability to distinguish obvious caricatured characteristics from the real thing. But at least I can say I tried preventing moral hindrance from polluting personal perception (for better and worse).

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Three Amigos

Franpa is taking me out for a Mexican-themed lunch this Saturday. He's a short, bespecled, old man from Hong Kong studying business finance. I met him two semesters ago and since then, we've developed a sort of friendship. I say "sort of" because it would be a stretch to say he has somehow adopted me, but the tone in which I speak to him is similar to that of a relative -- that is to say, good-spirited and comically boisterous.

I take on a certain persona when I'm with Chinese people. It's a trait I'm less inclined to pursue around my peers. Although unproven, I think it has to do with common characteristics nurtured by ethnic traditions and ties. I read a study years back concerning the types of jokes people from different countries found funny. Each quip, quirk and put-on was categorized using a set of distinguishing, verbal markers. Rarely do I forget to question findings, but this one did it for me. One look and I was sold. It made too much sense. The way I deliver humour varies more between groups than individuals. I find it necessary to don masks because language itself is both a limiting and freeing factor. Case in point: puns are huge in China due to, I think, the vast bank of homonymic characters in its vernacular. By and large, distinctions of class and character, as opposed to sexuality, are used as sources of amusement. (Only a personal observation, of course.) Likewise, performing in French differs a great deal from English in form and content. I am in a constant state of tweakage whenever I am in a social situation, deciding whether to add more cynicism here, less nuance there, or a pinch of vulgarity when the occasion arises. It is like laughter depends on being conditioned to accept taboos restricted to societal, rather than personal, tastes.

I don't know where I'm going with this so I'm going to end it ... abruptly.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Spud & Bupkis

I vented to Prudie on the phone last night, an unhesitant midnight ring to one of my nearest and dearest. We've known each other since we were twelve and I absolutely adore her. She comforted me with her reassuring voice and listened with a saintly air as I droned on and on about my newly minted status as a reluctant ex-codependent.

"Can't you just see us crying on Oprah as a couple of depressed chubblies determined to shed 300 pounds together?" I asked.

Silence. "Whatever you say, Lily. I can see you on Oprah, but it won't have to do with being fat."

I miss the intimacy found in our "armpit" forged friendship and I'm suddenly reminded of the note George Bernard Shaw scribbled to this friend Archibald Henderson:

"I have neglected you shockingly of late. This is because I have had to neglect everything that could be neglected without immediate ruin, and partly because you have passed into the circle of intimate friends whose feelings one never dreams of considering."

***

I must confess M. Biologique's departure has left me feeling like I've been thrown back into a sea full of prowling sharks. He kept roving eyes in check and the indecent attention to a minimum. I haven't been carrying myself with much pluck and poise since he left so everyday has been a tireless battle evading unwanted come-ons. How do I stop emitting rays of weakness to cease being preyed upon? Stop moping? Perish the thought!

Marketplace

Bullshit is inescapable.

I waited for Swiss Alps to guzzle down his beer as I sat reading a book between KournaWhora and Fred, a 33-year-old religions student with a persistently sweaty brow produced by daily cocktails of nicotine and pills. The latter two were discussing politics (as college students are prone to do) and I pretended not to notice. I heard them drop names like ingredients in a Cajun gumbo. Chavez. Charet. Blair. Martin. And the occasional Bush, Bush, Bush. Acronyms flew by my ears like Topps trading cards. FCC. IMF. WTO. It all added up to nothing except for nonsense. Or perhaps what they were doing was altogether more sinister: a deliberate attempt to disassemble communication from language. What an evil agenda that would be. A race to infect the world with filler. A race to devolve the mind. It was impossible to filter out the rubbish when everything belonged in a dumpster (and not the nice kind either, but the kind you find abandoned babies in nine months after prom). From their lips spilled contradictions and half-formed ideas. These grand, hegemonic statements. These sweeping generalities disguised as miracle breakthroughs accessible only to the young. It was social junkie jargon and a thinly-veiled shorthand for elitism: only the privileged are able to have sitdown discussions about the fate of the poor with equal horreur and contempt. When they asked each other whether they've taken this political science course or that, it was another opportunity to flaunt what their parents worked for; a legacy that ended with them. ("$450 a credit bought me quotable smarts! And look, it's also portable! See how I recite the same statistics at every party?") Smoking their designer cigarettes, rolling their newly purchased weed, I couldn't have been less bored in the presence of these world weary auteurs with copy-cat sensibilities.

"I don't care for business much," sniffed one to the other. "But both Bush and Martin are running [their] countries like one."

They chuckled in unison, taking their eyes off each other just long enough to lick their papers and divide the grass.

But it wasn't until KournaWhora brought up pirates -- as in "yo ho ho and a bottle of rum" -- to explain yet another unsubstantiated theory did I motion Swiss Alps to leave, book in hand, pride still purring.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Tangent #231

What the fuck is this? When did journalism become a mad grab for dirt? (Don't you cynic me.) There are anonymous sources and there are sources you can't trust.

This recent Newsweek fiasco brought something to my attention. The amount of resources American news organizations have at their disposal allows staff access to intimate arenas open to few. The subsequent exposure of published pieces are also unparalleled. Few bloggers are capable of riding sand dunes in convincing civilian garb while making the necessary accomodations to avoid getting a bullet in the face. The New York Times -- that ivory tower of towers -- has the money to plunge their war correspondents into dangerous terrain, clothed and fed in the midst of war, with nary a dent to their chiselled corporate chins and wallets.

Now compare that to a publication in ... Georgia. An ex-satellite state, it can barely get its own elections in order. So when America talks (with or without a liberal slant, slit or groove), people listen. People everywhere listen. And they believe. Is it a crime to lead a nation under a neocon agenda for purposes of preservation in the Middle East? to bullshit until democracy becomes a term synonymous with apathy? to encourage the chilling "glaze-over" that now extends to the populus, eyes glassy like freshly iced donuts? So when does it become a crime to leave the government unchecked? unprovoked? unnerved? To live by the philosophy of the "Five O'Clock Follies"? To catch the canary with the cat in order to feign sympathy for the guilty party? When the world reacts violently, self-righteously, inhumanely if it weren't so human, whose job is it to prevent misunderstanding and maintain stringent rules for accuracy and whose job is it to soothe the insecure egos of head honchos with too much stock and not enough bonds?

I am sick of being satisfied with shit.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Free Agent

He's gone for the summer. My computer's on the up and up. The sun's shining. The birds are a-chirpin'. Truckers are cursing up a storm.

Life: it's a good thing.

***

"And don't be afraid," I said with my face buried in his side, "to write to loose ends."

We swayed aimlessly around the foyer as he tied up the rest. I wanted so bad to feel his tongue in me when he untangled himself from well-wishers to reach me -- seize me -- before I quietly slipped out the door. Yet, I didn't; I was repulsed. He drained every last ounce of strength from me and thus, I had no more left to give.

It wouldn't surprise me if I found an Urban Outfitters's T-shirt that read: "I went to Tulsa and all I got was this lousy friend-boy whom I fooled around with and grew too attached to, though he never used me for sex which gives me no legitimate reason to hate the bastard even though he had a girlfriend, played my emotions like an organ grinder and freeloaded like a campus whore -- but I enjoyed every minute of my time with him."

If that's not a case for masochism, I don't know what is. And let me be heartbreakingly honest with myself. We didn't make love because he didn't love me. Words were always in the way.

***

Took my scarf with him. That's my Roman Holiday Hepburn scarf. But I snagged a sweet set of six wooden hangers in return.

***

Wanted: Loud-mouthed, teeth-sucking, big-bootied Bonita last seen heading to church wearing rubber loaves on her feet and a wristband over her ass (because a skirt, it ain't.)

Kobe Bryant called. He wants ... yo' number.

***

Went shopping for books and plunked down the pesos for Laura Penny's "Your Call is Important to Us: The Truth About Bullshit" and Marilyn Yalom's "History of the Wife".

And a Spanish dictionary.

My mind needs a good scrubbing from a winter's worth of sludge.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Movie Night for One

I am leaving for the cinema in 15 minutes. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Born into Brothels will be tonight's treat (me, myself and I: always reliably thoughtful).

The first one because who doesn't want to understand the bastards who concocted -- who purposely created -- the rolling blackouts in California a few years ago that ended lives, literally and otherwise.

The second because, well, I love photojournalism and what a premise: Kids from Calcutta and the red light district. I was going to ask M. Biologique to come along since he's been there with his mom who occasionally works her humanitarian powers there, but I reckoned he wouldn't have appreciated the gesture.

I'm tired, I'd imagine him say; It's just a movie, I'd hear.

But movies aren't rolling ribbons of images. They're a rare opportunity that challenges your most limiting senses, usually soothed and pacified in a world of your own choosing. Films take that away. Films take you away.

Good ones anyway.

Two-Two Much

I was admitted to the hospital by my school doctor when he checked my tonsils (or tonsil, the right one) and decided it was imperative that I got my ass over there ASAP.

After all these years, my mother continues to be the only person capable of turning my typically upturned face -- albeit, also a passive-looking one -- into a weathered Greek statue the moment its heart stops and leaves its vacuous body, suddenly callow and wan even under the glare of the sun.

I called her two, maybe three, times last night, informing her of my illness. Since both my parents studied medicine back in China, her curt answers sounded neither caring nor assuring in the situation and eventually drove me off the phone with her long-distance lecture series on correcting my "manners" or -- ahem -- proper volume control. (We're Chinese! We talk like Arabs and Italiens! It's our thing! She can't not like it when she does it too!) I dropped my hands into my lap, still clasping the little silver device, and grabbed a magazine to hide the release of Little Boy and Fat Man, two atomic sized teardrops that forced me to stop blinking in case another set was ready to go.

"Grow up! You never cry," I heard myself thinking. "Now go find a tissue; people are watching."

The following morning, I discovered my mother had called me six times within six hours. A nurse told me my mother called when I was getting a morning check-up. Two family friends came running in telling me my mother, who had been up all night searching for my whereabouts, was currently readying the van to take the six hour drive up to Montreal.

But once I got ahold of her on the phone, the lines of communication scorched, smoldered, and eventually cracked. She told me to make myself some congee and go to bed. I told her I didn't have time for that because I had errands and classes to prepare for; there's no room for rest when you live alone. We grappled over my day's plans until I went silent and "uh-huhed" my way into appeasing her. Or so I thought. Because no more than an hour later, I got another call asking me where I was.

"At a friend's [M. Biologique]," I told her.

She was distraught:

"What are you doing there?! Why aren't you home? You're not planning to go climb mountains, are you?! Please take your pills already" (or in frenzied Cantonese: Aye ya! Why?! Deem guy?!).

Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Okay. Click.

I left M. Biologique's and headed for the library. I received another rumble in my pocket, this time from my father, a mere 20 minutes later. I could hear my mother in an adjacent room telling him what to say. I tried focusing on his soothing Mandarin baritone instead of his mistress's swilling hysterics, at once dramatic and comparatively tame.

Uh-huh. Gotcha. Gotcha. Click.

Please let that be the last one.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Forfeit

I've been waking up before sunrise for the past week, drooling and screaming at invisible demons, begging to be gunned down by a pack of hungry Bolivian marauders to put an end to my misery. The pain in my throat becomes unbearable that time of the day. Dreams come sewn together like a roll of toilet paper whether or not I wake up in the middle of an active one, the characters left frozen in their roles until I manage to return, a few agony-saturated minutes later, to carry forth the storyline between a nosy neighbour and child:

"JuanaMachine is gay. I've heard the groans of other men coming from his studio loft and once caught him wearing a silk komono as he smoked a Parisien*."

"Why didn't you tell me sooner, little girl of 12 wearing tweeds and a matching newspaper boy cap?!"

***

Did not get enough sleep last night (head unscrewed during film class). Missed half the teacher's lecture about the aesthetics of Luc Besson (I'm also nodding away right now).

I went over to M. Biologique's this morning determined to help him pack so he could avoid the whole rush, rush, foul mood scenerio I bitterly put up with. Except, once he opened the door, my go-getting became no-getting and we both quietly slipped into his bed to sleep. Have I mentioned I've been living on my couch for the past month because rotting food has become a minor health hazard capable of rendering me sterile and blind sooner than it will take to send a sink full of ketchup-stained plates and Nutella-stained everything else to the carwash? So feeling a real headboard felt marvelous.

Staring into his fridge and being greeted by the glimmer of shiny shelves, I took him out for breakfast. He felt a pang for France when we passed this tiny mom 'n pop resto hidden among other, non-descriptive establishments. I quickly made my way out, but relented to return when he stopped badgering me just long enough to hear me admit defeat:

"Mr. Sub? Dim sum? ... Burger King?"

I'm sort of looking forward to M. Biologique leaving. He was right the first time: we do spend a lot of time together. I mean, what do you call an irregular friendship based on being each other's automatic go-tos for every question and response?

A pararriage?

***

*As in, an actual brand of cigarettes from Switzerland. Not kinkilicious, French-speaking homosexual - not this time, anyway.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Broken Record

I was battling a short-lived fever yesterday which manifested into some sort of monstrous throat malady, a malignant cancer of pain bulging from the side of my neck (sans fatality). It hurts to breathe, it hurts to swallow; hell, it hurts to relax when drool unmercifully accumulates in my mouth, refusing to go down the drainage pipe like it knows it's headed for a knee-capping or something.

***

Spanish class went well ... until I discovered the entire course is an oral one: the teacher expects us to speak half-fluent espagnol in a month's time! That's insane! Where am I supposed to find folks willing to converse with me? How is this accomplishable? It isn't, that's what! And the only good friend who knows the language (from living in Brazil and Spain) is NorIda and she's currently enjoying el sol in Costa Rica!

Professor D. agreed to let me go early to give my throbbing cranium some much-needed relief. As I was packing to leave, I received a phone call from -- who else? -- M. Biologique. I spent the rest of the evening hanging out with him. And when we said our goodbyes this time, it was less hurtful, more sincere. But I couldn't meet his gaze as he held me against him by the metro gates. Everything I said sounded scripted and out of place:

"Nice knowing you."

"See you when I see you."

"Have fun this summer."

It was like a screenplay that was wrapped-up by a vagabond fresh out of film school, complete with biblical symbolism and idiocyncratic characters. It would be a lie to say I didn't feel like shit yesterday, going up and down the green line with brownie caked on my chin for most of that time. And it would be a lie to say Readerdroid was wrong when she said the reason M. Biologique can bring me to the "highest of highs" and the "lowest of lows" is because I let him. But when I entered his apartment with a mind utterly destroyed by exhaustion and sickness, it was he -- my panacea, my Pandora's box -- who plugged the complaining, who boiled me tea, who gave me food, who knew what I needed before I could insinuate that fact, and lifted me from the doldrums of hyperactivity and nausea.

That usually cheap miser even used his last twenty dollars to buy us our regular Ben & Jerry's concoction which was followed by an usual game of "silent, alternating, surrealist doodling on the business section of The Gazette". (The ice cream was Chunky Monkey crossed with raspberry and mango sorbet. Hope that dampened any dangerously curious voyeuristic impulses.)

Perhaps that is the dynamic of our relationship. Perhaps being different isn't my main motivation (who isn't nowadays?). Perhaps my independent spirit can thrive only under a lesser, co-dependent existence where the need to be needed outweighs the need to need.

Perhaps. (But I'm in the midst of detoxing: shant hold what I say against me.)

***

Watched Bertolucci's The Dreamers in film class today where I subsequently pretended Cuisiniere wasn't there, watching me two rows back, as the lights came back on again. I told him I would act like this, didn't I? I said, "It's better not to have sex with me because I will ignore you afterwards." I couldn't have been clearer. Maybe it's not fair to make a man think when he's about to come, but who said life was fair?

Monday, May 09, 2005

"If this was two years ago, I'd fuck your brains out."

I discovered Cuisiniere had only left a bunch of twisted messages on M. Biologique's answering machine and did not actually talk to him that night for he had not returned from planting wildlife until two days ago. Whew!

I tricked M. Biologique into coming out for coffee yesterday so I could vent to him about everything he's done to me. I told him he couldn't just "tie up loose ends" whenever it served him. I called him a "pathological pussyfooter". I accused him of being an asshole.

He admitted to being "rash" the day I headed home and apologized, but he "honestly didn't know what to say" at the time; he didn't want me to expect love letters during the summer. ("It was like having a girlfriend!") I said that's because he didn't set boundaries; my odd behaviour was a direct result of that. I tested him, I explained, to observe his reaction in order to determine what those boundaries were because he was frustratingly indecisive.

"Look, Lily." He leaned back in his chair. "In my mind, I'm not in Montreal anymore. I just want to be with the trees. I don't want to care, it's too much for my brain to handle."

This war of words lasted a few hours. It went surprisingly well considering he confessed to not having any social skills: wasn't used to gracious formalities.

"I refuse to see this friendship go," I concluded. "I've put too much time and effort into this alternative arrangement. It might seem dysfunctional [to everyone else], but we must adjust to make this work."

The mess is technically cleared - "technically" because though he and I agreed to be honest with each other from then on, I couldn't bear to go as far as to confirm his suspicions of my heart. I couldn't risk losing my convenient comforter - a man at once capable of taking me to the highest of highs and lowest of lows. (He was really understanding of my plight when I told him about Cuisiniere and asked me if I had fun, at least. I told him I felt guilty feeling pleasure at all.)

We need healthy time away from each other, but I'm the lone shattered party.

***

M. Biologique led me over the mountain and into Hippie Utopia (again). I predictably lost him in the crowd and left a few hours later after:

1. Receiving a marriage proposal from a 60-year-old, Pakistani government officer that became way too scary when it dawned on me that he was being serious:

"I pay you $50. You come see me. You promise me, you will! I will make sacrifices for you. You like spicy food? I cook for you! [...] I give you gold. My nephew love me like a father, I take money from him!"

2. Some mumble-mouth wanksta tried grabbing my face after following me down a beaten path:

"I like you, baby. I like you a lot. Come with me."

3. A mishmash of 10 to 12 stowaways hooted and hollered for me to acknowledge them after I escaped above mumble-mouth:

"Parlez-vous francais? Oui? Nee how mah? You have time to talk?"

***

On the metro ride to M. Biologique's to end our friendship (he was rude, I was rude, he refused to let go even when I told him, "I got the hint" - which I don't, dear readers, because why else would I still be thinking like a psycho bitch?), the carriage car behind mine was blasting music, partying for four stops before the hormonally-raging men were kicked out, ripping doo rags from each other's heads while trying hard to look ghetto-fabulous in pink T-shirts the size of my grandmother's nightgown.

***

Those who emote are just as remote.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Short Lived

I fucked Cuisiniere last night. Sadly, it didn't involve drunken fumbling nor blank recollections. It was pre-meditated on his part and though I resisted, his unresponsiveness did little but deter me from struggling for long.

"You want to have sex?" I asked to confirm, an exercise of repetition.

"Yeah, yeah," he said, eagerly.

I rolled my eyes, re-affirming the notion that I was playing hearts with best friends. I pinned his arms over his head:

"You have a condom?"

He nodded. Thus, began his journey through slippery territory.

He and I posed mannequin legs around town that morning after my film class, titling each piece with names like, "Cultured Cunt" (which featured the plastic limbs leaning on a bookshelf with the Vagina Monologues set between its thighs), "Mail Cunt," (get it?) and "Soiled Cunt" (in a flower bed).

I woke up at 7 a.m., four hours after we left the party with friends, determined to slip out of his apartment unnoticed. As I shivered towards the metro, I checked the recently dialled list on my phone and discovered Cuisiniere had called M. Biologique a mere hour before we hooked up.

What hasn't been deemed a misguided judgment this year?

***

I'm so sore, I can barely walk.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Control

I'm deathly lonesome in an unironically-detached sort of way. Montreal has a population in the millions, yet there isn't a handful of close friends left whom I can call up out of the blue. (The others unintentionally make me feel unreasonably intrusive.) Those still in town are either "temporarily away" or have gone missing altogether. Readerdroid thinks I'm coming home five days from now and has apparently moved while I was gone (why don't I have her email?!). Swiss Alps was high when I called him so I don't know whether he'd remember to call me when shit goes down (in a good way). My laptop's yet to be fixed, which means hasta la vista instant messenger.

And I'm stuck learning Spanish for a month and a half.

So if anyone out there wants to talk, I'll be holed up in my foodless apartment waiting for a sign -- any sign -- assuring me I still matter, a sign that says, "Lily. Don't worry. I'm here for you. Here's some bread."

***

An employee of my parents' and friend of mine recently told me to wallow in self-pity for one night and one night only, allowing myself to cry for as long as it is necessary to get M. Biologique out of my system. I didn't think I needed to cry at all, but this gathering loneliness (on top of my apparent friendship break-up with M. Biologique) has rendered me helplessly weak and frustrated, an involuntary island of dejection and despair.

I think I might go have a good cry now (it might be the agenda for the next few days).

Capped

It seems coming back to Montreal has been only -- how do you say? -- tersely satisfying for it appears having foreign friends means having to wave them back to their foreign lands.

***

Uh, yeah. One look at the droopy-faced child on the course book for Psychology: Socialization convinced me to drop the class entirely. All I'll ever need to know about children I'll learn from those Chicken Soup classics (which I've yet to crack open; my courage too weak). With titles like Chicken Soup for the Fisherman's Soul and Chicken Soup for the Golfer's Soul, what more do I need to understanding a fatherless existence?

The expensive price tag didn't help its case either.

(Ironic because the text for Spanish is twice the change and yet ...)

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Fruit Flavoured

I've been flirting with dysfunction ever since moving away from home. Seeing my hometown girls has once again reminded me that solid friendships aren't forged through confusion and anxiety. Loving someone is the equivalent of static on the radio: the crackle is so ubiquitous it is no longer perceivable.

Montreal still needs some getting used to.

Fraught with worry, struggling to blot out the expression of dumbfoundedness hovering over my face, I mistake distress for delight, red for pearly-white.

***

I have been really productive these last two days. I created a formula that catered to Sexy Spinster's personality to help her break the ice with men she found attractive. I simplified a typical conversation into its parts and taught her, step-by-step, how to utilise it in any situation without relying entirely on her non-existent improvisational skills.

"An anecdote?" she yelled into the steering wheel. "But of course! That might actually work!"

***

Went shopping in Toronto with Math Judas and acted as his fashion consultant. I asked him what sort of a look he was going for and used that as the jump off point. Gave him the dos and don'ts of fashion for his height (6"4') and skin tone (pale). We picked out a pair of dark denims at Banana Republic ("Distress them with a cheese grater"); multi-violet-toned checkered shirt with contrasting pink and white reversible cuffs at Club Monaco; a pair of leather thong sandals and slip-on loafers from Aldo, and a milk chocolate-coloured belt with stainless steel square buckle from Eddie Bauer.

He looked so put together, I was extremely pleased with the results. Math Judas immediately told me how impressed his parents were when he showed them his loot:

"My mom thought I looked older."

"And the shoes? The belt?"

"Yes, yes. Give yourself a pat on the back."

I forgot how much I enjoy - no, love - shopping for people (and it's not only because I like to assist in the personal funneling of funds). The challenge to combine style and versatility with budget and individuality is my favourite way to alleviate unwanted stress and unwind. I get a kick knowing I've contributed to someone's momentary happiness when I pick out something they confidently pose and preen in. I hear them commenting how good they look and despite giggling over brightly lit reflections of themselves in front of gilded mirrors, it is not unusual to catch them standing there a while longer, drinking in their new image with pride. That instant boost of serotonin makes watching Queer Eye worth every download. Actually, I remember helping a few acquaintances put together their ensembles for prom and graduation everytime I took a trip down Consumerism Lane.

Lightbulb! Wouldn't it be great to be a personal shopper?!

***

Shotgun Toter and I did nothing and had a blast doing it:

"You'd have sex with who? Him? Mr. Mammogram Nose?"