Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pooh vs. Jack

Once I was able to keep Jack, there really wasn't much training to do. Of course there were some house rules he needed to familiarize himself with: Not jumping on the couch unless invited, not begging for food, and so on. He never got into to any trouble with my family because he was a sweet, respectful dog with a quiet disposition. He behaved pretty well the first few weeks back. Instead of having to take him out on a set schedule, Jack would tell me when he wanted to go outside by placing his head on my lap, or if I was laying down, he would sit on my back. Also, when he did go out to relieve himself, he would go to the back yard and come back to the house on his own. He completed this, and many other tasks wonderfully. The point is that Jack earned the status "good dog".

Before I tell you what happend between Jack and Pooh, let me tell you how Winnie the Pooh and I crossed paths. My sister is about twenty-nine now, and when she was little she had received this Winnie the Pooh and then later gave it to me, so making Winnie the Pooh twenty-nine as well. We were inseparable, I took my friend everywhere, from Lake Tahoe all the way to Thailand. I never left home without him. When I had bad days, he was there for me to cry on. As I got older, Pooh grew older as well as dirtier and saggier. I still had a special place in my heart for him. When Jack came along the situation changed. Jack soon became another good friend, like Winnie the Pooh.

Jack was never allowed to sleep on the bed. He had his own bed on the ground. But one night I had decided to let him sleep on my bed considering he had a good record with my parents and myself. The night had went well, no barking or crying. My alarm went off, and when I went reaching for it I felt soft, fluffy pieces on my bed. I opened my eyes and it had rained yellow all over my bed. Jack had supposedly mistaken Pooh for a chew toy. I was infuriated and upset. I yelled at Jack and demanded he leave my room. He looked at me with sad eyes and displayed his belly to me as a sign of submission. The whole day he didn't returned to my room; he realized he had done something terribly wrong. But throughout the day, I had come to a realization as well, that I was wrong to have yelled at Jack and although he had chewed up Pooh, he was still just a dog. He had no idea how much Winnie the Pooh meant to me. I also thought that there was no reason to be upset over material things, that I had Jack, a new blessing in my life and a best friend for years to come.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Flashback Monday, part 3

Rain on my Parade:

This memory is not so distant. In fact, it comes from this past Monday. Before Tommy, Aimee, and I got on our way to Disneyland, we had to stop for gas. Nothing out of the ordinary. However, as I took the nozzle out from the car, I felt something hit my head. It felt like a nut falling from a tree, so I looked around to see if I could find it. Then I realized that there were no trees even remotely close, and the gas station was covered by a big platform, too. Finally, I smelled it, and I knew: I was hit by poo.

I didn't say a word after. I put the nozzle back in the pump, closed up the gas tank and door, and opened the front door. All I could do was stare at Aimee, but she was preoccupied with something else, so I just said it: "A bird pooped on me." I went over to the passenger side and she cleaned off a bit of it with Kleenex, but it was pretty clear (as can be seen in the picture) that we would have to go back to Aimee's so I could wash my hair. We did that, and it came out pretty easily, but I just couldn't believe that our trip came to a screeching halt because of my rotten luck. Aimee says that being pooped on is good luck, but only seeing that happen will make me a believer. Although we eventually got going and had a really good time at Disneyland, I don't think I'll ever forget this. I know that I certainly won't forget the smell . . .

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Prayers for a Miracle

Jack's previous owners wanted him back for reasons unbeknownst to me.I had feelings of both anger and sadness. I kept wondering how these supposed "dog lovers" could be so selfish and cruel to this animal; to give him away and then want to take him back. Jack had basically become a part of the family as well as my best friend. I was giving away a part of me. Tears were streaming down my face while I put the leash on Jack. He licked the tears in a gesture that said don't be sad, I love you. I headed outside towards my mom's car. The day was a sad shade of an overcast gray, the sky seemed to know how I was feeling. I placed him in the passenger seat of the car, gave him a hug, and said my farewell to Jack. He looked up at me with sad eyes; he knew that he was leaving me. The day he left was one of the worst days I've ever had in my life. I was depressed, who wouldn't be. In my head I thought that I had lost my best friend, and he was never coming back. Every night I'd cry myself to sleep and every morning I wake up to bloodshot eyes and a feeling of never wanting to leave my bed. My parents tried to convince me that it would be "okay" and that he will be just "fine" and they would eventually get me another goldiedoodle. I didn't think it would be fine or okay, and no other dog--even one of the same breed--would ever compare to Jack. I prayed every night not necessarily just to get him back but in hopes that he was happy and well-taken care of at his current home. I had a small voice inside my heart telling me that maybe he would come back, but my head told me to be realistic, that life doesn't always go the way you want it to. More than a month went by and I was still upset, but I had accepted what had happened. I went to school that day and in the middle of class my cell phone began to vibrate with my mom appearing on the tiny screen. I left class to see if it was an emergency. My mom said that it was no emergency but instead good news. She said that when Jack went back to his previous home, he wasn't the same--he was depressed, refused to play, and cried at night. The owners decided to give him back. I was elated; I couldn't believe it. I was getting my best friend back. My prayers came true.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

an enthusiasm for boating

my, my, my...
what a pretty day it is today. the sun is out. i bathe in its bright, bright light with my shirt off and my flab exposed to the neighbors across the street. they stare at me with funny little eyes, squinting, trying oh-so-hard to sneak a peak at my sizzling skin. ...gosh, enough of that! 
i have no idea where i was going with all of those curious little descriptions - if i wrote a book, i'd probably call it "Dithering Heights," you know, for the sake of irony.

last night i went to a karaoke bar in Downey. it was quite contrite, or at least the patrons were. me and the boys got there around ten, right as the Dodgers vs. Angels game was coming to a close. Fans of both teams were in attendance at the bar, and speckles of blue and red people spotted the otherwise drab decor.

i was glorious in my two-toned green button-up from Barneys, in my dirtiest pair of blue jeans, in my $77 dollar guarache sandals, with hair perfectly coiffed and a wrist that shone like the moon, that is, because of the ethnic bracelet that i bought from a peddler on the streets of Yuca, California. ...but that's another story.

After the Dodgers were humiliated on their field, a guy named Steve set up the Karaoke machine by connecting a long black chord from the machine to the projector. it was all very fascinating to watch - Steve's Nightly Ritual. I knew his name was Steve because I heard one of the lady bartenders singing to him as he left, "AWwww, Steve, don't leave, don't leave me...Steve."

Needless to say, I drank more than my fair share of booze, and by the end of the night everybody in the bar was calling me, El Greco - because of my beautiful brown curly tresses, apparently i'm what they think a greek person looks like - and everyone shouted like maniacs during my rendition of "Cocaine Blues" because my hair was quivering from the robust vibrato of my singing, and they loved watching the gyrations. 

We must remember that we are speaking of drunk people, all gathered together in the ceremony of Friday night under a single roof; and in this strange habitat, all social expectations are drowned, no behavior is taboo, and popcorn is free until 11:30.

As soon as i got home, i passed out. My friends took full advantage of my insobriety, and they drew thousands of penises (different sizes and shapes and colors) all across the length of my back and stomach and legs and feet. I was covered in cock. i suppose i can understand why my neighbors were so interested in watching me sun tan.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Privacy, Personal Space, and Penises

A little before work let out one afternoon, I decided to take a quick jaunt over to the restroom. Upon entering, I noticed Matt using the far right urinal--the one that everyone uses to feel some measure of privacy since there are no dividers between them. It's basically impossible to feel any privacy while using the short one since its height makes it impossible to gain any cover from the urinal itself, and the lack of privacy in the middle goes without saying. Anyway, upon seeing him there, I went directly towards the toilet stall slightly pictured on the left. That's basically my gameplan for this restroom as well as any like it: if there's no privacy at the urinals, go for the stall. However, my greatest fear (at that moment, at least) was realized when he finished, turned around just as I went into the stall, and said, "Hey, pal."

I greeted him as I closed the door, but I felt compelled to apologize since it was clear that I knew he was there and tried to get in without saying anything. Things didn't go as planned since I ended up saying how much I disliked talking to others while using urinals. As Matt washed his hands, he replied, "Me too. I-" and he broke his sentence off there. I was about to tell him that he didn't need to stop talking since I wasn't using a urinal, but he quickly finished and left, letting me know that he'd see me back in the Writing Center. The whole thing got me thinking.

Talking to another guy while peeing at nearby urinals makes me really uncomfortable. I've come to realize that when I pee, I want to feel like I'm completely alone, that no one could possibly be paying any attention to me or my urine. That doesn't mean that I'm against talking in the restroom, though. I think I'm okay exposing my thoughts when I feel I'm not exposing another part of myself.

When talking to Matt later, he expressed a similar sentiment, though it was definitely more personal: "I don't think guys should talk to each other while holding their junk." That's a pretty good policy for any situation, though especially in the restroom.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pooch in Peril

I don't remember the specific date on which I met Jack and little did I know about the impact he would have on my life. What I do remember is my mother coming home early from work. I had overheard her talking to my dad about this dog that she brought home. This complicated story was about a friend of one of her coworkers who had children and couldn't keep the dog because she was expecting another baby. So, she had offered up the dog to anyone willing to give him a good home. My mom jumped at the chance because she knew how ecstatic I would be. After I finished overhearing the story, I walked out of my room and there, laying with legs sprawled out on the floor next to my mom, was what looked like a golden lamb. I instantly fell in love. I had a myriad of questions to ask, like what his name was, what breed was he, and how old might he be. My mom told me that his name was Jack, that he was 2-years old, and that he was a "goldiedoodle"--a "hypoallergenic" breed created when crossing a golden retriever and a standard poodle. In my head, I thought he would instantly be my friend because of the natures of his breeds. At first, Jack followed my mom everywhere, and when I tried to become his friend he would turn away and ignore me any chance he could. Eventually, we became the best of buds, and he never left my side. A few months passed and sadly my mom said that we had to give Jack back to the original owners. My heart sank...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

pranks make people laugh at other people

this whole week has been difficult:

i'm in love again, this time it's with somekind of beautiful siren who was born and bred in the tamale-stained streets of east l.a.; there are assignments due for every one of my classes, assignments that i am nowhere close to starting; my father keeps reminding me that i'm 24-years-old and that i'm about as independent as a blind cocker spaniel; my mother isn't speaking to me - she hasn't communicated with me since early mother's day morning (1:48am) when she sent me a drunken text that read: "what did i do to make you despise my existence? i love you so much." (...i didn't know how to reply to that particular text, so we still haven't spoken.)

my life appears to be whirling out of control. in fact, the only constant in my life is my athlete's foot. it never goes away, and, as an adolescent, it would really bother me -- everyone called me "fungus" in high school -- but as an adult, I have come to love the fungus on my is a constant reminder of how ridiculously unsanitary each of us really is, that is, behind all the brilliantly deceptive designer layers with which we enshroud ourselves.

my athlete's foot and i are a dying breed. no one appreciates good fungus anymore, but it embodies a number of meritorious qualities that deserve to be spoken of/about:

fungus is friendly
fungus cares
fungus is dependable
fungus coats your feet with a layer of dead skin, which is useful when running/walking barefoot on hot pavement
fungus is a great listener
fungus never lies
et cetera
et cetera

Monday, May 18, 2009

Flashback Mondays, part 2

Saturday Afternooon Hockey:

Not quite Monday Night Football, I know. Sometime in the Fall of 2003, Greg had a brilliant idea. At some point in his past, he had gotten a Franklin street hockey set and used to play with Paul or Eugene every now and then. While we were at Monterey Highlands Elementary School playing basketball, two things became obvious: one--that the blacktop surface there was open and flat enough to play hockey on, and two--that we had the numbers to play three on three (which is pretty ideal for street hockey). So that Christmas, we all asked for hockey equipment from our families. When I say hockey equipment, I actually just mean hockey rollerblades (which are definitely different from regular rollerblades) and sticks--no protective gear whatsoever. From then on, we had the times of our lives every Saturday when everyone was home from their respective colleges and ready to have some fun.

It hurt. A lot. To start, none of us was in very good skating shape, so after a few hours our ankles and backs felt as though they had met Mike Tyson. On top of that, someone would always end up with a nice fat bruise on his shin since we didn't have shin guards, at least not at the start. Eventually, as each of us got jobs and as more Christmases came, we became fully protected (at least as protected as we could be). Simultaneously, our conditioning got better, though extended breaks from playing has set us back many times. Regardless, hockey lets us stay active and brings us together, and I'm pretty sure it'll continue to do so for the rest of our lives.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Not Just Your Average Dog

The dogs that appear on television and movies such as Lassie, Old Yeller, and Rin Tin Tin, do not behave like the average pooch, i.e.the fluffy, or the sparky that you or I own. These "super dogs" don't seem to act or behave like average dogs or even like dogs at all. They seem to display human emotions like loyalty and love. They also act with human-like intelligence, telling you when they would like to go for a walk. I didn't think they existed in the real world. Instead of having a dog that saves your kid, brings you the newspaper, or that even comes when they are called, we have to settle for the dog who ends up being the family menace. When this is the case, we find ourselves time and time again desperately yelling in efforts to stop them from relieving themselves on the carpet or from chewing on a favorite pair of shoes. I'm sure many people, including myself, have experienced this. I always believed that it was impossible to find that perfect dog that behaves like a "super dog" and is also your best friend until a special Goldiedoodle named Jack came into my life. Jack has changed the manner in which I think about dogs and animals in general. He has also influenced my decision to become a veterinarian. But when I first met Jack, it didn't start off so easy...

Friday, May 15, 2009

waxing sentimental about my job

Why the Writing Center is Awesome, pt. 1

To put into words all the ways that this Writing Center has affected me and my goals is a peculiar task, peculiar because I have never before attempted to evaluate the impact this place has left (and continues to leave) on my life. Without a single shred of doubt, I can say that working as a tutor has been a blessing to me:  Tutoring has forced me to become a better listener, i.e. an “active understander”; being a good listener has made me a better – more perceptive – critical thinker; and learning how to think critically has given me the capacity and the confidence to show others how to improve their writing. My daily tasks consist of reading student essays, leading and developing student workshops, as well as discussing language usage and sentence structure and argument clarity with students. Aside from improving my own writing, doing each of these tasks has provided me with a battery of valuable insights that – I am sure – will be instrumental in my becoming an effective educator in the future. In sum, working at the Writing Center satisfies my immediate needs, and it prepares me for future challenges:  Tutoring at the Writing Center grants me the privilege to work directly with a diverse group of students – helping them to better understand the rudiments and nuances of English – and, at the same time, it gives me the opportunity to practice the art of teaching, hands-on training, with students of all different ages and backgrounds. I see my time here at the Writing Center as an abundantly edifying training period, training for a lifetime of educating.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Flashback Monday, part 1

The Best Picture Ever:

For Greg's eighteenth birthday, his parents decided to take us to Universal Studios. This struck me as odd for a couple of reasons. First off, none of us could drive, so they had to drop us off, which seemed entirely undignified for a group of legal adults. Second, was there really that much at Universal for a group of strapping young men? It seemed like Six Flags would've made more sense in terms of proving our masculinity (which at the time seemed like a big priority), but instead we were going to the land of Shrek, Back to the Future, Waterworld, and the tour of the Backlot. A somewhat inauspicious start.

After we got there, it was clear that there was a very finite number of things for us to do during the day, so we began wandering the park for backdrops with which to take amusing pictures since the park was littered with them. One moment Greg was being run over in a moment of police brutality, the next I was riding a horse into a Wild West sunset. However, the best picture came not as a result of what was in the background but rather what was in the foreground. Kris, the only one of us with any knowledge of the Japanese language, spotted a group of Japanese schoolgirls visiting the park. It immediately became his mission to go up to them and ask them for a picture together. The catch was that he didn't quite know how to phrase his question. As a result, we stalked these poor girls for twenty minutes while Kris searched the annals of his memory for at least a few words that would communicate his desire. In the end, the only word he could recall was "shashin", which literally means photograph, but that's all that we'd need along with some pantomime camera clicks. The result was a great picture that to this day reminds me of how great it was to be a happy-go-lucky teenager.

Not that it's much different than being a happy-go-lucky twenty-three year old.