Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Feliz Natal, suckaaaas!!

Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate it, and a joyous Kwanzaa (Kwaanza?) to the rest of you.

I am back in San Francisco for Christmas this year, which would be 100% wonderful, except I have had to study every day here since I have law school exams as soon as I get back in January. Isn't that sadistic? Leave it to Harvard to devise the most cruel and unncessary -- dare I say UNUSUAL -- timing for our exams. The good news is, after I struggle through my three shiteous tests, I get to go to Puerto Rico for five days to lie on the beach/shake off the post-traumatic stress disorder. Yesss.

So, Christmas was good. I have consistently eaten myself sick every day for the last several days, what with all the cookies and candies and ham and beans and other deliciousness being shoved at me. Today we had Christmas morning breakfast at my godparents' house (eggs, beans, toast, etc.), and my cousin Megan gave us some tamales from Luz Maria's family's tortilla/tamale business in Palm Desert. We steamed those babies up for dinner tonight, along with the other leftovers; it was quite delicious. It's good to know people in the tamale business.

Besides the yummy food, some interesting things have happened here over the last several days. I think I will list them:

!. Earthquake
2. Another earthquake
3. Two people -- a police officer and a prison escapee -- were shot to death in our neighborhood
4. A third earthquake
5. A tiger attacked its handler at the zoo

... is anyone else getting sort of an Armageddon vibe from all this? Maybe it's just the freakishness of the tiger attack that's getting to me.

Clearly, the shootings were the most disturbing thing that happened. This suspect escaped from prison and was running around our neighborhood (...awesome), so the police set up a perimeter and went to look for him. He kicked in someone's door and was hiding in their garage when the officers found him, and he shot one of them in the face and then ran off. The fallen officer's partner went after the guy and found him in someone's backyard and shot him (or else the guy shot himself, it's not clear). In any case, the police officer died, which is really sad, of course. It was also really creepy to watch the news and think about our neighborhood being partitioned off as we sat there because an armed criminal was running around shooting cops.

All the earthquakes were weird, too. It reminded me of this summer, when I became kind of really paranoid about earthquakes. They're so freaky because once they start, you don't know when they're going to stop -- it could be The Big One! It also doesn't help that I live with a certified earthquake alarmist (my mother) and now my dad is jumping on the bandwagon, claiming he felt one today (but it was all in his head).

Well, enough of this creepiness. Merry Christmas, Feliz Natal, Feliz Navidad, etc.! I am going to put on some Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack and get back to the studying.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

La alegria ya vino!

The news is in -- Augusto Pinochet, former dictator of Chile, finally died.


For me and my Chile-lovin' friends, this is a big deal. For a lot of Chileans, I imagine this brings a wave of relief, joy, and perhaps redemption after years of watching Pinochet evade punishment for wreaking such havoc on their nation and people. Then again, by dying as a 91 year old man in a hospital, after years of living cushily above the law, Pinochet never really was subjected to the type of punishment he deserved for killing 3,000 of his own people.

Many Chileans, however, including ones I know, are mourning Pinochet's death today. My Chilean host mother, Margarita, was actually a distant cousin of Pinochet (they share a surname), and the night before the September 11, 1973 coup, she was flown out of Santiago for a "ski trip" with Pinochet's daughter, so they'd be away from the chaos and carnage that unfolded in the capital. When she came back, the country had been transformed and Pinochet had begun his 17-year reign. Today, in her bedroom, Margarita still displays a picture of Pinochet and herself at a party; he is wearing his military uniform, she is blonde and beaming.

Margarita explained to me over and over how Pinochet saved Chile for the middle class, that her family had suffered under Allende. "I had to wait in line every day for bread and milk," she said, telling me about how in the darkest final days of Allende's administration, she and her brothers used to get up before dawn to wait for basic goods at the store, taking turns to relieve each other of standing in the long line. Waiting in line for staples was unthinkable for someone from Margarita's background -- her family is "one hundred percent Spanish," as she proudly explained -- no Indian blood -- they were well-to-do, her father had been a career Navy officer. To Margarita, it was shocking and disgraceful to live under a socialist regime where supplies ran so short that people of her family's status were forced to jostle in line to enter understocked grocery stores.

My friends' host families, too, supported Pinochet wholeheartedly. Below is a picture of some of us in Kit's host mom's kitchen, in front of the completely un-self-conscious "PINOCHET" magnet on the fridge. I love this picture.

It was hard not to be shocked by our Chilean families' love and support for Pinochet. It was particularly baffling because these people were not rich -- not even upper middle class -- not famous, not particularly well-connected, and yet they maintained their devotion to Pinochet through all the ups and downs. When we delicately asked them what they thought about the charges of human rights abuses committed by Pinochet and his government, they firmly denied that any of that had happened. All lies, all made up by opposing politicians, all a misunderstanding. I guess at some point, people shut their minds to the truth to maintain their beliefs, right or wrong. It seems doubtful that Margarita or our other Chilean friends will ever accept that Pinochet was a murderer or deserving of scorn or punishment. In any case, his death marks the end of a very important chapter in Chile's history, and impacts that entire country, supporters and opposers of the man alike.

Bueno... para Chile, la alegria finalmente vino.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Winter Wasteland

It's official. Winter is here and I am hating it, with every morsel and fiber of my being.

I grew up in cold climes -- Michigan -- but that doesn't mean I like winter. I entertain no romantic notions of snow angels and winter wonderlands and hot cider and Jack Frost nipping at your nose and whatever other creepy, sappy cliches winter-loving people cling to. I out-and-out hate winter. No apologies. I guess snow's okay when viewed from the vantage point of a toasty warm living room with a roaring fire and mugs of hot cocoa (...whoa, maybe I do subscribe to a little bit of romanticism), but what happens when you have to go outside?

In Michigan, once winter started, life became a winter hell for everyone. To do the simplest tasks -- say, drive your car to school -- you had to perform laborious and miserable rituals, every single day. Bundle up. Shovel the driveway (this was usually done by Dad, to be honest). Break ice off car locks with ice pick. Attempt to turn on car several times. Curse. Run back inside to restart bloodflow to hands. Ten minutes later, re-emerge to get in car once engine is sufficiently warmed. Slowly back out of driveway. Run into snowbank. Start to drive to school. Skid on black ice. Arrive to school. Search for close parking spot. Fail. Park in back. Trudge through black slushy mess to get to class. Arrive in class with numb feet and hands, the bottom of your jeans coated with Detroit snow sludge. Repeat come lunch time.

Ugh. I HATED winter when I lived in Michigan but I didn't really have anything to compare it to. I had never really experienced any extended non-snowy, non-freezing period between the end of October and March until I came to college in California. True, Stanford's gross, rainy winters and cold, windy nights were not exactly a tropical California paradise, but it was a hell of a lot better than the Arctic tundra that is the Detroit metro area.

Michigan schoolchildren -- at least, public schoolchildren, cough -- are taught to be tough (snow days? pshaw!), and are sent to so-called "Winter Survival Camp" in northern Michigan in fifth grade. The preparation for the trip is a fun rite of passage, involving buying those gross Canadian rubber-toed lace up boots, hand-warmers, and turtle furs. At Camp Wolverine, ( we slept in a lodge, helped clean dishes, went snow-tunneling and snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing, sang camp songs, learned to make shingles using an axe and a log, did "trust falls" and ropes courses, and, for the lucky few, contracted pneumonia. I'm not kidding.

The year I went to Camp Wolverine, the fabled winter of 1993/1994, was one of the coldest winters in recent memory. With wind chill, it was 40 degrees below zero on several of the days, but true Wolverines scoff at 40 degrees below zero. We were out there making lean-tos and going on nature hikes and learning about Native American lodgings, frostbite be damned! Camp Wolverine was the first time I remembered actually losing circulation in my hands -- later I realized this was the beginning stages of superficial frostbite that I have gotten several times since -- and it happened when we were learning how to cook an egg on a stick. I guess a really key winter survival skill is egg-stick-cooking, since most people who are lost in the wilderness tend to carry a carton of eggs in their backpack, along with a pogo stick, a book of Pablo Neruda's poetry, and a bag of confetti. I mean COME ON.

So the counselor was showing us how to very carefully sharpen the end of the stick and very carefully wheedle the stick through the egg without cracking it, and very carefully hold the egg over the blazing fire. All of this stick-sharpening and egg-positioning required us taking off our gloves so as not to crack the egg, and my fingers were fast turning white and numb. Finally, in a desperate bid to warm up, I deliberately cracked the hot egg over my hands. The counselor saw me and tsk-ed. "Better wash those hands off," he said, and instructed me to stick my bare, white, egg-covered hands in the snowbank to clean them off. So, that plan backfired.

The point of all of this fun reminiscing is that I will never, EVER live in a cold climate again unless I am absolutely required to, and only if I am guaranteed that it will be a temporary sojourn. I HATE this. All of you winter lovers can keep your ice skating and covered sleigh rides and chestnuts roasting on the open fire. Screw winter. I'm going into hibernation.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Yo, Justice Scalia!

Law school has been busy lately, surprise!!! That's why I have returned to being a blog slacker and have found it increasingly difficult to write. I have been trying to balance classwork, studying, job searching, social life (dwindling), and basic functions of life without totally flipping out. So far, so good.

Another reason that I may have been somewhat lazy in updating my blog is because I might be braindamaged from prolonged exposure to the cold in my room. No joke -- you would not believe how f***ing cold my room is. At the moment I am wearing two shirts, a thick, hooded robe, two pairs of socks, and UGG slippers, and still can't fully feel my feet. I finally broke down and emailed my RA tonight and asked her if there was any way I might be able to get the heat turned on in my room (seeing as it is routinely below 30 degrees outside lately), and she emailed me back to inform me that everyone's rooms were supposed to have heat for the last few weeks. She forwarded my email to maintenance to see why the heat hasn't been turned on in my room. This is so typical -- the girl with severe circulation problems, who hates the cold and has suffered from frostbite three times, gets put in the one dorm room in Boston with no heat during the winter. Should I shoot for a fourth frostbite streak? Any one want to put some money on this?

Anyway. Another thing that I had been meaning to write about for a while was that I got to go see Justice Scalia speak here at the law school last week. That makes two -- or three, depending on how we're counting -- Supreme Court Justices that I have seen. I got to see Sandra Day O'Connor when she came into the Alumni Center my senior year. I said "hi" to her but was too shy to say anything else. Then, earlier this semester, Justice Kennedy was on campus to preside over a moot court, and I went to it, but had to sit in overflow seating and thus technically only saw Kennedy on a tv screen. But he was in the next room, so I think it counts. And finally, Nino Scalia makes three.

The talk was good. Scalia is an impressive guy because even if you don't agree with most of his decisions, you have to admit he is principled in his jurisprudence. His main argument for why he thinks an "originalist" interpretation of the Constitution is preferable to an "evolutionist" perspective is that an originalist will always have the text of the Constitution as a guide, while for an evolutionist, "each day is a new day." However, I think that perspective results in some really disturbing/wacky results, but, that's a blog for another day.

The point is, most people who went and saw Scalia talk probably have some serious disagreements with quite a few of his positions and decisions -- I certainly do -- but went to hear him talk and perhaps pose some thoughtful questions to a Supreme Court Justice. How often do you get that opportunity? So we were all pretty shocked when some kid got up to the microphone and started reading off a piece of paper, his voice gradually rising until he was yelling at Scalia, asking him if he was going to "step up and take judicial responsibility" in a case that the Court is currently hearing. He went on and on, yelling at this Supreme Court Justice, until the Dean of the Law School stepped in and told him that it was inappropriate to question a Supreme Court Justice on a case that is currently before the Court. Ugh.

Scalia said, "Doesn't Harvard have an ethics course?"

The kid snapped, "Yes, I've taken it."

How embarrassing. It's one thing to challenge someone politely on a position or decision, but you have to address judges -- ESPECIALLY Supreme Court Justices -- with respect. Not only that, but as Harvard students, we owe every speaker who comes to talk to us a certain level of respect and deference. These people are taking time out of their schedules to come and share a little bit of wisdom or challenge us in some way, and they deserve to at least be spoken to in a respectful tone. It was pretty ridiculous for this random kid to think that he was entitled to stand up and speak -- nay, yell -- rudely at a Justice, just because he doesn't agree with Scalia. People like that are unbearably presumptuous because they assume that they are sailing on a cloud of righteousness above those whom they disagree with and can thus speak however they want to those below them whom they deem "wrong." But really, this guy was just some awkward kid with a piece of paper shaking in his hand, making a total ass of himself.

The only other things I've thought to blog about have been random and fleeting: the intoxicating smell of hamburgers in the air and how it never fails to improve my mood, my theories about winter and winter-haters like me, the ghetto-ness of Harvard health facilities as compared to Stanford, why are omelettes so damn good?, etc. Maybe I will get to these fascinating topics at another time. Right now I am going to go put on another layer and shiver myself to sleep while watching Law and Order SVU.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Talkin' Turkey

Never have I had a BAD Thanksgiving. The only Thanksgiving that I can remember even coming close to being "bad" was during my freshman year of high school -- I had just gotten my wisdom teeth out a few days before and could only eat mashed potatoes, which, in retrospect, wasn't that bad at all. I guess I could have eaten the cranberry sauce, but I'd rather go hungry than eat gelatinous, pink goop that comes out of a can.

This Thanksgiving was excellent, as usual. Thirty people or so showed up to my grandparents' house to gorge on bean salad, two kinds of stuffing, turkey, ham, taters, asparagus, salad, brownies, three kinds of regular pie, and two beautiful ice-cream pies made by my cousin. Jamoca Almond Fudge ice cream pie = major perk of having a relative who works at Baskin-Robbins.

As at all of our family gatherings, someone cried, but that is par for the course. No biggie. Overall, there was minimal drama, minimal stress (at least for me, since the most stressful part of my "duties" was going to Andronico's market to stock up on cheese, crackers, and wine), and minimal yuckiness. Below is a picture of me and some of my cousins with Pop, our grandfather. We were all pretty deep into the turkey coma at this point, as you can tell from the blissful/dazed facial expressions. Mmmmm.

I think Thanksgiving is one of the greatest things about America. Besides the fact that it involves vast quantities of some of my favorite foods -- turkey, pie, biscuits, pie, wine, pie -- it has a nice story behind it about Pilgrims and Indians and sharing the horn of plenty. I think there must be some truth to that story, because somehow those settlers did get through the brutal New England winter (cough) and learned how to cook a mean bird in the process. Every American who has ever eaten themselves into a trytophane-soaked stupor owes a great debt to those Native Americans who shared their wisdom with those hapless Puritans.

Another great thing about Thanksgiving is that even if there is no turkey immediately available, the spirit of Thanksgiving inspires Americans to give thanks -- and pig out on whatever happens to be at hand. I have celebrated two Thanksgivings in South America, which is generally a turkey-free zone, but Thanksgiving found a way to happen anyway.

In 2003, seven of my friends and I found ourselves in Rio on Thanksgiving evening, and started drinking rum and cokes as soon as we got off the plane. Later, in the middle of a thumping, sweaty club, someone yelled out, "HEY GUYS! It's 1 am and we haven't eaten Thanksgiving dinner!!!" Next thing we knew, we were sitting in a brightly lit restaurant eating pizza with a ketchup-esque sauce and toasting that greatest of American holidays. The picture below is Thanksgiving night BEFORE the madness happened.

I spent last Thanksgiving in Rio, too, with Hoolia. We met some Americans and headed out to a churrascaria with the goal of eating ourselves silly on meat, just to get that wonderful Thanksgiving stuffed-to-the-gills feeling. It worked pretty well. There's also something special about eating Thanksgiving dinner with flip flops on.

Enough reminiscing --- thank God for Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Big soft donkey eyes

The case Fuller v. Illinois Central RR (Miss 1911), mentions the impact of the case of Davies v. Mann, in which plaintiff fettered his donkey on a public highway, only to have the donkey run over by defendant's wagon. The donkey died. The Fuller court described it this way:

The groans, ineffably and mournfully sad, of Davies' dying donkey, have resounded around the earth. The last lingering gaze from the soft, mild eyes of this docile aimal, like the last parting sunbeams of the softest day in spring, has appealed to and touched the hearts of men. There has girdled the globe a band of sympathy for Davies' immortal "critter." Its ghost, like Banquo's ghost, will not go down for the behest of the people who are charged with inflicting injuries, nor can its groanings be silenced by the rantings and excoriations of carping critics.

God, I love law school.

Reaching out and reaching in

The other night in my balletone class (don't ask), during our "cool down," the instructor put on some Sarah McLachlan as we were stretching and I almost got all misty-eyed. Sarah has a big effect on me sometimes... I get all nostalgic when I sit down and really listen to it, because her music sort of defined my life in high school. Not the lyrics, of course, since they are borderline inscrutable and most definitely lovey-dovey, but just the presence of the music itself.

I listened to her music after cross-country practice every day for four years, usually while I was spread out on my floor in front of my CD player. I listened to Sarah in the car while driving to school. I listened to her while studying. I even went to Lillith Fair one year (with our unappreciative Argentine exchange student), and was enraptured for Sarah's entire performance, even when two lesbians spilled beer on my blanket. (They offered to buy me another one, but I said no since I was driving. And sixteen.)

The first time I heard Sarah McLachlan was at cross-country camp, the summer going into my freshman year of high school, almost TEN years ago. Whoa. After our grueling morning workout, we used to come back to the cabin and pop on Surfacing while we took our nap before the afternoon workout. "It's good sleeping music," said one of my teammates. And it was.

About a week after camp ended, I went to the mall and bought Surfacing. The girl behind the counter said, "Oh my God, isn't this album great? I love Sarah McLachlan." I took that CD home and listened to it on repeat throughout that entire cross-country season. My favorite song was "Adia," but I loved all of the songs on that album, even "Last Dance," which my cousin Megan lovingly refers to as the Sad Drunken Clown Song.

I maintained my devotion to Sarah throughout high school. I bought all of her albums and listened to them religiously. When my dad bought me tickets to Lillith Fair, I freaked. The concert was Meadowbrook, a big outdoor ampitheater. I was forced to bring our surly exchange student, who had NO appreciation for the event, of course. Ingrate. We sat impatiently through Queen Latifah, the Dixie Chicks, and Martina McBride before Sarah took the stage. Totally worth the wait. She was incredible.

Throughout college and up to today, I never stopped listening to Sarah, but for some reason, when my balletone instructor put on "Hold On" during our calf stretches the other night, it made me realize anew how great Sarah McLachlan really is. I even like her weird, wail-y songs, and her hazy, strange lyrics. I love her, plain and simple.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Reflections on Birthdays and Halloweens

I have been lucky enough over the past 4 years to have celebrated my birthday (AND Halloween) in three different countries. I thought I'd reflect a bit on a few of these celebrations -- the highs, the lows, the weirdnesses.

21st birthday/Halloween: Santiago de Chile

This birthday involved the infamous Bellavista chair incident, in which, as I was talking loudly and enthusiastically to all of my friends at an outside bar in the funky Bellavista barrio, I went to sit down in a chair and TOTALLY missed, thus crashing onto the ground mid-sentence. Awww, yeah. Other highlights of this bday included: manjar cake, dinner at Como Agua Para Chocolate (fancy Mexican restaurant), drinking pisco out of a Coca Lite bottle on the metro, the series finale of Machos (!!!), and having a joint bday celebration with VanTasma and Sam.

The Halloween celebrations were interesting in Chile, because it was just starting to catch on there. It was popular with kids, like my little host sister and her friends, who all dressed like 8-year-old slutty devils and trick-or-treated around the apartment complex. But with adults, the whole concept was less clear. People seemed unsure about how the candy, the decorations, and the costumes all fit together, but some women did catch on to the Slutty Costume thing. Anyway, my friends and I went out to a club on Halloween, and only one of us, Bianca, dressed up. She drew spiders on her face and wore a long flowy skirt -- she was a BRUJA (witch)! No one got it. I guess Chileans need a few years for the whole Halloween idea to really sink in.

23rd birthday: Sao Paulo, Brazil

I think my myspace blog entry from my birthday last year says a lot. Here it is:

feliz aniversario
Current mood: cheerful

it's my birthday today, yippee hooray! i got to go to a talk on the sarbanes oxley act in the morning -- happy birthday to me. at least there was cake at the lunch so i felt somewhat validated as the bday girl... tonight the plan is sushi and clubbing at Asia 70. yaaay!

The fact that I was in a "cheerful" mood about attending a talk on the freaking Sarbanes Oxley act (in Portuguese, by the by) on my birthday really speaks loudly about how FUN my job was. Anyway, that birthday actually improved a lot after the conference ended. I went out to sushi at a restaurant/club called Asia 70, and aside from the fact that I sat alone at the table for an hour before any of my guests showed up (yay for Brazilian sense of time, which apparently all of my British friends adopted as well), the night turned out to be really fun/crazy.

Halloween in Brazil apparently does not exist. That's all.

24th birthday: Boston, Massachusetts.

Awesomely fun. This birthday also involved sushi, at a super nice place in Boston, and lots of wine. One of the best parts of the bday was that Karen was here, so we had a blast, obviously. After dinner, a bunch of my Harvard friends joined me at Gypsy Bar, where we shook our booties till it shut down. Man, what a night.

Halloween: please see previous posts, especially Jem pictures.

Halloween: Mission Accomplished

Just to let you all know, the totally 80's Jem costume idea turned out better than I could have hoped. Thanks to neon hair extensions, blow-up guitars, leg-warmers, and some BRIGHT blue eye-shadow (designed to stand out on African-American skin, which means it really popped on our pasty faces), my girl friends and I successfully tranformed ourselves into JEM AND THE HOLO-FITS. Please see picture:

That picture pretty much says it all.

One more note about Halloween at Harvard: today my crim law professor, Prof. Weinreb, dressed up as a bum. This was hilarious because:

1. Prof Weinreb normally wears a suit and tie to class every day.

2. Prof. Weinreb looks like this in every day life: http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/directory/facdir.php?id=85

2. He showed up wearing a backwards baseball cap, dirty jeans, a flannel shirt, and dirt all over his face.

3. He made no mention of the fact that he was dressed up as a bum and conducted class as usual.

Maybe this is only funny to people in my class, but it certainly made my morning.

Friday, October 27, 2006


24. Not just an inexplicably popular TV show anymore. Now it's also... my age. Oof.

Bday so far has been EXCELLENT. Got roses, got a pedicure, heard from friends and fam, and the weather is sunny and clear and not too cold. Basically all I could ask for, except for the fact that I had to go to Civ Pro. But even civ pro had that special birthday sheen on it.

Anyway my lovely parents sent me some pretty flowers in a vase filled with candy-corn (they know me too well), and I went to the mail center to pick it up. Actual conversation between me and the mail room guy:

Mail Room Guy: So, these must be from your main guy, huh?

Me: Uh, I think they're probably from my parents.

MRG: Hm, I was just trying to look on the positive side.

Me: Thanks

MRG: You know, a lot of young ladies send themselves flowers.

Me: Well, I haven't really been reduced to that... yet.

MRG: I used to work at this one place, and this girl got long-stemmed roses every day for two months. And the other girls in the office, they said, 'why does that fat somethin' get flowers every day?' So I asked her, I said, 'Melanie, are you gonna marry this guy that keeps sending you flowers?' And she said, 'No, he's wasting his time.'

Me: So did she marry him?

MRG: No, she married some other guy.

Then he shared some other stories about undeserving women getting flowers, and I left clutching my flowers appreciatively.

Anyhoo, now I am chillin' in my room, watching some bad movie on Comedy Central, NOT doing homework, and waiting for my girl Karen to get here so we can get ready to go out to dinner (sushi) and dancing with Harvard peeps. Yay, I am so excited. Parabens pra mim!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Jem and the Holograms

Continuing with my 80s's Halloween theme, I might as well reveal what my law school girlfriends and I are planning to be for Halloween... JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS. Well, kinda. We are probably going to end up as some sort of amalgamation of Jem, generic 80s girls (perhaps with a sprinkle of Uma Thurman in Hysterical Blindness), the Holograms, the Misfits (the evil rival band to the Holograms), and ourselves with fake neon hair extensions. I am psyched. Shopping trip for accoutrements is scheduled for tomorrow.

But before the big Halloween bash is my birthday celebration on Friday. I am AMPED for that, especially because my dear friend Karen is coming in to party with me Friday night. It seems like ages since I have seen her... I am counting down the days.

Sorry this post is sort of lackluster. I am recovering from the high of the latest episode of Laguna Beach and am currently watching Top Chef. Not to spoil it or anything, but Otto, the guy who stole the crate of lychees, bowed out. Whatevz. Over it.

I need to stop watching this show, it's making my stomach growl. Fooood.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A very 80's Halloweeeeeen

I love Halloween. Always have, probably always will. Part of it has to do with the fact that my birthday is 4 days before Halloween, so I have always associated Halloween with presents, candy, dressing up, and pumpkins, some of my favorite things in all of life. Who doesn't love pumpkins?

So, for all of you out there who also love Halloween, and who were born in the early 80's, I have a couple of treats for you.

1. The lyrics to my favorite Halloween song when I was a kid:

"I can't wait till it's Halloween, oooh-oooh, oooh-oooh.
Ghosts and ghouls for a scary scene, ooooh-oooh."

The end. Okay that wasn't THAT big a treat, but keep reading.

2. Garfield's Halloween Special was perhaps my all-time favorite Halloween Special -- and that is REALLY saying something -- and his "What should I be?" song still occasionally gets stuck in my head, 19 years later. Long story short, Garfield spent an entire song debating what he should dress up as for Halloween -- scary vampire, bat, Halloween cat? It was a tough decision, but he and Odie eventually decided to be pirates -- awesome -- resulting in this gem:

3. The Great Pumpkin. I think when I was a kid I had every Charlie Brown special on tape, including the one where Charlie Brown decides to get "in shape" and Peppermint Patty, in a non-subtle nod to the career as a gym teacher she was doubtless to have, totally kicked his ass.

Or what about the one when Charlie Brown goes to the spelling bee and wears that odd paper bugle-boy cap for no apparent reason and Snoopy plays the mouth harp? That was weird. ANYWAY, the Great Pumpkin is the beloved Peanuts Halloween special. Here's a bit of it:

Awww, poor Charlie Brown. His Halloween sucked.

4. Okay, you can't get more 80s Halloween than this. Disney synched up old cartoons with "Thriller." I remember watching this as a kid before I knew who Michael Jackson even WAS -- you know, back in the days of innocence.

I hope all my fellow children of the 80s enjoyed this flashback. Man, things were just BETTER back then, am I right? Or am I right? Or am I right?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Macho Macho MACHO!

Instead of being good law students, my friend Dan VanTasma and I tonight exchanged a series of feverish emails about one of our favorite topics ever -- the wonderful weirdness that is Chile.

Just to give you some background, we studied abroad there back in the day (2003), and had many experiences that we still like to reflect upon today instead of doing torts reading. Just a few examples: when that bus we were on ran over a guy's foot. What about that time Dan bought a hat that was essentially a combination hat-mullet, thus defining the inimitable "hullet?" And let's not even get into the Chullets.

ANYWAY, enough background. So Dan somehow managed to dig up this video that we always talk about, the "Chile, la alegria ya viene" video. For those of you ignorant f***s who do not know detailed Chilean political history, in 1989 there was an opposition campaign to vote out the Pinochet dictatorship, and it won. And the REASON it won was because there was an ingenious media campaign organized by the human rights movement in Chile to overcome overwhelming fear among Chileans to oppose the dictatorship. Anyway they put these kind of PSA/music video/skit segments on TV for a while encouraging people not to be afraid to vote out Pinochet, and promising that if Chile restored democracy, people would be happier.

The best part of all of this is that one of our *super dreamy* professors in Chile, Ignacio Walker -- currently the Chilean foreign minister -- helped organize this whole "La alegria ya viene" thing, and showed us the video in class, all the while pointing out all the celebrities he knew and had helped rally to make the video. I think at one point he even pointed out the back of his own head in the footage. He's awesome. He's so awesome that no one even minded him name-dropping because we all were secretly in love with him. ALL of us. I mean, the guy's married to the Chilean Gloria Estefan. He's hot.

Sooo, extremely long story short, Dan found the video on YouTube, and here it is:

Now, I bet a lot of you will watch this video and think, "What the f***?" But that's kind of the beauty of it. And maybe it's just because living in Chile for three months makes you a little Chi-chi-chi le-le-LOCO, but the discovery of this video really was exciting news for me and Dan. Actual emails exchanged:

Me: OH NO YOU DIDn'T!@@@

this made my day. no, my week.

No, my life.



i've seriously watched the alegria ya viene one 10 times in a row now HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

i think his wife was in this clip, BUT i think the video he showed had a "making of" segment that might have featured her, AND there was a part where his daughter sang or said something in the middle of the futbol stadium -- must find those.

... and so on, until we had unearthed a video from the opening credits from our favorite telenovela, "Machos," which was seriously a Chilean national obsession when we were there. Like, when two of the *fictional* characters got married in an episode, it was on the front page of *actual* Chilean newspapers the next day. To truly appreciate how ridiculous that is, please watch the following:

I miss Chile so much. Chi chi chi, le le le, viva Chile!!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

This is me studying.

This is me studying. Seriously.

In other news, I am watching the Daily Show and eating pickles. This is the worst blog entry EVER. Except for maybe the one where I talked about some movie I saw.

Oh my gosh, I totally forgot, I saw the BEST movie this weekend! Everyone go see Little Miss Sunshine, if it is still playing in some arthouse theater in the middle of nowhere in your neck of the woods. I guess I was a little late in getting around to seeing it, but I am so glad I did. It was soooo sweet and funny.

My friend Cameron and I went to see it on Saturday night for a low-key way to wind down a relatively high-key (i.e. alcohol- and study-infused) weekend. The film was great and I laughed so hard I cried during the last scene, but the night sort of deteriotated once we left the theater to discover that a) there were no cabs in Cambridge at midnight on a Saturday, and b) it was a billion degrees below zero. We hung around the lobby of the theater until the pimply youth in charge of validating parking kicked us out, and then we started to trudge toward a main street to flag down a cab.

As we were walking, this tall, skinny dude in a sweater vest emerged out of nowhere and started jogging to catch up with us. "Ladies," he said, "do you mind if I walk with you?" Of course, we both did, since he was clearly creepy and had apparently materialized out of dark shadows, but neither of us said no. He proceeded to walk with us, telling us how he "couldn't help but notice" that we had left Little Miss Sunshine, and informing us that the little girl in the movie reminded him of his sister. He also made up some weird excuse about why he had been lurking outside the theater for 20 minutes and why he found it necessary to walk with us.

C. and I were both getting the major heebie-jeebies, so when we spotted a cab up ahead, we started running towards it and managed to flag it down. Once we got inside the (mercifully warm) cab, we breathed a sigh of relief because a) we could feel our extremities again and b) we had avoided being turned into lampshades by Creepy Theater Lurker Man.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Fertility Log

Okay, first, an apology that I have been so utterly failish in updating this thing. The problem is basically that law school is hard and I am lazy. Also, not a lot has happened that has lent itself to blogging. If I could sum up my activities over the last week or so -- completely out of sequence, of course -- it would be something like: watched Law and Order, ate entire jar of cheese dip, went sake bombing, read about theft, did a class at the gym called "Balletone" that actually involved plies, and attended two different, equally useless training sessions for various things. Aren't you glad I didn't write about it?

This weekend, however, definitely deserves a big mention in the blog, because it was jam-packed with fun stuff. On Friday, I flew to New York City and went out with my long-lost roommate/life-partner, Foolia! Oh, how I missed her. The last time we had seen each other was on the grimy streets of Sao Paulo, when we both stood in front of my office crying before I had to hustle back in to the corporate misery that was my paralegal job, where I remained until 11 pm that night. I didn't even get to say "tchauzinho" to her before she got on the plane. Sniff.

Anyway, we went to some bars in the Lower East Side on Friday, including this truly fantastic Latin pop club called Suba, which had a cool, Jardins-esque vibe, with the floor of the restaurant suspended over water, bright red walls and sultry lighting. But the best part about Suba was the musica. They played all our favorites: Juanes, David Bisbal, Shakira, Paulina Rubio, Bacilos, etc. Oh, how we danced.

One interesting note about that night had to do with the guy at Suba who picked up girls -- literally, picked them up off the floor and hoisted them around -- and told them they were "so f***ing beautiful." This dude picked up Julia's friend Lily (but she was kinda into it), then turned to me and somehow managed to pick me up, even though I was scrabbing frantically to get away like a dog about to be put into a bathtub. So that was weird. Almost as weird as when a guy I met in a bar in D.C. tried to get me to throw up by sticking his fingers down my throat in the middle of our conversation. But that's another story.

So that was Friday. We came home and took embarrassing pictures with the camera on my computer, in which Julia claims she looks "Mongolian" in every one, and then I crashed onto the couch at 4 am. I woke up at 9:45 the next morning to make myself look halfway decent for Megan's commitment ceremony. My cousins Amanda and John picked me up at 11 and, after getting lost somewhere in Jersey City for a good hour or so, we eventually found our way to Goshen, in upstate New York.

Megan and Luz chose to have their ceremony at a place called The Empowerment Center (Centre?), which of course sounds like the most stereotypical place in the world to have a same-sex commitment ceremony. But the place was really cool -- it was a big, stone farmhouse with dormitory-style sleeping, a laundry room, a kitchen, and big common spaces. The surrounding acreage was really very beautiful -- bright green hills and lots of trees just starting to change color. They had the ceremony out back overlooking the hills, and the reception was in a big covered tent.

The ceremony was really nice. Megan and Luz asked their various groups of friends and family to come up and give them blessings. My family definitely won (since it was obviously a competition), because there were a lot of us, and our blessings kicked butt. Michael, for example, wished for Megan and Luz that "all of their tennis matches end in a score of love-love." Awesome. One of Luz's groups of friends gave them a fertility log which was later burnt at the campfire. I think I had already crashed into my bunkbed at that point. I certainly don't need any fertility fumes wafting my way, thanks. After the ceremony, we all retired to the large tent to dance till the wee hours, consume copious amounts of booze/red bull, and eat tons of wedding cake and fondue. Mmmmm.

The next morning everyone woke up feeling a bit ragged, but we pulled ourselves together and drove back into the city. Some of us went to Spanish mass at St. Patrick's, then wandered around Times Sqaure and ate Tastee Delite (the east coast version of yumi yogurt) till it was time to go to the airport. All in all, an excellent weekend.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Human Riiiiiiights....

I spent from 9 to 6 today doing a training program for the Human Rights Advocates program here. It managed to be exhilarating, inspiring, overwhelming, exhausting, and confusing. The morning started off on a high note with Dunkin' Donuts and Ken Roth, the director of Human Rights Watch (!!!!). His speech was great, really inspiring and down-to-earth. He took a really pragmatic -- yet principled -- approach to advocacy for human rights issues, and talked to us about torture conventions. Very interesting. I just couldn't get over the fact that the program brought in Roth today and had Paul Hoffman (prominent human rights litigator) speak to us the night before. I guess I got a little human rights star-struck. Cool.

Anyway, as the day progressed and more and more ubercomplicated theories and ideas were thrown at us, I started to get more and more exhausted/disoriented. By the time I got to my second "interest group breakout session," my eyes were starting to close and I had pretty much given up on trying to understand how to bring a complaint before the Inter-American human rights commission, or whatever they were trying to teach us. I was sitting in the front row, struggling to understand how the Commission varies from the Court, and whether they both fall under the Convention, or if they are granted power from the Charter, and my eyes were fluttering open and shut. Oof.

Still, I think it is going to be a really good organization to get involved with, and I am super excited to get first-hand experience with human rights projects. Wheeeeee.

After the training, Elise and I were so tired -- bordering on burnt out -- that we went to Harvard Square for some sinus-clearing Thai food and then saw the Illusionist. Edward Norton always brightens my day, even if he is in period dress with big dark circles under his eyes. Hot. I don't even care.

After that, the closest I came to doing homework tonight was when I turned on Law and Order SVU for a few minutes -- that counts, right? Now I am sort of leaning towards going to bed so I can get up tomorrow and do all the homework that I did not do today. Yay learning.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Bob Loblaw Law Blog

So, I had this epiphany the other day that law school is like, hard. Gone are the days of watching "Parental Control" marathons on MTV, of eating long lunches with my friends, of going out drinking three nights in a row and waking up fully dressed on top of my covers. All of a sudden, my professors apparently decided to bust out the real workload, and I have been staying up past my bedtime every night struggling to read (and sort of understand) cases. This is a new experience for me, and it's short of a shock to the system.

I'm not complaining, though. Law school is fun, and I am really excited about all the opportunities I have here to get involved with things I really care about: the Human Rights Journal, maybe the advocacy program, a reading group, and a student-run corporation that does fun social stuff. The social aspect is key, duh.

The fun thing about law school is that it makes you rethink about everything from a legal point of view all of a sudden... and I'm not just talking about my newfound deeper appreciation for Law and Order SVU. For example, today Elise and I went to a coffee shop to study. I was reading in my Torts book about contributory negligence in car accidents, and I started thinking about the time that I was on a crowded city bus in Chile that ran over a dude's foot. Who was at fault there? The driver, for not taking due care in making sure that soccer-crazed Chileans were not hanging off the side of his bus? Or the kid who was in fact clinging to the side of the bus and fell under the wheels of the bus because of his own recklessness? Hmmmm....


Monday, September 18, 2006


Okay, as you guys all know, I am at law school and am nutso busy. But there is always time for reality tv, especially reality MTV, which is unfailingly vapid/wonderfully fascinating. And, since I have always found time in the past to update you all about the goings-on in My Super Sweet Sixteen and Tiara Girls, I think I can squeeze in a post right now to alert you all to another fantastic MTV creation, Next.

Premise: five girls sit in a van and each one of them goes on a "date" with some dude, who usually challenges them to do stupid things involving water or go-carts, and then summarily dismisses them based on their looks. But here's the great part: each girl gets a dollar for each minute she lasts before the guy "nexts" her. Make sense? No? Doesn't matter. The beauty of the show is not about the actual logistics, it's more about exchanges like the one I just witnessed on the show. It went something like this:

Guy: so what do you like to do for fun?
Girl: adventurous things.
Guy: like what?
Girl: Like.. hang out with friends.
Guy: that sounds adventurous.
Girl: Yeah.
Guy: You're cute
Girl: thanks, so are you. (*giggles*)
Guy: So who did you vote for in the last election?
Girl: I voted for Bush.
Guy (clearly enraged): BUSH SUCKS! Next!
Girl: BUSH ROCKS! (*runs off set*)

I love this show.

I also love that each contestant gets a little description with one or two interesting anecdotes about them. One girl, who described herself as "Lindsay Lohan's stand-in" had the following description: Nickname: Stinky. Fun Fact: Once threw up into a paper coffee cup in the back of a car.

Love it.

Okay. Maybe it's time for me to do, like, Criminal Law reading.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


I can't think of a better title for this post except "M&Ms." It might be because I just came from the Dean's Dinner, where they gave each guest a little pack of "crimson" Harvard M&Ms. I would almost gag if they weren't so delicious.

The Dean's dinner was actually really nice. The stated dress was business casual, which for Stephanie implies a bright green halter dress with a cardigan over it and fake pearls from H&M. I sweated through the entire dinner because my dress was teetering on the border of revealing/inappropriate and I didn't want to give my fellow law students a bad impression/wardrobe malfunction by taking off my cardigan.

Anyway, the Dean spoke, and our criminal law professor spoke, we ate sea bass and cheese cake, drank wine, and felt warm and fuzzy all around. I spoke to some people who I hadn't yet met in my section and left feeling pretty good about law school and life in general. Maybe that was the wine talking. Or maybe it was the M&Ms.

The whole weekend was good, actually. It involved a lot of bar-hopping, beer swilling, crazy dancing to Journey, wandering aimlessly around swanky areas of Boston, and coffee drinking. On Saturday, instead of studying -- which is actually what I should be doing now -- some girl friends and I went to Boston to "shop," and ended up spending from 2 pm to 9 pm breezing in and out of the stores around Newbury St., none of us actually buying anything.

The best thing that happened was when we decided to go to dinner at a very nice looking Italian restaurant and Elise saw a mouse skittering across the floor. The waiters tried to pretend like nothing was wrong, but COME on. We ended up leaving, and the manager apologized for the rodent problem, but at least we got free diet cokes and a bread basket out of it.

Okay, I really should be finishing my reading since it is 11 pm and I have 8:50 am class tomorrow. Oof.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Aren't you the Dixie Chicks?

I guess my summer of riding public transportation in San Francisco has made me WAY harder to faze on the metro than the average bear. Last night two of my new girl friends and I were coming back from a bar in the Back Bay of Boston on the T (the metro) at around 11:30. This old, bum-like dude who was simultaneously drinking vodka out of a paper bag, dragging a crutch and playing the harmonica came and parked himself across from us on the train. He busted out the harmonica and started yelling stuff out to us in between puffs on the harmonica/drinks from his bag, including, "Hey, aren't you gals the Dixie Chicks," and "Anyone want a drink?" It was your typical, happy drunk bum stuff.

See, if I had to develop a 1- 10 ranking system for creepy people on public transportation, it would look something like this: 1 would be the smelly guy talking to himself quietly, 5 would be the angry, all-black-wearing dude with long hair fingering something (a hunting knife, perhaps?) in his pocket, 10 would be the dude on the N-Judah a couple months ago who jumped off and repeatedly shoved a windshield wiper up his nose. Using this system, I would rank the guy on the T last night maybe a 1.5: creepier than the ladies with a bags full o' fish that I frequently sat next to on the bus this summer but less creepy than the old men who used to clip their nails on the 71. So, anyway, I was not fazed at all and kept on talking to my friends, ignoring the bum's invitations to come sit by him, sing him a country song, etc.

As soon as we got off the T at our stop (and the drunk bum got up, too), I realized that my friends were totally freaked out.

"Oh my God," one of them said, "we need to run out of here so he doesn't follow us!"

I looked at her, confused. "He's drunk and he has a crutch," I said. "I don't think we need to run."

Nonetheless, my friends were super creeped out; neither of them has spent much time on public transport, and I found myself in the opposite of my usual role in any group, which is the cautious, Mom-type figure. But I guess when it comes to the crazy, drug-addled members of society, I have learned to judge when it's necessary to be concerned and when something is just irritating. These are valuable life skills for a girl on her own. And I owe it all to shadies on the 71.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Law Skool, part 2

If I had to break my time at HLS down into percentages, it would look something like this:

Drinking: 83%
Reading cases: 5%
Talking about how I should be reading cases: 5%
Buying candles: 2%
Watching Reno 911: 4%
Eating pizza: 1%

Please note that drinking has dominated most of my time here. Last night I went out to dinner with some of my new girl friends, then we went for a drink at a bar in Cambridge, then we ended up at the Law School drinking society, which was like a sweaty frat party in the basement of this semi-nasty house. I didn't actually drink that much but it amazed me that I was out till 2:00 am on a Sunday, especially considering that I had gone out Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, AND that I'm at law school.

It's not all fun and games, though. Tomorrow is my first class, Criminal Law, at 8:50 AM, followed directly by Torts. Until a few days ago, I didn't even know what a tort was, although it sounded vaguely British, and now I am going to a whole class devoted to them. Learning is fun.

Right now I am sitting on my silky bed watching Project Runway (the one where Keith gets busted for using pattern books, oooh), debating whether or not to try to do any more reading for tonight. My main goal is to get some sleep tonight so I can be bright and chipper for my class tomorrow morning. Wish me luck.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Law Skool, part 1

I got to Harvard on Tuesday night, and let me tell you, it has been an overwhelming whirlwind of activity since I got here. It's like your first week of college when you are thrown into one social situation after another and you have to try to meet as many people as you can, be on your best behavior, dazzle them with your wit and charm, all while trying to figure out who's cool, who's not, who's genuine, who's not, who's going to be your friend, your study partner, your ally, and so on. It is exhausting on so many levels.

It's also exciting, of course, but the most exciting part of the whole experience up to this point has actually been the promise of the academics, rather than the social life. Don't get me wrong, socializing has been surprisingly fun -- and I'll get to that in a sec -- but what really thrill me are the classes themselves, and we haven't even really started yet. I feel lucky to be here and to have access to such outstanding law professors and resources, and I'm also excited to start because I think my brain is sort of suited to this type of thinking, and it feels good to finally be able to use the ol' brain again. It has sort of been rotting in my head for the last year or so.

Anyway, aside from the scheduled orientation activities and meetings with my section -- the class of 500 is broken down into 7 academic sections -- I have squeezed in drinking and schmoozing Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights. Thursday was a party at the Hong Kong, a slightly shady Chinese restaurant/bar/creepy lounge in Cambridge. The highlight of that night was probably speaking Portuguese with the Brazilian bartender when I was waiting for my Amstel Light to appear. Friday night was a total blast. I got together with some of the girls I have made friends with to drink wine out of plastic cups in their dorm -- TOTAL freshman year flashbacks -- and then we took a cab into Boston to go to Gypsy Bar, this bar/lounge place that played great music. Despite the fact that drinks were crazily expensive, we all drank (more than) enough and danced our butts off.

Here is the best part, though. I have met really great girls here, who are like, NORMAL and fun and smart. I guess all of us sort of approached Harvard Law with a healthy dose of skepticism/terror about the social prospects here -- I mean, we've all seen Legally Blonde -- so it's a really pleasant surprise to meet some good females right off the bat. Today we got some lunch at the old ABP and coffee at Peets, then went to Staples, where I bought essentials, like multicolored, glittery pens and two different types of Post-It flags. I had to hold myself back from buying "fun" paperclips and squishy gel things to put on your pencils so that they're easier to grip. The only reason I held it together and put down the squishy things was because I am still trying to make a good impression on people.

I could go on and on about everything that has happened since I got here -- the people I've met, my impressions of Harvard and Cambridge, the constant temptation that I've been fighting to compare everything here (unfavorably, mostly) to Stanford, the cases I've read, etc., etc., etc., but I don't think I have the energy to be concise and interesting, so I am gonna cut it off now. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 28, 2006

San DiYAYgo

Okay, Lisa and I just watched Urban Cowboy (twice in one week!), ate COld Stone ice cream, chocolate-covered pretzels and Reeces pieces, and laid around like fat lards. God, this weekend has been great. We deserved a rest because the last two nights here were absolutely nuts. This "morning" (12:30) when we dragged ourselves out of bed, I said to Karen and Lisa that I didn't think we had had such a crazy night since college. I love being with these girls, and being with them in San Diego is wonderful because it's so laid-back, warm, beachy and sunny here. True relaxation.

I will write more details later because Lisa and I are about to pop in a Mark Ruffalo movie and Karen is on her way back to the house, but here's a brief recap. Friday night, Lisa hosted a bbq at her place and tons of people showed up. We grilled up chicken, sausage and veggies and played flip-cup, then went out to a bar for some dancing. Karen and I peeled out early since we had been up since 4 am to catch an early flight out of Oakland, and we both passed out on Lisa's couches when we got home.

Saturday we spent the day shopping off our hangovers, and then Saturday night we all went to the Dave Matthews concert in Chula Vista. We girls organized quite the gourmet tailgate in Lisa's friend's Jeep, with wine, cheese, baguettes, pretzels, hummus, salame, grapes, veggies, and, of course, beer. A bunch of guys showed up to help us eat and drink, then we all headed into the concert and continued to suck down the beer and have a ridiculous night. Oy. I think when I put up pictures it will all make more sense.

Today we rented bikes (I got the snazzy pink one) and drove to a beautiful beach in La Jolla. We laid around and then ventured into the frigid water for a refreshing dip. The water was so cold that my feet were white when I came out, brrrr. The rest of the day was spent hanging out, eating sushi, stuffing our faces with junk food, and watching movies. What a perfect weekend. All three of us are sad that Karen and I are leaving tomorrow, sigh. At least we got this last reunion before I move to the East Coast. Yay.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What the Fudgiscle happened last night?!

Last night was one of the weirdest, most unsettling nights I have had in a long time. After a nice night of watching TV with Emily, I went to bed around 1 and read a book (Atonement by Ian McEwan) until 2 or so. At around 3, I was awoken by what sounded like a sonic boom. It was a huge, loud bang that was so powerful it shook the house and, I later found out, caused two framed photos in the family room to fall off the wall and break on the floor. Immediately after the boom, a car alarm went off for a good five minutes, and when it stopped, I heard footsteps downstairs. I didn't really panic until the footsteps started creaking up the stairs, and I realized that someone was coming to kill me in my bed.

In retrospect, I probably didn't handle the situation well, because instead of calling the police or hiding in the closet or arming myself with the only potential weapon in my room (my aunt's synchronized swimming trophy), I stood up on my bed to look over the partition to the stairwell and called out, "Hello?" in this scared little voice. Nice, Stephanie. Turns out it wasn't an intruder after all, but was my grandmother, who was also woken up by the scary noise and had come to make sure I wasn't setting off fireworks in my room. When I realized that no one had broken into the house, my body, which had gone numb, started tingling in a horrible pins-and-needles way, and I started shaking. Damn adrenaline.

I went downstairs and found my cousin, who was awake and freaked out as well. We sat in her apartment and tried to decide what to do. When she heard the noise, she thought it was gunfire, and that our crazy neighbors had opened fire on each other. Not really an unreasonable suspicion, given their tumultuous relationship, but the noise was actually louder than a gun, so we ruled that out. When ANOTHER boom happened ten minutes later (followed by another car alarm), we called the non-emergency line of the SF police and reported the incident. We then called Emily's brother, Rory, who said it was probably fireworks. Fireworks at 3:30 am on a Monday? What kind of neighborhood are we living in, anyway?

To calm our nerves, E and I watched Urban Cowboy and I fell asleep in her La-Z-Boy till 7 am, when I dragged myself up to my own bed again. I was re-awoken at 10 or so by cement workers drilling the crap out of the sidewalk right in front of our house. It's like God doesn't want me to sleep.

Anyway, the whole thing was very strange and pretty scary, and it made me appreciate the fact that some people have to deal with actual disturbances outside their doors all the time, like in warzones or neighborhoods where people actually do shoot at each other. Makes me appreciate our (normally) quiet San Francisco neighborhood. If anyone knows what that noise might have been, please let me know. Just curious.

Goodbye Dinner

I had my going-away dinner at Espetus, the Brazilian churrascaria on Sunday night, and man oh man, was it good. I love going to that place because: a) it's delicious, b) they have lots of good Malbec, c) I am friends with some of the Brazilian dudes who work there from the hostel, d) they keep the pao de queijo coming, and, perhaps most importantly, e) the buffet has unlimited palm hearts. Mmmm, palmitos.

It was such fun to get my friends and family together in one room, with shedloads of meat at our disposal. I think the highlight of the night was when my family semi-spontaneously started singing "Leavin' on a Jet Plane." It was actually sweet. The thing about my family is that we all love to sing and we all love attention, so there's always a chance that someone's gonna burst into song if you get a few of us in one place.

After dinner, my cousins Peter, Rory and Emily and I went to a bar in the Haight for a drink or two to help the meat settle, then I came home and passed out on Emily's couch while watching Arrested Devleopment. Awesome end to an awesome night! I am posting a few pics from the night below. Enyoy.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Free bird

I am at work. When I'm at work, I do things like take pictures of myself with my computer (see sidebar) and compulsively download podcasts. I now subscribe to "Yoga Today" and "The Hills: Aftershow." You can't beat the aftershow: it's free, AND you get to see the inside of Jason's car. Speaking of Jason from The Hills, did you know he is my friend on myspace.com? It's true. Julia doubts the legitimacy of J. Wahler's profile, but I know it's for real. Only the REAL Jason would post this on his profile:

Yeah yeah and if your going to leave me a comment dont just say 'your hott' or 'whats up' because I wont reply to that. Because if you say hott the only thing I can say is thank you and if you ask whats up all I'm going to say is checking myspace.. I mean the obvious. And if you want to send me an email I'm sorry, my mailbox gets overloaded with fan mail, so I put up an away message, sorry guys.

Oh, Jason. I'm only saying this because we're such good friends, but...get over yourself.

Anyway, this is my last day of work at Stanford. Hard to believe -- it feels like I am really severing ties with this place, movin' on, movin' out. I guess it's about time, seeing as I graduated in 2005 yet am somehow still employed as a "student worker" a year later. I will never really sever ties with Stanny, of course. I love this place, and always will.

But I guess it is time to move on: I'm sitting here at the Alumni Center with my Harvard Law School 1L Orientation Reading Materials in front of me. The next frontier! Exciting and all, but it's gonna be hard to end my summer in San Francisco; it really has been awesome.

Friday, August 18, 2006


I just saw this on a friend's AIM away message and feel the need to broadcast it.


Yes, that is exactly what it sounds like. Check out the "best kitlers" link.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

AND flowers...

Enrico, the Italian guy who I trained the other day, just gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Gosh, these people are really wonderful. Lots of love to the hostel.

Sugar high

I just ate about half of a chocolate cake with gooey chocolate frosting. Okay, maybe not HALF, but a large chunk. It was my going-away cake, lovingly baked by my coworker, Kris, to mark my departure from the hostel. So unnecessary and nice of him.

The cake was gorgeous; a bunch of hostel peeps stood around the reception desk with me and ate it with forks, semi-scooping it into bowls as we went. Yummm. Now I have a total sugar headache but it was worth it. It's funny to compare how nice everyone here has been -- like the fact that all of them have told me how much they'll miss me when I'm gone, etc. -- with my experience at the law firm in Brazil.

When I left the firm in Sao Paulo, no one really blinked an eyeball, which is ironic, since I had worked my tail off there for seven long months, completely underpaid and most definitely underappreciated. Here's the icing on the (non-existent) cake: once I left Brazil, not only did I not receive any word of appreciation or thanks from the company, but instead got an email demanding that I mail the office manager $20 for my last month's cell phone bill (for the phone that the office required me to have). As IF!

I realize that it's hard to compare a touchy-feely backpackers' hostel with a large, international law firm, but actually, when it comes down to it, basic respect between bosses, employees, coworkers, whatever, shouldn't drastically differ from place to place.

Sorry if I sound horribly bitter but when someone bakes you a big, chocolate goodbye cake, it really puts things into perspective. I'll miss you, hostel!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Weird things. All of which are unrelated.

I am weirded out. I just got my schedule for Harvard Law School. Like, actual classes with actual books and professors and classrooms, starting September 5. Yeah, as in, September 5 2006, three weeks from now. So, I guess this means I need to buy school supplies. I actually have to go to a store and purchase pens and college-ruled notebook paper.


The very idea of studying and books and legal writing and the hallowed halls of Harvard is giving me the major heebie jeebies.

Other weird things that have been on my mind: beauty. Why do we suffer for it so? Both my cousin Emily and I went to our waxing lady, Sandy Tu, yesterday. Sandy Tu operates out of the back room of a creepy little salon called Urban Beauty on 20th and Irving. The first time we went in, a lady was cutting hair in the front room and the hair was everywhere, piles of it. E and I sat under a poster showing the options available for "eyebrow embroidery" (?) and tried not to inhale the hair floating in the atmosphere. Eventually, after much ado, Sandy ushered us one by one into the back room, where she worked her magic.

Anyway, Emily's experience yesterday was slightly more horrific than mine (unlike last time) as Sandy Tu actually drew blood from Emily.

"Oh, your skin so thin," she said, tsk-ing, as if it was my cousin's fault that Sandy Tu had forcibly ripped hair out hard enough for E to BLEED. Actual blood! Yet, both of us keep crawling back for more, like sick little puppies that like to be kicked. It's sort of satisfying to suffer a little bit when you know the end result is going to be fabulous; it's the same principle that guides me to wear shoes that shred my feet into ribbons after three wobbly steps. A little blood is a small price to pay to look cute (and three inches taller), right?

Other weird things: tomorrow is my last day of work at the hostel. How time has flown. My manager tried to suck as much use out of me as possible by putting me on every day and having me train a new receptionist yesterday. I have to leave my mark behind on this place somehow, I guess.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The final countdown....

My time left in San Francisco is dwindling, but I think I am taking adequate advantage of this place before I leave for other coast. In the last week, I have done the following:

1. partied (partly in portuguese!) at the hostel
2. eaten yorkshire pudding at the House of Prime Rib
3. gone for fro-yo...several times
4. gotten my eyebrows done at Benefit, the quintessential San Francisco girly store
5. walked *extensively* around the Haight, Golden Gate Park, the Marina, downtown, and the Sunset, duh
6. dined at Marnee Thai with Karen
7. gotten lost on Mt. Sutro
8. gone to see Diplo perform at Mezzanine

That last one, Diplo, occurred on Thursday night. I guess all I can say is that you know it's a good night when you end up leaving the club sweaty, minorly injured, with drinks/other fluids spilled all over you, and you don't care. I'll let a few pictures from that night tell the story:

Friday, August 11, 2006

Tupac lives

Ever since I saw this Dave Chapelle sketch last night about new TUpac songs, I have had this stuck in my head: "I wrote this song a long time ago, a real long TIME ago. I wrote this song a long time ago, was the dopest song I ever wrote... back in '94!!"

I can't stop laughing, and I just have to share this with the world.

Dave Chapelle is wonderful.

"Rest in peace, Tupac!"
"Okay, I WILL!"

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Self-Absorbed Time Capsule

Cheesy and self-indulgent thought exercise alert!

If you could put 10 items in a box to give future generations an idea about your own day-to-day life, what would you put in it? My time capsules, like most people's, would tend to be pretty situational, because the tangibles that fit into, say, my life in Brazil are drastically different from the items that would sum up my life here. Like, if I were to make a time capsule representing my entire stay in Sao Paulo, it would probably include the following:

1. Haden mango
2. pair of pink Havianas
3. pao de queijo, fresh-baked!
4. Tribalistas cd
5. cigarette-smelly clothes after long night of clubbing
6. a bottle of Malbec
7. a Petrobras access card
8. fake Chanel sunglasses
9. my couch, which would no doubt be the smallest item in the time capsule
10. Academia Reebok id card

If I were to make a time capsule summing up my life in Buenos Aires, it would have these items:

1. slab of meat
2. bottle of Malbec
3. pair of bronze high heels
4. tight-ass jeans
5. vodka-and-diet-coke cocktail
6. cheap hair accessories
7. hostel blanket
8. another slab of meat
9. dulce de leche ice cream cone
10. big fake leather purse

My life this summer in San Francisco would have the following:

1. muni pass
2. hostel staff tee-shirt
3. my dirty running shoes
4. green backpack
5. hand sanitizer
6. fro-yo with sprinkles
7. bling from H&M
8. Snow Patrol cd
9. stripey shirts: red and white, black and white, pink and white
10. cell phone with "say my name" polyphonic ringtone. awww yeah

But see, it's hard to sum up one's life with THINGS, isn't it?

Well, not that hard, actually. Please see above.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Didn't I see you in the dungeon last night?

After three months of working at the hostel, I finally went to a real hostel party last night. It was a combined going-away party for this guy Fabrice (French) and also a 21st birthday for Giovanni (Italian). I knew it was going to be a wild night when my extremely wasted managers cornered me and another receptionist and forced us to take tequila shots with them. The managers, for whatever reason, were the drunkest people at the party, which is, of course, awesome.

I was hanging around the bar downstairs, drinking white wine out of a plastic cup and eating cheese, when this man in full S&M leather regalia approached. I had seen him around the hostel in that get-up before but had always assumed he was on his way to a Hot Cops audition or something. I was wrong. I asked him, "So, what's the deal with the leather? And the whip?"

"Well," he said, matter-of-factly, "this is your typical gay-male-S&M outfit. I'm really into that scene, and San Francisco is a crazy city." He went on to explain that he was going to a bar that night called the Eagle, which has a REAL dungeon. He said he had seen quite a few hostel-goers in the dungeon a couple nights ago.

"There are a LOT of gay boys in this hostel, but I bet if I saw them the next day they'd pretend they were never even in the dungeon," he said. That is truly surprising news.

Leather Man went on to chat up Meghan and I, explaining the finer points of spanking and whipping, telling Meghan that she had "the most exotic-colored eyes," and telling me that I was "just precious."

"God, it's too bad you're not a guy," he said, wistfully.

"If I had a nickel for every time someone's said that to me..." I said.

In reality, I'd have one nickel.

So, the night kicked off with tequila and leather, then devolved into chocolate cake, wine, champagne, and me speaking mad Portuguese with a Brazilian dude in the lobby. I am normally totally socially paralyzed when it comes to speaking Portuguese with Brazilians (outside of Brazil, that is), but I guess a few cups of warm chardonnay helped me overcome my fears.

All in all, it was a good night and I'm glad I finally partook of the hostel party scene. It wasn't the same as my own traveling days, but it brought back some of the same feeling. E, finalmente falei portugues com um brasileiro!

Sunday, August 06, 2006


I was digging through my old sent mail folder, looking for something entirely different, when I stumbled across an email that I sent out to some of my girl friends way back in January. I was still in Sao Paulo then... weird. Anyway it's kind of fun, so here it is, lazily copied and pasted by yours truly:

ok ladies, so I really am idle at work and found this on a blog that I read (http://stephanieklein.blogs.com/greek_tragedy/ )
if you have as much free time as I do, fill it out...

Welcome to the new 2006 edition of getting to know your friends. What you are supposed to do is copy (not forward) this entire e-mail and paste it onto a new e-mail that you'll send. Change all the answers so they apply to you, and then send this to a whole bunch of people including the person who sent it to you. The theory is that you will learn a lot of little things about your friends.

1. What time did you get up this morning?
7:24 AM

2. Diamonds or pearls?
Diamonds... or cubic zirconia because, really, who can tell.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Harry Potter e o Calice de Fogo -- not dubbed, thank goodness

4. What is your favorite TV show?
America's Next Top Model right now... but the Daily Show usually... oh and currently obssessed with Little Britain

5. What did you have for breakfast?
Bread and cream cheese, a mango, a cup of coffee

6. What is your middle name?

7. What is your favorite food?
Frozen yogurt with sprinkles

8. What foods do you dislike?
Melon of any description, lamb (tastes like dirty socks), fruity compotes with meat dishes (i.e. grilled chicken with "mango chutney." any chutney, really, does not work for me)

9. Your favorite Potato chip?
EVEN COOLER ranch doritos

10. What is your favorite CD at the moment?
let's say favorite song -- right now, tribalistas, ja sei namorar

11. What kind of car do you drive?
.................. can i sing a brazilian car commercial jingle for you instead?

14 Favorite drink?
Diet coke for lunch, red wine (like argentine malbec) for din... or even, WITH din

15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would it be?
New Zealand, maybe Venezuela...

16.What color is your bathroom?
Bathroom Tile White

17. Favorite brand of clothing?
Anything from Anthropologie.. well, anything that doesn't involve weird, Victorian-esque corsets/fastenings or gauzy floor-length skirts
18.Where would you retire?
North Carolina, or Argentina... but I'd be sure to pick a NON-nazi retirement community

19 Favorite time of day?
getting home from work, reading before bed

21. Favorite sport to watch?
hockey, track (and some field)
22. Who do you least expect to send this back?

23. Person you expect to send it back first?

24. What laundry detergent do you use?
I don't do my own laundry.. but I suspect some brazilian brand with a name like BEZ or Ó or UAU

25. Coke or Pepsi?
just for the taste of it, diet coke

26. Are you a morning person or night owl?
morning person... please no early jokes

27. What size shoe do you wear?
8 to 9 in US, depending on how my feet are feeling. 39 in Brazil. Something else in Europe.

28. Do you have pets?
My rents have Dougal but I take no responsibility for his behavior

29. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with your friends?
I have 37 days of work left.

30. What (who) did you want to be when you were little?
Author and illustrator, wildly successful

31. Favorite Candy Bar?
Milky Way, duh. or else that new one with pretzels in it, oh man.

33. What are the different jobs you have had in your life?
research assistant/manual laborer/rat-poop-infested shed cleaner, koney dog slinger, pizza schlepper, research assistant/girl in charge of memorizing every IMF country code in the world, including the one for Christmas island, research assistant, front desk greeter/coffee maker, "paralegal"/indentured American servant for unfeeling British corporation

34. Favorite season?
Fall in Michigan before it starts to snow (approx. 2 weeks in September), spring in California

35. Nicknames you've had?
Cougar, Eteffi, MoneyBags

36. Piercings:
at one time, 5... now, 2

37. Eye color:

38. Ever been to Africa?

39. Ever been toilet papering?

40. Love someone so much it made you cry?

41. Been in a car accident?
No (no thanks to me!).. well actually I have backed into several things... but who says it was an ACCIDENT

42. What's a question no one has ever asked you?
"who died and made YOU queen bee?"

43. Favorite day of the week?
Saturday. Call me unoriginal but that's how it is.

44. Favorite restaurant?
No way I can pick just one... I'll say Kerby's Koney Island, even though that is a bold-faced lie. They do have good chicken greek salads though.

45. Favorite flower?
lilacs? i guess? daffodils are pretty

46. Favorite ice cream?
does yumi yogurt count?

47. Disney or Warner Brothers?
I owe Disney more of a thank-you for happy childhood memories but I suspect both of these companies are probably evil

48. Favorite fast food restaurant?
I like McDonalds ice cream....
49. What color is your bedroom carpet?
Hideous... i think some sort of industrial blue...

50. How many times did you fail your driver's test?

51. Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail?
My dad..

52. Which store would you choose to Max out your Credit Card?
Anthropologie. and why is Max capitalized?

53. What do you do most often when you are bored?
Read celebrity gossip online, get started on writing those memoirs, prank call the new president of Bolivia

54. Bedtime:
11 or so

56. Last person you went to dinner with?
Dougal, Nicola, Toby

57. Ford or Chevy?
chevy, in honor of my first car, patty

58. What are you listening to right now?
the airconditioner in my office, someone pulling paper towels out a dispenser, corporate phone ring
59. What is your favorite color?
i like them all actually. no beef with any particular color.. for now

60. Lake, Ocean or River?
Ocean SANS sharks. but I also like the Great Lakes, except for Lake Erie

61. How many tattoos do you have?

62. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
The omelet
63. How many people are you sending this email to?
Haven't decided yet

64. Favorite Cocktail?
Vodka and diet coke... and caipirinhas are good once in a while

65. Red or White wine?
Either, as long as it's not Brazilian

66. Where would you go for a girls or boys weekend get-a-way?

67. What do you want to be?
A good person

68. Republican or Democrat?
Ugh, some choice. I voted democrat

69. Favorite Family Vacation?
Outer Banks, North Carolina

Thursday, August 03, 2006

saudades de chiclete

When I was in Brazil, if you’ll recall, I was totally mystified by Carnaval music, in particular the appeal of the group Chiclete com Banana (“Gum With Banana”). By the end of my scarring Carnaval experience in Salvador, I had that song "Eu quero este amor" stuck in my head pretty much for 16 weeks afterwards, which I guess wasn’t completely unpleasant, but wasn’t as nice as having, say, “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off [To Have a Good Time]” on repeat in my brain.

Anyway, in my original Carnaval post (http://teffsinbrasil.blogspot.com/2006/03/vida-carnaval.html), I wrote about the main Chiclete com Banana song “Quero Chiclete,” and how I just didn’t get how people didn’t get sick of it. I mean, the body of the song goes like this: “Chiiiiiicleeeeeteeee, rouba, rouba!” over and over and over and over. And over. At Carnaval, I found the song supremely irritating because I felt like I was left out of some big Brazilian inside joke, and also because when it comes down to it, you can only hear any song 23248724749834925 times or so before it starts to grate on your nerves. Unless, of course, that song is “Say My Name,” by Destiny’s Child, but that is a special exception.

Well, a funny thing has happened since I have been back in the US. I actually downloaded “Quero Chiclete” from itunes and have been listening to it a lot. Like, a LOT. Either I am becoming Brazilian retroactively or else the nostalgia center in my brain is on overdrive, because I can’t get enough of this song. How did I never notice that cool electric guitar riff in the beginning? And how did I discount the lyrics so quickly?

Lambada nao e
Merengue nao e
Sabe qual e, qual e
Chiclete com banana!

Chiiiiiicleeeeeteeee! Rouba, rouba!

(Translation: It’s not lambada, it’s not merengue, you know what it is, Chiclete com Banana!)

I mean, I want to do karaoke to this song. God, that’s weird.

Dispatch from Havana

Big news in Cuba. Fidel is relinquishing power to his brother, Raul. This is huge, because Fidel has been sick before, has even fallen down and broken bones, but has never even hinted that he would delegate any power to Raul or anyone else in the government. It’s been understood for a while that Raul is Fidel’s heir apparent, but for Fidel to actually designate Raul as the one in charge is a big step, and a clear hint that Fidel is on his last legs.

Some of my friends asked me what I think is going to happen in Cuba now, and whether this is bad news or good news. I don’t pretend to be some sort of expert on Cuba, but I did spend a summer in Havana and have done a fair amount of research on the political situation there, so I guess I can offer my seriously amateur opinion on this.

I think that the fact that Fidel is stepping down is going to have a far-reaching impact in Cuba, but those changes won’t necessarily be positive, and almost certainly won’t lead to Cuba opening towards the United States (or vice versa). Raul, who is currently in charge of the Cuban military, has a history of being militant and authoritarian, is extremely unpopular with Cubans – they call him “la Chinita,” the little Chinese girl, because he is rumored to be gay and has slightly Asian features – and of course wants to preserve the Castro death grip on the Cuban government.

But before we can consider what kind of havoc Raul (and the Cuban military) may wreak on the island, we have to realize that Fidel, despite plenty of wishful thinking in Miami, is still alive and is still very much running the show, even from his sick bed. I read a little article in the Chronicle today in which a Cuban in Havana pointed out that Fidel is still micromanaging, pulling the strings behind the scenes, and Raul knows that. Perhaps that explains why Raul has yet to make a public appearance since Fidel’s announcement.

I really wonder what is happening on the ground in Cuba. I know that people are probably extremely anxious and excited, probably torn over whether they want Fidel to die now or not. The thing is, although most Cubans that I met in Havana are very disillusioned with Fidel and his policies, they have come to accept that he has determined their fate as a country for the last 47 years. Whether they agree or disagree, they are so used to him being in charge and managing the day-to-day running of the island that it’s hard for them to imagine anyone else in power.

Plus, the Cuban government is big on fear-mongering – think Fox News times 100 – and over the years has convinced most of the populace that the United States military is waiting to invade the island and annex it. That scenario might have been plausible a century ago, but clearly, invading Cuba and making it the fifty-first state is pretty low on the Bush administration’s agenda. However, a lot of Cubans genuinely believe that they are under constant threat of invasion from the U.S., because the Cuban press reports as much. So, I imagine that Cubans are probably extremely nervous about the immediate future. From their perspective, an unpopular public figure is taking the reins from a man who has been in complete control since 1959, the government is vulnerable, and the U.S. is eager to swoop in and make Cuba into Puerto Rico II.

Stay tuned to see what happens when Raul actually takes over. This should be interesting.

Separated At Birth....?

Okay, I am only posting this because my mom saw these pictures and said I had to put it on my blog. So, I was messing around with my built-in computer camera the other week and took a goofy picture of myself looking up toward the window. Then, the next week, I borrowed the DVD "The 40 Year-Old Virgin" from my cousin Michael. As soon as I saw the cover of the DVD, I cringed. Let me stress that this was NOT intentional.


Monday, July 31, 2006


Snopping = shopping + snobbiness.

Anyone who has ever been into an upscale mall is familiar with the concept of snopping. It's the idea that not everyone is good enough to enter the hallowed halls of say, Bebe, and that those who work in the shop, let's call them The Chosen, have the right, even duty to remind lowly shoppers that they are ugly, fat, and probably poor.

The other day, I was cruising around the San Francisco Shopping Center (Centre?), a multistory mall that includes a healthy mix of mid-level snoppery (Club Monaco) and shameless ho-clothes-stores (Wet Seal). I was in search of a nice summer dress, since I don't have one, and I went into BCBG Max Azria. I love BCBG dresses -- I have bought quite a few in the past and they have never let me down -- but I am aware of the semi-snoppy vibe of the place. For example, they generally only display sizes 2, 4, and 6 on the racks and keep the rest in the back, which is just silly.

So anyway, I was walking around, looking at pretty dresses on the racks, minding my own business, when a skinny woman with a scarf tied around her neck approached me. She was clearly a manager, since I had seen her training two girls when I first walked in. She smiled sappily at me and said, "If you're having trouble finding your size, we have additional sizes in the back."

"Oh," I said, shocked. "Uh, thanks."

It took me a few seconds to process that this lady was snarkily implying that I was a bigger gal who needed LARGER than a size 6 -- the IDEA! Actually, I wear a 4, and I don't know what crack this lady was smoking by suggesting otherwise, but here's the thing. Even if I was a size 8 and had somehow managed to be crane-lifted out of my house that morning and wedged through the doors to BCBG by my nurse, I could probably ask a sales associate for my size (assuming that BCBG carries such ridiculously outsized items). Ya know? It was so obvious that this bitchy lady just wanted to remind me that I was not skinny by Max Azria's standards, and she needed other people to hear it.

But, screw her, because I ended up buying a dress for 50% off, size SMALL. Eat your heart out, snop.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

NO viva italia

I probably shouldn't take this out on the whole country of Italy, but I am tempted to rescind my previous "viva Italia" post because of something that happened to me on Monday morning. Okay okay, I guess my support of Italy still stands, because I know a lot of great Italians, and there are bad apples in every bushel or whatever, but jeez.

I should have known trouble was coming when an Irish guy who was checking out of the hostel on Monday morning told me that there was an Italian dude in his room who had come in the past two mornings at 3 AM, turned on all the lights, blasted music, ate chips, and then told everyone else in the room that if they wanted sleep, they should "go to a hotel." Then, I should have seen it coming even more when everyone in the hostel checked out at the normal time (10 am) except for ONE person, an Italian guy.

An hour after checkout time, the Italian cruised down to reception, reeking of booze, and tossed his key on the desk in front of me. "I want-a to check-a out," he said. I said, quite politely, "Okay, you're a little late so we're going to have to keep your security deposit." (That's the rule if you check out an hour late). That's when he flew off the handle and started screaming at me and leaning across the desk, which made me think he was going to slap me. Help-a!

Within the next two minutes, this angry Italian screamed at me to shut up ("SHUT-a UP-a!!"), accused the "Messican girl" (the housecleaner) of throwing away his "lens contact" and said we owed him $30, mocked my voice, and paced back and forth angrily in front of the desk, as if he was debating whether to jump over the divider. I started shaking and got my manager. Of course, the guy started screaming at my manager, but still directed his wrath mostly in my direction.

Eventually, we gave him back his deposit just to make him go away, although if it had been my decision, we would have called the police, or at least fake called the police to freak him out, and kept his $10 deposit. What a dick. But, to my credit, I maintained my cool and said, "There's no need for you to speak to me so rudely," when I could have said, "go f***-a yourself-a." I resisted.

After he left, I was all shaken up and my voice was quavering when I helped other guests for about 20 minutes, but I got over it. It's an odd experience being screamed at by a complete (presumably non-insane) stranger. Like, the other day when I was walking to work and a crazy man called me a bitch as I walked by, I just rolled my eyes and kept walking, because the dude's clearly nuts (plus he called the girl after me a bitch, too, so it wasn't just me). But when someone (outside of your family) who doesn't appear to have lost their marbles yells at you and makes fun of you, it's severely off-putting.

Later, the Irish guy who had complained about the Italian to me came back into the hostel to pick up his luggage, and I told him what had happened. "Yeah, I'm not surprised," he said. "Don't worry, one of these days he's going to get the s*** kicked out of him." Comforting.