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I miss old school rap.

You know that thing when your temperature starts fluctuating for no reason. Like, you’re perfectly content in you sweatshirt then it starts getting hella hot, so you take it off. Except in a few minutes your cold again. Or even worse when you’re cold and everyone else is warm. Why can’t we all just agree on one exact body temperature? Life would be much easier that way.

I went into an internet café and bought just a Coke. Then I paid the $0.85 cent charge with a five dollar bill because I didn’t have anything else. Is that a little obnoxious? I feel like it is.

It’s really sad about the dolphins in Japan. Whenever I see a dolphin, I think about that song from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and then I want to hum it or sing it. But not everyone likes that. Their loss.

I hate the whole “let’s hate on celebrities because we have nothing better to do” thing. Like, get a life. All they do (most of them) is perform for our entertainment. They make us laugh, cry, dance, smile, etc. So why the hell can we only find things wrong with them? You don’t go around yelling at regular people for dressing a little strangely or for having a somewhat rocky love life. If you do, well, I guess this doesn’t really apply to you. But seriously, they’re people with feelings. And they’re not perfect, so they’re going to make mistakes. Mind your own damn business. And don’t even get me started on paparazzi.

Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.

Okay, so I know I have small ears. You don’t have to tell me. It’s interesting when people are like, “OMG YOUR EARS ARE SO TINY!” Really? I didn’t notice even though I’ve been living with them my whole life. It’s like, “Whoa, Chanel, you’re short!” Gee, thanks. I mean, that one makes a little more sense, because I get explanations for that. People don’t expect me to be short, whatever that means. I guess I just have one of those big personalities or something. But my ears? Seriously? Not only am I reminded every time I try to use ear buds, I get people telling me more often than necessarily. Trust me, I’m not going to forget my ears are small. Let it go.

Does the male gender realize how hard it is to be female? I don’t think so.

There are a lot of movies with plots based off of Romeo and Juliet. Why not switch it up or something? Do something based on Othello, or King Leer, or…Um, As You Like It. I don’t know how good they’d be, but it’s the thought that counts.

It’s bullshit that in elementary school, we’d always get to make Mom cards for Mother’s Day, but by Father’s Day, we were already out of school. Dad’s important too.

I wonder if Dakota Fanning plans on going to college. I sure hope so.

I keep carrying Coke cans home because they have that Six Flags “pay kids’ price” on them. They’re piling up on top of our fridge. My parents are probably a little annoyed by now. I guess that means they better just take me and my buddies to Six Flags.

Sometimes I just sit back and think about what our twenty year high school reunion’s gonna be like. It’s a daunting concept.

My mom dissed the saying “forever and a day” the other day when it came up in a song on the radio. She says it’s dumb because it doesn't make sense, only she said it in a lot more words than that. I told her she was missing the romantic poetry of it. She just laughed at me. That’s English majors for you.

Interview #Idon't even know anymore

1. Describe your favorite pet OR if you've never had a pet you liked, describe what your favorite pet would be/be like.
That’s a horrible question. That’s like asking a parent which one’s their favorite child. I’ve had fish, cats, a dog, and even a turtle. I love the cats I’ve had, because I love cats in general. They’re awesome companions. I even loved Werewolf, the jealous cat who peed on everything when I was born because I was intruding on her territory. I have to give it to her, she was there first. Pinky was awesome because he was tougher than a lot of dogs five times his size, he was a roaming cat who eventually ditched us for another owner, but then came back to say goodbye before he died. Neo is still with us, Pinky hated his ass. Neo’s a bit chubby, he’s about ten years old, still acts like he’s two, and comes when called (sometimes). Okay, who am I kidding, he looks over reluctantly when called. And Ruby is my Jack Russell-Collie mix who is a super spaz and kind of a cripple. Neo pretends to hate her, but he really doesn’t. He’s not fooling anyone.

2. Where do you feel safest?
I feel safest when I’m at home with my mom, dad, Neo, and Ruby. I like us all relaxing in the living room watching TV together because I know even if disaster strikes, I know where everyone is and that we’re together. If I knew the world was going to explode, I’d just make sure we’re all together before it did.

3. Write a CREATIVE excuse (absence) note for the attendance office.
Dear Attendance Office,
I know, it’s getting tedious, these excuses. I mean, I know I miss school more than you’d like. Then again, you’d like us never to miss school ever because school is our life right? And you care about our futures or whatever. It has nothing to do with money, right? Of course not! The thing is, like our school, we’re kind of broke right now. And I’m tired of teachers getting mad at me because I don’t have the right color pen. But I wasn’t sure how to get new ones, because none of my family wants to pay for the pickiness of teachers, especially not me out of my own pocket. So I attempted to rob a stationary store. Except when I got there, it was closed for renovations, something I didn’t count into my calculations. And my mom expected the heist to last a couple hours or so, so I was kind of stuck sitting in front of the closed stationary store. On top of missing school, I didn’t bring anything to do, because I figured I’d be robbing the store. I really wish I used that time to do that darn study guide for my English class. But, you understand, right?
Chanel Tilghman

4. If you could have as much of any one food item--not a full meal--and it wouldn't count against you as unhealthy, what would you pick? You could pick an ingredient, like sugar, and all sugar would not count against you, or you could pick a finished item like fudge, in which case you could eat all the fudge you wanted but brownies, chocolate bars, etc would still count against you.
CHOCOLATE. Because I love it and it makes me happy. I wouldn’t eat too much, probably no more than I eat now, because then, it’d lose its value. But yeah, chocolate. Or sushi, because I know fish has all that mercury in it or whatever, but it’s just SO GOOD, I can’t stop eating it. So probably sushi, because honestly, chocolate isn’t nearly as bad for you in the long run.

5. If you could punch any one character from a book or film, who would you punch?
That military guy from Avatar, because he’s an asshole and has no conscience and needs to be punched in the face a gazillion times forever. But then again, probably not, because he’d kick my ass in a heartbeat. He kind of scares me, actually.
6. You're given an empty storefront and startup money. What kind of business would you open?
An animal shelter! Because we don’t have enough of those and I love animals. Or a catering business for my dad, because he wants to start one and he’s a damn good cook. Or an event planning place, because that’s always been one of those careers that sounds like fun but I’m not sure I’d ever have time to pursue. OH WAIT. If the storefront was like, huge, like JoAnn’s or Lucky, I’d turn it into a roller rink, because the one nearest to here is like forty minutes away, and that’s unacceptable.

7. What 5 things would you like to do before you die?
I’d like to travel the world, mostly Europe, Africa, and Japan, and see how beautiful all those sites are for myself. I’d take my mom to Ireland for sure. I’d like to earn at least a million dollars in my lifetime. I’d really like to be in a a movie, preferably with Meryl Streep, Tina Fey, Emma Watson, or Johnny Depp. I’d like to perform on Broadway, most likely as Mimi from Rent (<3). And I think I’d like to go skydiving, but that’s kind of clichéd. I’d like to adopt twins, I think. Because I’ve always wanted twins, but we have none in our family, so the genetic likelihood of that happening is very slim, and there’s always orphans in the world unfortunately.

8. If you could go back in time to change any one historical event, what would it be, and how would changing it affect the world moving forward FROM THAT POINT OR if you could un-invent something, what would it be and why would you un-invent it?
I would un-invent the atom bomb, because honestly, look at what it’s done and what it’s lead to. We don’t need bombs, let alone huge powerful nuclear ones that incinerate all of everything for miles. It’s such a frightening concept, and the fact that nuclear weapons have gotten into the wrong hands is really just scary.
9. Write down your top 5 favorite lyrics/quotes and explain why you like them/picked them (and give any analysis that will help us).

10. You have a week to spend $10,000--how would you spend it?
I’d buy an iPod Touch, first of all, because ohmygosh I’ve been wanting one for ages. I’d get better Bieber tickets than I have, like floor seats in front of the stage plus a backstage pass. Actually wait, I wonder how much I’d have to pay to rent JBeebz for a week…hmmm…

11. Pick a poster/piece of art from Mr. Ross' walls and write about why you picked it. Do you love/like/hate it? How does it make you feel?
There’s a painting that’s not hanging up, put is sort of leaning against the wall hiding behind the TV, sort of laying there sadly. It looks like a replica of one of those super old paintings of ballet classes. I’m a dancer, so naturally it speaks to me. And I love the feeling of looking back on old-fashioned ballet classes where all the girls wore tutus and the teachers were always elegant, elderly, and had strange European accents accompanied by a super strict teaching method. I sort of wish that’s how ballet classes still were. It’s just a really pretty painting in general.
12. Describe your favorite piece of clothing/accessory and why you like it (hat, shirt, shoes, etc) OR if your house was burning down, what 3 non-living things would you grab?


It was kind of difficult to decide which painting to write about. Only some of them caught my attention as far as being surreal goes. Others, I just thought ‘that looks like a simple picture of a house to me, nothing out of the ordinary.’ But I like the one with the painting of the landscape outside the window that’s placed right in front of the window right where the painted landscape would be in real life. Wow, that was kind of difficult to put into words. But you get the point. I like it because it makes you do a double take. I know I did. When we first looked at them in class, I was like, ‘what’s with the three brown sticks pointing into nowhere?’ But then, with a closer look, I realized what it was, which to me, seemed pretty cool. Because his paintings are like that, they make you think, and sort of rethink yourself. So yeah, that’s sort of why I picked this painting out of all of them. And it’s pretty. :3

As far as what it symbolizes or represents, thinking this up was much easier than thinking up why the painting appealed to me. The fact that the painting blends in with its surroundings sort of symbolizes to me how art is a part of life. The tree and the rest of the landscape painted on the canvas blend in with the real landscape in the background despite there being a window between them. The window is open, making it easy for the painting to blend with its background. Perhaps that symbolizes that art really only makes sense to those with an open mind, that it can only ever be truly appreciated by those willing to question and rethink themselves (wow, repeat analyzations! :o), and to take a double take. Also, if you look at the painting far away, it just looks like what I thought it was at first: three sticks pointing into nowhere and a window opening onto a seemingly simple pasture. But when you get closer, you see what it truly is. This seems to symbolize how if you only glance at art, and don’t take time to actually think about it and appreciate it, instead you just walk by, then you’re not really seeing it for what it is. But if you get closer, if you contemplate it for a little while, it opens up a whole new door (or window =D), and you’re able to see the artist’s true intentions and appreciate the hidden beauty of the art.

Apr. 14th, 2010

Smile On - The Mae Shi Band/Anthems
Okay, so this is really just a happy song. I heard it on a commercial and was like "whoa! I just have to sing along" It's got such a positive message, and I think it definitely describes me when I'm having the best time with friends or family. When "everything is in its place and I can't stop the smile on my face" I know that I can just forget about everything and smile on. It's not easy to come by, that super strong feeling of happiness where nothing is able to get you down. You have to be with exactly the right people who all have to be feeling and acting exactly the right way...it's like a special recipe almost. But once I get it right, I'm "happy in this place."

Whaddya Want From Me - Adam Lambert
Okay, so yeah, don't hate on Glambert, I love him. This song is a really chill song that I can put on and close my eyes and just relax if I'm having a bad day or I'm super stressed out. I thought it was just that, but then I realized that it sort of describes the relationship obstacles I have with a close friend of mine. I really care about her, but sometimes it doesn't seem like she returns the favor. And she's sort of an impulsive person, so I'm kind of always worrying about her. I just want to tell her to "slow it down" but then there's a chance she might get mad at me for trying to help. But she defintely reaches out for help at the same time. So I always want to ask her "whaddya want from me?" Sometimes I have to tell myself "just don't give up, I'm workin' it out" which sounds kind of cheesy but I do just want to give up sometimes and stop trying so hard.

The Cell Block Tango - Chicago
So this is that song from Chicago where the murderesses all sing about how they killed their lying, cheating, son-of-a-bitch husbands, and I just think it's damn awesome. You know the one that goes "he had it comin', he had it comin', he only had himself to blame." It's always been one of my favorite musical numbers. No, I haven't gone around shooting men for being dumb. If I did that, they'd all be dead. Hahahaha, no but seriously. This song is just so damn awesome, because badass gorgeous girls are awesome, but it's also super empowering. They didn't just take crap from their men, they fought back and aren't ashamed of it. Yeah, it's a little feminist of me, but I don't really care. Suck it, Mark. ANYWAY, I think if I'd been living in the roaring 20s, the era Chicago's set in, I probably would've ended up in jail for killing a no-good guy cuz I don't put up with crap, especially from the male species. My friends would probably agree, knowing me.

Where I've been - Hairspray
Yep! Another musical. I love them, you should know that by now. Anyway, this song is super pretty, especially when Queen Latifah sings it. It's basically about racial struggles, and it's easy to relate to for me, being biracial. It's also really nice to sing along with. It describes how I feel about being multiracial, and how life is sort of different for me than for others. Even nowadays, there are some people who are in awe at the thought of a bi or multi racial family. "There's a struggle that we have yet to win." But there's also "a pride in our hearts to lift us up until tomorrow." I'm very proud of who I am. And it's nice to have a song that says so.



Oh my gosh Megan’s such a bitch to her pets. Okay, now to the actual blog. My style throughout the years has fluctuated quite a bit. I think I’ll stick with hairstyles, because they’ve always been pretty iconic as far as me aging goes. Being biracial, my hair has always been a big deal. It’s curly, and we’re not talking loose curls you can drag a comb through and be done with. We’re talking frizz and tight curls and mass so large I could be my own Diana Ross just by waking up in the morning. My hair has broken brushes and trapped all sorts of pollen and plants. When I was little, my mom had no idea what to do with it. You can’t comb through this hair, not unless you want a jungle piled on top of my head. And you can’t use just any products. The problem is, what products were we supposed to use? My mom had to go to black hairstylists and black friends and black family, just to figure out how to get my hair into a braid or into a ponytail or out of a hair tie, because those thing have been lost in my hair before. When I was little, I was not afraid to let my hair flow free. Stick a headband in it, and I was done. But as I got to be seven and eight, I wanted ponytails or braids, and the hair on my scalp would be slicked back with massive amounts of pomade and gel just to prevent those frizzies from escaping. I wanted to look like the other girls. In middle school, that’s when the whole hair crisis really started up. It was sixth grade. I wore my hair down and loud and proud. I swear, it has a life of its own. Anyway, and I’m not even going to bother not naming names, I’ve told this story before, Isaiah Smith, who was always mean to me that year for no reason whatsoever, called me an “Alien Head” because my hair was so big. I really took that to heart. It didn’t help that all the other girls I knew had sleek straight hair. They had the hair that everyone wanted to play with at sleepovers. Then the next day, they’d wake up and everything’d be fine. They’d have no frizz, no matts, their hair didn’t look a mess from moving around on the pillow. They didn’t have to cart around a separate bag for hair products whenever they stayed a night away from home. I remember one time I let a girl braid my hair at school, because it was so rare that anyone would want to play with my hair. I came home and my mom was so pissed. She told me not to let it happen again. Why? Because she was the one who had to get all the matts and naps and tangles out. Seventh grade was where we discovered the magic of flat irons. Straighten my hair, I could wear it a good couple days without having to worry about spending half an hour trying to do my hair in the morning. I could even wear it down, something that didn’t happen very often anymore. I got so many compliments on it, and I felt like one of the girls with the pretty straight hair. Until it rained. Oh, and don’t even get me started on swimming. I wanted to look like a mermaid with long flowing hair. But I had to put it up to prevent too much chlorine damage. And even then I still got frizz. Eighth grade was more on and off straightening. Albany’s African-American population is lacking, we all know that, and my crowd of friends was definitely more white than anything else. I’d ‘act much too white’ for the black girls. So it was difficult to relate hair-wise to any of my friends. It was only until very recently that I realized how much curly hair is envied. But my good hair days are so less frequent than others. When people compliment my curls, and giggle at the simple entertainment that is gently pulling my curls and watching them spring back into place over and over, I always have to remind them that they don’t have to deal with it in the morning. If they did, they would see why my appreciation for it lacks sometimes. But I'd never get it relaxed or permanently straightened, though I have considered that. I know some girls who've done that and never saw their curls again. I don't hate my hair. It's just frustrating sometimes. It sucks having to argue with your hair to get it to do what you want. Some girls have to fight with their hair; I’ve been very close to declaring war on mine. But with a shitload of conditioner, and sometimes other various hair products (you should see me makeshift vanity. It’s covered in them), even biracial hair has to surrender eventually.
1. Do you believe in karma?
I do believe in karma, actually. I’m not sure I’m an avid follower, for lack of a better word. But I’m very superstitious. And I’d like to believe what goes around comes around because that would be the world’s way of justice, I guess.

2. What one current event in any aspect of world news do you think is being most neglected or underrepresented?
I definitely think the issue between Tibet and China. I don’t know much about it, but I know a lot of people feel really strongly about it. I wish I did know more, and that’s what bugs me. If it were being represented in the news enough, I would know all about it. I do follow a lot of the news, so it’s upsetting to know that I don’t know really anything about this issue.

3. If you could have any one superpower, what would it be and why?
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been asked this question. And I wasn’t able to answer it for a while because I really just didn’t know. But a couple years ago, I figured it out. If I could have any one superpower, I’d be able to turn into any animal, like Beast Boy from the Teen Titans. If I wanted to fly, I’d turn into a bird, if I wanted super speed, a cheetah, if I wanted super strength, an elephant or a dinosaur, if I wanted to be invisible, I’d turn into something really small like an ant or a fly, and if I wanted to be able to breathe underwater, voila! I’m a fish! =D And just for the hell of it, I’d probably turn into various other random animals like cats and peacocks and dolphins. It’s like a bunch of awesome superpowers wrapped up into one.

4. If you could invite any 5 famous people or characters to your birthday party, who would you pick?
Hmm…that’s a pretty difficult question. Going to dinner is very different from inviting them to your birthday party. Probably Johnny Depp, just because my mother’s obsessed and would probably hate me forever if I wasted such an opportunity. And along with J.D. would have to be Helena Bonham Carter, because she definitely knows how to have a good time. And we can’t have Helena without Tim Burton, who is just damn awesome. Um, that’s three. I’d invite Emma Watson because I love her. Like, you just don’t even know. And, um, the Beatles, because I adore them, and they definitely count as one person…because I say so, that’s why.

5. If you could live in any film or book, what would you select? Would you want to be one of the characters, or would you want to be you (introduced as a new character)?
Um, the magical world of Harry Potter, no doubt. I’d be me, and I’d be in Ravenclaw, and I’d be a floater and friends with my favorites from all houses and I’d be hella happy like you don’t even know. I have considered the Star Trek universe too, only because flying ships like the Enterprise and going to Starfleet Academy would just be way too cool. I’d wear a red uniform for engineering, just in case you were curious.

6. Who of your friends would make the best president? I can't wait to know why.

7. I used to always trip out that my strawberry Chapstick tasted so strongly like strawberries (and why was I eating so much Chapstick?). Then I realized that it wasn't the taste that was strong; it was the smell. They say that smell is the strongest sense (and I agree). What is your favorite smell? USE CONNOTATIONS, FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE, OR ANALOGY in your (butter) saucey answer.
I think my favorite smell is Christmas. Which, for your information, is a smell. It’s a combination of everything from spicy cinnamon to the fresh, familiar tang of pine needles, from the warm aroma of freshly baked chocolate cookies and apple pie, to the plastic-y yet pleasant scent of wrapping paper, Scotch tape, and cardboard boxes. Oh, and don’t forget the peppermint. This menagerie of scents comes together into one beautiful bouquet known as the holidays. It brings back different memories for everyone, and the ones it brings back for me are all very pleasant. It’s great to wake up to a house smelling like Christmas. It just makes me really happy.

8. Ignoring our budget crisis: If you could invent a new class for AHS to teach, what would it be?
Chivalry 101. Haha, no, just kidding. But it couldn’t hurt. I think ballroom dancing would be super fun. Or Zoology, and we’d get to visit animals in nature preserves and zoos and stuff and have like hands on education and pet panda cubs or…liger cubs…or baby penguins. And there’d be a bunch of field trips to places all over the world, and the end-of-the-year final would be to design a habitat for an endangered species in the proper environment suited for them. So, say for instance, you were assigned…um, a moose. You’d design a mountainous exhibit. And then the class would vote on the best and most creative, innovative, and environmentally friendly one and that would get submitted to zoos and stuff and that would be way cool. Yeah, Zoology. And it would be an ROP class b/c freshmen just aren’t cool enough for it.

9. Identify any symbol from any film ever (pick your favorite if you can think of many from which to choose). Identify what it means and why you picked it.
I can’t think of many movies I’ve seen that have symbols in them. I mean, I’m sure I’ve seen plenty, but when I get put on the spot and told to think of something, I just can’t. I adore musicals, but if you tell me to list every single one I’ve ever even heard of just on the spot, I’ll blank after like two. Anyway, I’ll pick the strawberry(ies) from Across the Universe. It represented Jude’s artistic muse and how once he’d fallen in then out of love, it all just falls to mush. Red, juicy, messy mush. And then it becomes the logo used at Sadie’s record company. In the end, when everyone’s back together, it goes from being a symbol of mess to a symbol of unity and love. Strawberry fields forever, breh! <3

10. Will humankind still exist in 300 years?
I think we’ll be around for a while. We’ll have been drastically changed as a race by then. That’s for sure.

11. What is the most embarrassing song to ever grace your IPOD? Why was it there, may I ask?
Uhm, probably Mandy by the Jonas Brothers. I don’t even know why it’s there. I bought it back when I adored them, which was for a really short time. Like really really short. And it’s a song from before they were famous and cute, and it’s really dumb, but I just can’t bring myself to delete it, even though I just never listen to it. I always skip over it if it comes on in Shuffle mode.

12. Did you support your answers?
Sure did. Except for this one, because how do you support this answer? Besides, supporting the other ones of course.

Stream of Consciousness v.2

I haven't seen a horrific escalator accident since I watched the fourth Final Destination movie. The floor blew up and the girl fell in and she was all mutilated and grinded to a pulp and it was gross and awesome at the same time. Hmm pulp. That reminds me of orange juice. I used to not like oranges or anything, because my mom would slice them. Then I found out I liked them when I peeled them, so that’s how I eat them now. I don’t like pulp in my orange juice. When we get orange juice sometimes we get two separate cartons because my mom likes the pulp, but I don’t. Lalalala, my mom’s playing video games in the living room. She’s been playing all day, it’s pretty funny. She went to the store then came home and started playing. I was helping because sometimes she kind of struggles, but then I fell asleep because I was tired. Yesterday I roller skated six miles with my Roller Derby girls from Point Isabel to the Richmond Marina and back. So yeah, I napped, and then she took a nap too, and then took Ruby, our dog, for a walk, and then came back and started playing again. I woke up and she found some more cheese in the game. That’s really exciting. Okay, not that exciting, but cheese is difficult to come by so far. I like cheese. Swiss used to be my favorite, but I think I had too much of it and now it’s just sort of ‘meh’ to me. I like extra sharp cheddar. Mmmm, I haven’t had dinner yet, and now I’m hungry for some grilled cheese. I’m going to ask if my mommy can make me some. Yeah I still call her mommy. Only not to her face. Ahahahaha. Don’t hate. I can hear the music from the game in the background. Even though it’s supposed to be silent. It’s really difficult to find a silent place. If I want to distract myself or focus or whatever I usually listen to iTunes or my iPod, but that isn’t silence either. I live right by the police station/fire station/city hall, so that doesn’t help either. But it was under construction for hella long and it was only just recently put back into use. I like being able to hear the sirens and the intercom and the firemen talking on the intercom and the noises of the station. It makes me feel important, like I’m in on something before anyone else is. We can hear the sirens going and which direction they go in, and we’re like ‘oh, something’s going on out there’ and then me and my parents just go back to whatever we were doing. That sounds so suburban. Really? I’m only halfway done? That’s ridiculous. My dog is chewing this bone under the table I’m typing at and she’s being really loud about it. She’s always loud about it. Oops, I stopped writing for a couple seconds. I just sort of blanked. I really wish I could be doing stuff I want to do right now. Hey, the Oscars are on tonight! Cool. I had an itch. Anyway, I don’t want to do my chem homework. I mean, I do, because I like science, but I haven’t looked at it all weekend, and I remember looking at it on Thursday in class and being like ‘I don’t get this, this is bullshit.’ And my partner, who’s also my biffle because Mr. McNally is cool and lets us pick our lab partners with his approval, she doesn’t get it either probably. So we’re both going to come to class tomorrow like ‘did you get the homework? No? Me neither.’ Hey, maybe my dad can help me. But he’s at work. So I’ll just have to procrastinate some more. I don’t think I’m going to do my math. I’ll do it in service tomorrow. There’s this really cool painting on the wall in front of me. It’s of this old fashioned sailing ship and it’s really detailed. It’s probably one of my favorite paintings because my grandpa painted it. He was sort of a famous painter back in the day. He used to cart my mom to art shows/fairs all the time. His name was Tom Garvin, which is a hella Irish name. We’re so Irish it’s ridiculous. Yeah, be jealous. I wanna get dual citizenship, but I don’t think I can. My mom can though, but she hasn’t yet. I still want to go someday and see the country of part of my ancestry. I don’t want to go to El Salvador, another country of my ancestry; because I’ve heard it’s a really dangerous, violent, gang-related place. I actually do want to go, but at the same time not really. And I want to go to Africa, but my dad doesn’t know what part of Africa our family’s from. He says I should ask my grandma, but I won’t see her until August. I talked on the phone with her when she asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I still haven’t gotten that present in the mail yet…

My Ideal Life

My ideal life would be preceded by eight more years of education after high school. It sounds insane, I know. In my ideal life I’d study genetics at Stanford, and hopefully travel abroad in England or Ireland, and then head off to medical school for four more years, or two years depending on the degree. After school, and an inevitable internship, I’d get a job as a clinical geneticist, a doctor who specializes in, diagnoses, and treats medical diseases and disorders, because I love genetics. Seeing as how this occupation comes with a rather large salary, I’d use my vacation days to travel the world and see all the places I’ve always wanted to. I’d spend a lot of time in Europe. And being a doctor, I’d have more control over my hours and work schedule, which would mean plenty of time for traveling.

I’d wait a while to get married, somewhere in my late twenties or mid thirties. I’d have met my boyfriend in college, when I was studying abroad in the UK. He’d be intelligent to the point where our debates end with both of us agreeing with the other’s stand point, so that our positions on the discussion would have switched, and he wouldn’t smoke. We’d become very good friends and would keep in contact after graduating. After dating for a year and living together for two, he’d propose. The wedding would take about a year to plan, because I’m ridiculous like that. It’d be huge. It would be in the Mottisfont Abbey rose garden (not gonna lie, I just looked it up, but it is absolutely gorgeous) in England. My name wouldn’t go with his last name perfectly, but it’d be a nice and a little quirky combination.

We’d live in the Berkeley Hills, because I figure I’ll always need to live close to home, in a modern and geometric property with a gorgeous view of the bay. There’d be a koi pond, fountain, small swimming pool, and a brightly colored garden in the backyard. The walls in the kitchen and dining room would be mostly floor to ceiling windows, and we’d have a big and open kitchen so my hubby and I could cook together (we'd share cleaning duties, but he'd have to do the dishes. I hate doing dishes.) Our furniture would be mostly classic, old-fashioned and antique, except in the large-windowed rooms, where it’d be modern to match the style of the house. We’d have a bunch of pets; like three cats, two dogs, a rat, a snake, and a macaw parrot, plus the koi fish of course. I love animals, so pets would be a must. The cats would only tolerate the dogs because they had to, and they’d be too apprehensive about the massive koi fish to try and eat them. Instead they’d just sit around watching them a lot, their tails twitching all the time. There’d also be a cat at the clinic (by now, I’ve opened one of my own) who is welcomed by everyone who knows him and wanders around to keep track of everyone. Back at home, we’d have a German Shepard/Collie mix and an Australian Shepard mix, both adopted from a shelter. Both would be well-trained and would playfully chase the cats around the house. They’d also be almost hyperactive and afraid of fireworks. The rat would always sit on my shoulder when I’m lounging around the house and the parrot would be trilingual (English, Spanish because I speak it, and French because my husband speaks it. We’re both learning from each other, as always). The houses’ electricity is solar and wind powered. My car would be a black or silver Porsche with a hybrid and Earth-friendly engine. Because, by then, all cars would have hybrid engines. We'd also have a sailboat and would take weekend family fishing trips

Before having a child of our own, we’d foster twin boys, and eventually adopt them. Later, we’d have one child. If it’s a girl, I’d name her Calypso Evangeline. If it’s a boy, I’d name him Mickey (short for Michael) Bartholomew. They’d go to private school, and they’d all learn how to ride horses back at our summer home in Ireland. The girl(s) would go to hockey and softball practices, and the boys would take ballet and tap classes. They’d all play an instrument and be serious overachievers who love to learn. I wouldn’t get along very well with my husband’s mother, but his father would be a laugh. And we’d see both my parents all the time, as they’d only live a few miles away. But that’s just how I’d like it.


Sushi has been around for centuries. More than anything, it is an art form. An art form that just happens to be edible. Sushi is a food with a broad range of choices. Even before I could use chopsticks, sushi has always held a special place in my appetite. I have been consuming this ‘art’ since I was little, and I still have not tried every type. I cannot begin to give an explanation worthy of this art unless I break it down.
I. Tools: Very often, a chef will use his hands to create sushi. But he can’t do it all like that. So he’ll use these tools to help him.
a) Hocho- knives used for slicing fish and rolls
b) Makisu- bamboo mat used for shaping sushi rolls
c) Ryoribashi- cooking chopsticks
d) Shamoji- wooden paddle used for handling and shaping sushi rice
e) Makiyakinabe- rectangular omelette pan (believe it or not, omelettes are a very common ingredient in sushi-making)
f) Oshizushihako- a wooden rectangular mold used specifically for making Oshi sushi.

II. Ingredients: A sushi roll is like a house. It’s not really complete unless it has all its components. These ingredients are the components of sushi.

a) Rice, the foundation –
Sushi rice consists of small-grained rice, vinegar, salt, sugar, and sometimes even sake. It is moldable, making it a versatile part of sushi.
b) Seaweed, the walls –
Also known as nori. It is a type of algae that is farmed, processed, toasted, and packaged in paper-thin sheets. It is commonly used as the outer skin of many sushi rolls. It is also a very tasty snack by itself.
c) Fish, the roof –
The most important part of sushi! There are hundreds of different kinds used. A few common ones are tuna (or maguro), yellowtail (or hamachi), and salmon (or sake, not to be confused with the alcoholic rice beverage which is also very common in Japan). Some fish is grilled, but most is consumed completely raw. Raw fish is frozen before consuming, which kills all the bacteria. Fish eggs, or roe, are also an ingredient frequently used in sushi-making.
d) Fillings, the furniture-
These usually consist of pickled vegetables like cucumbers, soy beans, or radishes. Tofu and egg are also regular components of sushi rolls.
e) Condiments, the wallpaper-
No, not ketchup or mustard, that would be nasty! The most popular condiments eaten with sushi are soy sauce and wasabi. Soy sauce is a dipping sauce made from soy beans. It can be found in most supermarkets. Wasabi is a pale green paste used to add some spice to the meal. It can also reduce the risk of food poisoning with its antibacterial properties. The ‘lower-end’ wasabi, found anywhere outside of Japan, is not made from the wasabi japonica plant, but is made out of horseradish, mustard powder, and green dye.
f) On the Side, the garden-
Ginger is commonly eaten with sushi, and is very useful for cleansing the palate after the meal. Tea, especially green tea, is almost always served with sushi.

III. Types: There are many types of sushi with many different characteristics and processes. In the Japanese language, sushi, when preceded by a prefix, begins with a z instead of an s (i.e. nigirizushi).

a) Nigiri -
Nigiri sushi consists of a round mound of rice topped with wasabi and a single slice of fish. Sometimes the fish is replaced by softer ingredients egg (tamago) or roe (ikura or uni). In these cases, the toppings need to be held in place, and are done so by a small strip of seaweed. My personal favorite nigiri is hamachi or yellowtail.
b) Maki –
Maki sushi is generally a cylinder, formed with the help of a bamboo mat. It’s usually wrapped using seaweed, but can also be done with soy paper or cucumber. There are many different types of Maki. Some are filled with veggies or fish and cut into six or seven bite-size pieces. One type, Temaki, is not cylindrical, but cone-shaped, with its ingredients spilling out of the large end. It is eaten with fingers as it is too difficult to do so with chopsticks.
c) Oshi-
I have never tried Oshi sushi, but I would definitely like to. Oshi is a molded sushi. To make Oshi sushi, the chef lines a rectangular wooden mold, or oshisushihako, with toppings, fills it with rice, and presses the lid down to put it all together. Out comes a compact block that is cut into bite-size pieces and then served.
d) Inari-
Inari sushi, unlike other types of sushi, is not made with any fish. It is a pouch of fried tofu or a thin omelette and is only filled with sushi rice.
e) Chirashi-
Chirashi sushi is served as a bowl of rice with other ingredients (usually chef’s choice) mixed in. It is a good choice if you’re looking for a quick, filling meal.
f) Nare-
Nare sushi is fermented fish. Now, I know I’m not generally a fan of fermented foods. I once tried fermented soy beans, and did not like them in the slightest bit. I’ve never had Nare sushi, and I’m not sure I ever will. To make Nare sushi, fish are skinned, gutted, stuffed with salt, set in a wooden barrel, covered with salt again, then covered with a tsukemonoishi, or fermenting stone. After six months, the water has disappeared from the fish, and the Nare is edible. It will be edible for at least another six months.
g) Western-
Now there are many sushi rolls that are not traditionally Japanese, but American, hence the name ‘western.’ The most popular one, and the one that started the western sushi trend is the California roll, made of avocado, imitation crab, and cucumber. One of my favorites, the Rainbow roll is just a California roll topped with various sashimi (raw fish, sliced into thin pieces. Think Nigiri sushi minus the rice). Another popular choice is the Spider roll, which includes fried soft shell crab, and fillings such as cucumber, roe, or avocado.

IV. Ettiquette: Sushi is a very tradition-based art form and meal. Therefore, there is a certain etiquette that comes along with eating it.
a) Finger Food-
Nigiri sushi is traditionally eaten with the fingers. This is accepted even in formal settings. However, nowadays, many people (including myself) use chopsticks.
b) Dipping-
Soy sauce is generally poured into a small dish. Many dip the rice side in the soy sauce, when actually traditional etiquette insists the topping is dipped. This is to prevent the rice from falling apart.
c) Wasabi and Soy Sauce-
Wasabi is commonly mixed into soy sauce using chopsticks. This is acceptable when one is being served sashimi, but is not proper etiquette with sushi.
d) Chopsticks-
Never stick your chopsticks upright in rice. A bowl of rice with chopsticks stuck in it is offered to the dead, and in a restaurant is unacceptable. Never use just one chopstick at a time or spear your food. Never, ever, pass food between pairs of chopsticks. The bones of cremated loved ones are passed this way as part of Buddhist funeral rituals. Do not use unmatched chopsticks. Do not use chopsticks as hair accessories. Kanzashi are worn in the hair, and are often mistaken for chopsticks. Wearing chopsticks in your hair would be the equivalent of doing so with a fork. And unless you’re the Little Mermaid, you wouldn’t get away with that. Don’t wave your chopsticks around (for instance, when deciding what to eat next. I know I’ve done this before without even realizing it) or point them at people or things. And don’t stir your food with chopsticks. This is considered very rude, and by doing so, you could insult the chef. And you wouldn’t want to do that, especially if he just made all that good food for you!

Sushi can be made at home as well as eaten in restaraunts (and if you’re looking for great, affordable sushi, check out Kasuga on San Pablo Ave., right next to Happy Donuts). Sushi is a complex food, and a delicious one. I’ve been experiencing this art form for years, and I’ll keep doing so for years to come. Won’t you?


Maltese Falcon Mix Tape

Track 1: The Fugees, Ready or Not
The chorus of this song includes the line, “Ready or not, here I come, I’m gonna find you,” which I think addresses Spade’s role as a detective. He’s very determined to catch those he’s pursuing. He’s notorious for solving crimes, which is why customers flock to his office. When he gets his mind set on catching someone to question them or turn them in the police, it’s certain he’ll find them. He’s not the kind of person who just gives up. When I think of the line, “I play my enemies like a game of chess,” I associate it with Spade’s methods of dealing with Cairo, Gutman, and Gutman’s young assistant (and maybe even Ms. Brigid O’Shaughnessy). Spade is very clever, and therefore very good at what he does. He knows how to manipulate his clients and the people he makes deals with to make them do what he wants or tell him information he needs to hear. He’s also a strategist, and knows how to predict people’s actions and maneuver them to his benefit. The line, “Capture your bounty like Eliot Ness” reminds me of Spade, because Elliot Ness, like Sam, was a man who went to great efforts to catch criminals. Eliot Ness was the best of the best at what he did, and so is Sam Spade.

Track 2: Gnarls Barkley, Online
The lyric, “Trying to get there is all that’s on my mind,” fits Spade because of his determination. When he starts an investigation, especially when he’s being paid a high sum, he is going to go through with it no matter what. Even if it seems like the things he does are completely superfluous, all his actions lead up to ending the search successfully and without getting caught. Toward the end of the song is this line: “I’m with everybody but I’m still alone.” This lyric applies to Spade because he works with many people during their quest for the maltese falcon. He pretends to be on their side, when in reality, the whole time he is only working for himself and his profits. Even when his partner was alive, he was essentially working alone and only for his own gain. The next lines in the verse, “Just look down, that’s my line you’re standing on/Let’s keep it friendly and we’ll be just fine/But don’t cross that line,” reflect Spade’s attitude toward those who try to intimidate him, like the boy, Gutman’s assistant. Spade really doesn’t take that from anyone, and he makes that very clear. He doesn’t get violent unless he absolutely has to, which turns out to be frequently, actually. He warns Cairo and the boy that he’ll knock them out if it becomes necessary. Cairo learns not to cross the line, lest he wants his physical attacks to backfire. The boy? Not so much.

Track 3: Hall & Oates, Maneater
This song very easily fits Brigid O’Shaughnessy. The line, “She’s sitting with you, but her eyes are on the door,” describes Brigid’s plot from the beginning. She pretends to be on Spade’s side when she’s really trying to betray him for her own advances. She uses him to get closer to the falcon, and her eyes never leave the prize. The lyrics, “The woman is wild, a she-cat tamed by the purr of a Jaguar/Money’s the matter,” captures Brigid’s greed. Her whole ‘school-girl’ act is, in the end, just an act; an act that she puts on to win over Spade’s affections and hopefully obtain the maltese falcon (and subsequently the couple million dollars it’s worth). The lines, “She’s deadly man, she could really rip your world apart/Mind over matter/Ooh the beauty is there but a beast is in the heart,” have obvious connotations of Brigid’s crimes. She is extremely deadly, as she shot and killed Spade’s partner, Miles Archer. She, like Spade, is clever enough to manipulate those around her to her own benefit. And her morals are lacking. She has no problem using her good looks and acting innocent to hide her guilt from the world. But she met her match in Spade, a man who saw her through her façade for what she actually is, a cold-blooded maneater.

Track 4: Gnarls Barkley, Going On
I like the third verse, “Connect the cause and effect/One foot in front of the next/This is the start of a journey,” because it pretty much sums up the detective business. When a new client walks into his office, Spade knows it’s just another job. But ‘just another job’ consists of a lot, including piecing clues together, staying focused on said job and the ‘journey’ that comes with it. The lines, “And you can stand right there if you want/But I’m going on/And I’m prepared to go it alone,” describe Spade’s attitude toward others. He’s always sort of doing his own thing. He’s naturally a loner, but he’s willing to let others tag along if they like. That doesn’t mean he has to acknowledge their tagging along. He’s also very willing to live life on his own without anyone there with him. Spade isn’t much of a follow-the-rules kind of guy, which is why the verse, “And to do what I want/And to do what I please/Is first on my to do list,” applies to him. He doesn’t usually regard rules or laws, even when carrying through with his detective jobs. He does what he wants when he wants, no matter what. As selfish as it sounds, he pretty much always puts himself first. The lyric, “And I promise I’ll be waiting for you, ooh/Don’t follow me,” is incredibly similar to what Spade tells Brigid at the end of the book after he’s confirmed she was the one who killed Archer. He tells her, in a fairly tongue-in-cheek manner, that he’ll be waiting for her when she gets out of prison, right after he promises that he’s going to make sure she makes it into prison. I thought that was pretty funny.

Track 5: Frank Sinatra, My Way
The lyrics, “Regrets? I’ve had a few/But then again, too few to mention/I did what I had to do/And saw through without exemption,” remind me of Spade because he probably has had a bunch of regrets in his life. But I doubt they phased him for long. He’s not the kind of guy to admit his own flaws, nor does he need permission to do, well, anything. The fifth verse says, “Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew/When I bit off more than I could chew/But through it all, when there was doubt/I ate it up and spit it out/I faced it all and I stood tall/And did it my way.” As I mentioned before, Sam Spade isn’t one to go around declaring his faults. Chances are, at some point in his life, he overestimated his abilities and made mistakes based on that. But he’s someone who gets up from mistakes, brushes himself off, laughs in those mistakes’ faces and moves on with his life. He does things his own way, and doesn’t let small mishaps get in his way. The line, “To say the thing he truly feels/And not the words of one who kneels,” applies to Spade as well, because he will not hesitate to make his opinions clear. As Gutman says, he says “very peculiar things.” Spade is an independent man and does not “kneel” to anyone. Again, he does and says what he wants when he wants, and if someone doesn’t like it, he really just doesn’t give a damn.