Many Moons

Because it’s been like a month since I even drafted a post, let me fill you in on what’s going on:

I am no longer transient!

I have a bedroom, with a bed and a dresser and a TV and a little bit of space to stack my books. It’s quiet. I can close the door if I want to, and people have to knock to come in! I can sleep as long as I like! (Not that I do; school and work keep me getting up at eight AM five days a week.) I can study at home! Or have Uji over to MY place!

These are things that while housed, I never would have missed. After nearly five months of having nowhere to batten down the hatches, these little things mean the WORLD to me. When I get home tonight…HOME…I’m going to finish setting up my little nest and after I read to the boys and spend some time with Kali and the Dork-In-Law, I’m going to go hole up in…my room…and do whatever I want until I pass out at 2 AM. On my own bed.

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Life is good in that regard.

At school, we are approaching midterms and I have yet ANOTHER blog related to class. Maintaining it is a breeze, mostly because I care less about how pretty it is and more about the written component. I feel like I get a little rambly in places, but it’s a response exercise more than anything. I’m also in the middle of reading Moby Dick for a class with one of my favorite professors (I have a list of favorite professors and it’s getting long.) Surprisingly, I like Melville’s weird, rambling style. It reminds me of talking to old hippies that took too many mushrooms in their younger days. Melville is evidence that yes; Americans do have culture, and it’s largely based on experience over tradition.

Maybe that’s why Americans have no respect for their elders.

In Texas,

MY MOM MET THE BLOGGESS!!! Squee, squee, squee. Some of you will remember I studied her online work for class and gave a presentation that focused heavily on giant metal chicken humor.

I am JEALOUS AS HELL!

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 In other news, Uji and I are doing fine and he’s rad and weird and I miss him like hell because he’s out of town for the week. I think he’s taking it worse than I am; I’ll text him good morning and between classes or after work, and at the end of the day, I’ll text him good night.

He texts me…a bunch.

Which is nice, because I miss him a bunch.

At the same time, I’m taking the opportunity to catch up on the homework I’ve ignored to hang out with him, which is significantly more fun than my borderline-monastic study habits.

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Uji impeding my studies.

Last but not least:

KOSHKA’S GOTTA BOYFRIENNND!!

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"Don't take my picture."

Well, not really; they just started seeing each other. Koshka’s beau is adorable, they’re adorable together, he likes old movies, and he likes Cthulu. He can stay.

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The Appropriation of the Koshka

When I joined my family, it was after forming a friendship with my sister Kali over a period of four years and being there after other people had disappeared after Dozer was born. Teenagers are assholes and they do that when one of their friends has a kid.

Koshka, on the other hand, joined the family because he crossed the threshold behind me. It was a little after midterms last quarter, and I had seen my family a grand total of once, when Chucky was born. I decided that in spite of it being a Sunday, I needed to see them. I decided it was high time I introduce them to Koshka, who is generally overworked and who usually doesn’t even leave his tie off on the weekends.

“Koshka, I’m kidnapping you and taking you over to my sister’s.”

“Nope.”

“Yes. Get in the car, I’m friends with your mom.”

“Fine…”

“Also, if anyone asks you, the password is ‘boobs.'”

We rolled up to Kali’s house a little after dinner (Koschka guested me into the school dining hall and we ate flavorless, over-processed food. COLLEGE.)

The boys were off in their room playing Beyblades. The baby was occupied with either pooping, eating, crying, or some combination of all three. The Dork-In-Law was on the computer killing pixelated monsters and holding the baby. My sister was talking to Gramma on the phone and shooing the dyfunctional cat away from the garbage.

Everyone dropped all of this to crowd into the doorway to say hi and get a look at Koshka.

Kali: “Oh, he’s cute!”

Boys: “POD!”

Me: “BOYS!”

The Dork-In-Law said “hi” and went back to killing things. The baby got passed off to Kali, who passed it off to me while she got Gramma on Skype and took Koshka by the elbow to introduce him via the Interwebs to her mother, who immediately said,

“Pod, you should have babies with this one!”

“Um.”

“What, he’s cute, and you’re the only one of my girls who hasn’t given me a grand-baby yet!”

“You know, we’re both in school, he’s gay, and I’m pretty sure that we’re both waiting to find husbands before we have kids.”

The boys took over Gramma, Kali ushered Koshka into a chair, and I handed him the Squidge.”Here, hold this; I need a cup of coffee.”

“Uh.”

“If you jiggle her and make little noises at her, she’ll relax.”

The dysfunctional cat took a perch on Koshka’s free knee and I paparazzi’d everyone for about five minutes while my sister and I shared our gripes of the week. The squidge fell asleep and drooled on Koshka’s sweater.

“Koshka, you make my ovaries hurt.”

“See, Pod? I’m tellin’ you, have babies with this one! You can use a turkey baster–”

“God dammit, Kali.”

Through all of this, Koshka is laughing and shaking his head. At any given time, there’s at least six women who are willing to be the surrogate mother of any hypothetical child he would sire. I’m not sure if my sister embarassed him or not (although I was a little mortified) but he was a great sport.

“So…that’s my crazy family,” I stated, starting the car.

“I fucking love your crazy family.”

“That’s good, because you’re not getting away from them. You’ve been claimed.”

Something tells me he’s ok with this.

 

 

The Four Pillars of Stupid That Held Up Today

I have come to the conclusion that the entire world has been replaced with an alternate world, in which everyone has lost their damn mind.

Stupid Number One:

Suzy Q spent half the night on Saturday in the ER with Popo because of how sick she was. She had to listen to a rich man’s family bitch about everything under the sun, including the crying of sick children and the brand of water the hospital stocked, while she waited with her mother, in a wheelchair becuase she couldn’t move, to be seen by one of the overworked doctors. The worst part: when Popo finally got a bed, it was next to the rich man, who had suffered a stroke and who was concerned that he would not be able to go to work Monday to provide for his family.

Stupid Number Two:

The property company from the old place sent my father a registered letter demanding $1300 dollars by Friday to keep my family out of court, in spite of the fac tthat the place has already been rented out and the bastards kept my deposit. I’m paying them so I  can focus on school, and when I have my diploma in hand, I’m diverting a good portion of my energies to bringing down the system that allows this to happen.

I’ve decided the next step is a human rights documentary, focusing on how businesses turn a profit from condoning domestic violence and then punish those who try to stop it. It’s a bigger issue than just my problem with the place; the things that made me move out are still going on, which means that someone is still getting beat in that apartment on a regular basis and no-one is stopping it. Stay tuned–I’m working on a way to incorporate it into my bid for grad school.

Stupid Number Three:

There are still men in the world who think it’s acceptable to equate a woman with a slave or an object that aren’t just some cockroach living in the attic of a run-down student ghetto house. One of my co-workers posted a picture on her facebook profile, which sparked a HUUUUUGE shitstorm, mostly becuase some moron decided to comment, “your chain should only be long enough to reach the kitchen or the bedroom.” To which I and several other replied in so many words that we thought if he had to chain a woman down it was because he was commonly considered un-fuckable. I have to say, I might have got a leetle defensive of my co-workers…

Aaaaand Stupid Number Four:

I had to break up an altercation at work.

I work in a writing center.

I understand that people are stressed out because of finals, but Jee-ZUS.

Allow me to go into second person for a moment, to give you the run-down of what happened:

Is there a problem here? Oh, your tutor offended you? Ok, who did you have? Alright, I’ll go talk to him. Let me see if I can find someone that isn’t the tutor you were working with before him, because she says you two are kind of stuck…Hey, hang on, he’s trying to apologize–HEY! Deep breaths. Let’s have you turn and face the computer and calm down, and you go over there, and we’re all gonna chill a minute.

What I wanted to say was a little different:

That tutor you blew up at? Was taking over for the one you ran ragged for nearly an hour trying to help you while you picked your nose with our pencils. His response? Was to try and apologize to you. Your response? Was to get aggressive with not only him, but with your original tutor, who sat back down to try and help your dense ass. Be glad you didn’t step to me.

But of course, I didn’t say any of that. Instead, I sent the tutor after our boss to get him out of the room, kept an eye on the student, who my co–workers pointed out to the learning center director to deal with, and went back to work with an apology to the student I left hanging to deal with that bullshit.

Just…

 

Why Koshka Is My Friend

Koshka is a disciple of the Wu.

When he was in high school (pre-gay outage,) Koshka went to one of those non-denominational churches with a rock band. He was one of the kids that set up chairs before the service. In spite of my upbringing, in which my parents raised me to be tolerant and respectful of other people’s religions, my role as the official Bad Influence among Koshka’s friends obligated me to tease him:

“Heheh. You were a Jesus kid.”

“Hardly, My friends and I used to sing Wu-Tang Clan lyrics to the tune of the hymns.”

“That’s rad.”

“Ain’t nothin’ to fuck with.”

This is why we’re friends.

Blogging Shitstorm Part Three: Farzan

The final installment of Blogging Shitstorm features a little anecdote from work, because a) I love my job and b) I haven’t written a thing about it.

Also, sometimes I get paid to act a fool.

One of the best things about working in the same place for three years is that while there are companies out there that attempt to call themselves “families,” the writing center actually is a family. We all study the same stuff, we rely on one another and learn from each other, and this extends beyond just other tutors–for all the time I spend in class learning about what makes good writing, I learn about the same amount from a shift at work, from my classmates.

Because I work at a community college, there’s a large portion of our clientele that is regular and largely made up of older returning students.

Like Farzan.

Farzan is 67 years old, a retired mechanic from Afghanistan, and he’s been a regular client of the writing center where I work for three years. He came to us with minimal English, wanting to work on grammar and conversation so he could pass the citizenship test.

“You have time?”

“Hello, Farzan! Of course I have time.” He nods, rummaging in his school bag for a moment.

“What can I do for you today?”

“We start in five minutes, okay?”

“Ok.”

I smell turmeric and ginger.

On the table, Farzan has laid out Pakora, which are these spicy, deep-fried veggie cakes he makes every once in a while to share with us. “Cerri,” he says, accent on the I, “You can have one, you like.”

“Oh, thank you so much, Farzan!”

They are the only Afghani food I’ve ever eaten, and they’re dear to my heart.

“These are really good, thanks, Farzan. Do you have a big kitchen?” My co-worker Mike asks, scarfing one. Farzan shakes his head, wiping crumbs out of his neat, greying moustache with a kleenex.

“I want open restauraunt, but who can help? My sons, nephews, another, too busy. Have jobs, cannot help. Maybe I find five people, I open Afghani restauraunt. Good food. Special food.”

Farzan has family pictures of meals like this one, that he cooks for special occasions.

“I’d eat there. What veggies did you use this time?”

“Potato, cauliflower, basil flower, ginger, hot pepper, another.”

“I like the basil in there.”

“Oh, it’s too spicy!” someone complains over my shoulder.

“No, it’s not! They’re perfect. Delicious. You’re just a wuss.” I’m from Texas and I keep at least two bottles of hot sauce around at all times because food demands spice.

“Spices healthy,” Farzan agrees with a smile.

We each start a cup of shitty bagged tea and get down to business.

Farzan’s new goal, since becoming an American in October, is to become proficient enough in English that he can go abroad to become a Farsi interpreter.

“Cerri, there is problem, these countries. Many people pass away every day. Dangerous places. Bombs every day.”

Farzan survived the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the subsequent revolt, the Taliban, the American occupation, the loss of his business, the loss of family members to sickness, and war-zone conditions, which he said is a fact of  life every day in his home country.

“Our country very rich. Our people very smart. On this side,” he explained, holding up his time card, “China,Russia,Pakistan, Another. This side, NATO. Communism party here, imperialism party there. All want Afghanistan.”

We work on grammar for a while and  I note his improved understanding of the preterit tense. His only mistakes are spelling errors, the product of English irregular verbs. I mull over what he’s said, the war, and how even though there are situations in the world that seem damn near unfixable, there are people like Farzan who want to fix them, and people like me that are fortunate enough to know those people.

Behind the Camera Explained

All righty, ladies and germs

The much-anticipated explanation has arrived! 😀

Over the weekend, I got drafted into another wild and crazy adventure.

My long-time friend Buck is a filmmaker. He, along with a few writers in Bellingham, have put their heads together and are WRITING A TV SHOW!!! Be excited.

Anyhow, with many talented folks assisting and starring, (including Suzy Q, Evie Squeezie, and local band Black Beast Revival) the fabulous crew filmed a promotional short and their PILOT EPISODE this weekend! Squee, squee, squee.

The show will be called the Whatever Show.

Initially, I was asked to fill in as an extra, should I be needed, and spent Friday evening hanging out with the gang in a telethon-setting, in which my class notebooks were scrawled in by the other actors. Hence the pooping duck with the heart. There are other drawings, but they do not fall into the realm of class-appropriate images…

While sitting in the KVOS TV station, I had a chance to chat with the other extras, most of whom I knew previously. the fellow behind me, however, was someone I had not met before.  I complimented him on his snazzy, vodka-molecule liquor flask (a prop for the shoot) and found myself chatting via notebook because he is deaf.

He goes by Uji. He’s a visual designer and artist, and the fire-tree-hand thingy with the heart  the three-headed skeleton with the mace tail and the heart is his work–a copy of a still from a silent, animated short he’s currently working on. Now, I’m normally fairly awkward talking to men, but I’m a passable writer, so I found myself in a pleasant conversation with him on paper and through gestures. I decided I would learn some phrases in sign language so I can look him in the eye when I speak to him, because it’s polite, and he seems the gentlemanly sort. >_> I’m not as eloquent with my hands, I’m afraid, but he’s very patient with my ridiculous attempts. I’m currently working on learning “How was your day?”

The Whatever Show centers around the last remaining variety show on television. The pilot episode uses the Bellingham Theater Guild as a set, so there are plywood castles in the background of some of the shots–part of the set of their coming production of “Becoming Eleanor,” about the rise of Eleanor of Aquitaine.

It’s based mostly in absurdist comedy and features local acts and a lot of ridiculous. Take the guy in whiteface. You can’t see it in the pictures, but he winds up with clown makeup, including a red goatee, and winds up lying over a greenscreened platform with the producer standing over him. About which Uji commented, “Romeo and Juliet.”

As with most of Buck’s productions, the tireless crew filmed long into the night. At one point, Suzy Q’s character, who sports a red bike helmet for liability reasons, dangles out of a doorway to nowhere that’s about thirty feet off the ground. Nieru, the skinny, grinning guy in the pink shirt, tosses a dozen coffee cups into the air and throws a jacket on like a reverse-Superman. My feet get featured in an improv sketch.

It’s three in the morning before I hit the hay on a Sunday night, grateful that I have afternoon classes.

Why I stand BEHIND the camera

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I’ll leave these to your imagination and explain them in a future post.

                       

                                            

                         

                                  

                                              

I drew none of the pictures this time. I had nothing to do with the whiteface. I’ll explain everything later, I swear.