Friday, July 29, 2011


17 strangers read every message and rated it on a weirdness scale of 0-4. This is the mean weirdness score of each month, translated into a percentage (1 weird out of 4 = 25% weird) and then plotted onto a graph. I made the lines curvy because I like them; I do not really have that many data points. (Click through to see larger image.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I have a maybe-date tomorrow and it's all I can think about

It might seem like I'd date anything with a pulse, and it's true that I'm not picky. But it's because I'm genuinely not picky, rather than because I'm putting up with someone I'm not interested in just because he or she is willing to date me. It's because I don't see flaws, rather than because I put up with them in order to have or maintain a relationship. I'm not staying with people I don't like because it's better than being single.
But I do want someone more than I want any particular person. I get excited about the prospect of a date, but the person I'm dating is interchangeable, replaceable.
I wasn't always that girl. It used to go the other way around. FIRST I started to get excited about seeing someone. I'd enjoy their company. I'd look forward to talking to them. THEN I would start to want more out of it. It was about the person, not about what he or she could lead to. Now, the person is a means to an end, not the end in itself, and I don't know how to go back. But how do I decide to not want something? Or, having decided, how do I go about DOING it?

Monday, July 25, 2011

917 Dearborn

I'm blogging a lot these days, which mostly means typing them up in separate text documents (I hate Word, it always does terrible things when I try to copy/paste into blogspot), and waiting until I can take the accompanying photos or the next time I have internet access. Sometimes, after staring at the sad, yet-unposted, little things, I change my mind. Nothing to see here. It's not like I have grand revelations just waiting to unleash themselves on the world. I have nothing important to say.

I have a headache. Dehydration and poor sleeping habits, most likely. More the latter than the former.

I finished the books I was excited about, and am reading something I'd forgotten I owned back in Poway. It's sort of self-absorbed and whiny, or at least the narrator is, so it both suits and annoys me at the moment, since I am inclined to self-absorbtion and whinyness myself tonight.

I took measurements of my room so I can play around with different layouts on the computer at work tomorrow. I am putting off any unpacking until I decide on a layout, although I did put together the bedframe.

I have a skylight and more closet space than I can comprehend.

I think I'd like to paint a few walls. I've never painted walls before. It doesn't seem that difficult. The carpet is a light denim color, the walls are honey-colored wood. The ceiling only barely reaches above my head, which is why I get it, even though it's the biggest room in the house.

Our kitchen cabinets have been distributed by order of height. Kenda at the top, followed by Cassie, followed by me. It was Kenda's idea. I am grateful.

Fenna is gone. I wish we'd had more time to adventure.

Cassie will be back soon. I am glad.

This time

Waiting really isn't the hardest part. No matter how acute the anticipation of pain or pleasure, it's still only the shadow cast in advance of the real thing.

So this isn't the hard part. It isn't even the shadow of the hardest part. I have so little at stake. His name, this time, is Devin. I am waiting.

Friday, July 22, 2011


I'm the girl with the fucked up family. That's the story I've been telling as long as I can remember. We were some sort of sad parody of suburban America. Statistically, we were perfect: two parents, two children, a boy and a girl, occasional pets, living solidly middle-class lives in a sunny suburb in southern California. But I always felt that something was off. We didn't look right, for one, with a Chinese mother and ambiguously-ethnic children. And our furniture was always a little shabbier, our clothing not as nice, not because we were poorer than everyone else, but because we didn't have the tastes that should have gone with the lifestyle. And my brother and I were never very interested in that lifestyle. We went along on summer vacations to the Grand Canyon, we sat at family dinners. But I always felt like we were pretending at something, at a family dynamic we didn't actually feel.

And maybe this is because I saw it all through a thick haze of angst. Maybe our family was closer than I thought, or maybe it was just me sticking out, me who wasn't connecting. But I didn't connect. Not with my mother, who struggled with me since I was old enough to reject bedtime lullabies. Not with my brother, who I treated like a roommate, cordial but distant. Not even with my father, the only one I speak to these days. We enjoyed each other's company, but we didn't share. I kept my conversations carefully curated. (I attempted to curate conversations with my mother as well, but never as successfully.)

And now, I'm the girl who doesn't have a mother or brother. I know they're there, still, in a different sunny suburb, but there's a no-fly zone between us.

So, when I started to describe my trip to San Diego, it was a surprise to me to find myself saying "I like my family. It'll be good to see them."

It surprised me because it was true. It wasn't a platitutde to pretend that everything is fine. It wasn't something I said to sound normal, so I wouldn't have to explain why I only have half of my original family, or where my disconnect comes from. When I redefine "family" to mean "the family I have connections to," I find myself with a surprisingly healthy, happy, well-adjusted group of interesting people. Some of them I just met for the first time. Some of them have gone from 8 to 19 years old in the time since I'd seen them.

This newly-defined family is a family of teachers and engineers, from multiple ethnicities, countries, and cities. We are one professor of math, one professor of education, one high-school Spanish teacher, one middle-school P.E. teacher, one high-school shop teacher, one gardener, two mechanical engineers, two engineering students, one still-undecided college freshman, and three high-schoolers still exploring their interests. We talk shop around the dinner table: when and how students should specialize in their interests, the sad state of education funding.

My cousin Cora is coming to visit over spring break next year. I can't wait for you to meet her.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


This post is a placeholder for the more cheerful one I will write later.

Friday, July 15, 2011

What We Are Doing Here

When I tell people about my trip to San Diego, I put a good face on. My grandparents are fine, I say, we're just getting things settled. I forget the reason I asked if I should come home this summer. I wasn't sure that if I waited until Christmas that they would both be here. I said, I wasn't coming home because they were unwell, I was coming home to pack and carry.

They're not well.

My grandfather is frail. His cheeks are unshaven and his face is strangely still, the muscles slack. And there is something I can't recognize in his eyes.

We are not well.

My father tells us how, once when he left the house on Rolando Knolls, the house he grew up in and now is a caretaker for, the toilet did not stop running, and it kept running for two weeks until he came back and discovered it. His hands were clenched in front of him and he didn't look up.

I am not well.

We are sorting through the house to separate items with sentimental value, items that we would be interested in taking back to our respective homes, and items for the estate sale people to handle. I am going into acquisition mode. Look, stuff! I can have stuff! It's pretty cool stuff. There's a shiny gold purse, a silk brocade tablecloth, quilting books, a blue gingham apron. And then I feel guilty for coveting stuff, because it shouldn't be about getting stuff. This is the dismantling of my grandparent's lives. I want to be generous. I want to be helpful. I don't want this pile of stuff with a pink sticky note that says Angela. I don't want to want it. And I hate that I do.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

screen printing is like magic

Okay, so I haven't had a chance to take the photos I want to take. But here's a webcam shot of me at work in the shirt I screen printed yesterday evening before pub knit.

Fashion Week part III: Crazy-Crafty-Hipster-Girl


love bright colors. I love clashing colors. I love:

red and cyan
orange and cyan
purple and orange
lime green and orange
magenta and yellow

I love t-shirts that say something cool because I want people to think I'm funny and interesting. I love Natalee Dee and Threadless. I have a t-shirt with a pair of skyscraper-people scraping the sky, a shirt with a Leica M6 on it that says "Think Negative," and a shirt with a skull that says "I live inside your face."

I have t-shirts for:

Rock Island, IL
Akron, OH *
Oakland, CA **
Iowa **
Looking Glass Photo, Berkeley CA *
Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland OH *
El El Frijoles, Sargentville ME (my friend owns the restraunt)
Home Ec. Workshop, Iowa City IA **

* I've visited here
** I've lived here

I go for the crazy-crafter-hipster look. I go for clothes that look like they might have been home-made. I want to look crafty but not in a 70's kind of way but a knitter-on-the-NYC-subway kind of way. A tongue-in-cheek-kitchy kind of way. I just made a t-shirt that says "I'm being ironic." It is always true. I love dressing-down pretty skirts with old t-shirts. I have a baby-pink shiny-satin skirt that I like to wear with a battered gray "Akron: Where the Weak are Killed and Eaten" t-shirt. I have a blue satin brocade skirt I like to wear over jeans. I pair everything with my one pair of walk-around shoes which happen to be hot-pink-glittery Converse. Because I hate shoes without socks, the socks are neon colors and usually not matching. If my first reaction is "oh god that's AWFUL," it's usually followed by "I LOVE IT."

This post was originally intended to contain photos of said clothing. But there are some practical difficulties involved, so you will probably have to wait until I get back from San Diego.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fashion Week part I: Introduction

Maybe it's because Fenna's been doing it, maybe it's because I've been sewing madly for the last few weeks, maybe it's because I've been having this what-can-I-wear-to-salsa-that-I-would-ever-wear conumdrum. Maybe it's just because if I don't talk about clothing I'm going to talk about what it means to have tried and failed at something 100 times, about perseverance and failure and how that makes me feel. (It makes me feel shitty.) So instead I've decided to write down my fashion manifesto.

I talk a lot about how I don't care about my clothes. I'm a sloppy seamstress, I don't bother to hem, I cut my own hair with dull scissors in the bathroom, and I only own six pairs of shoes. Five of those pairs are speciality shoes that I only wear on specific occasions. Like snow boots or interview shoes or jogging shoes. But when I say "I don't care," it's not entirely true.

The thing is, everything is a decision. Even if it's the least important decision in the world, even if it doesn't "mean" anything, I still picked THOSE shoes over THOSE shoes, over THOSE ones. There is still a personal, individual, taste that appears. This is similar to what I tell people who are struggling to write an artist statement. They say "I just make what I like, that's all." And I say, "That's true. But there is more than one true story about your work. You make what you think is beautiful, but your sense of beauty is not mine, or theirs, or anyone else's but your own. So what are the things that YOU are drawn to? You have a sense, you have a style, you have interests, even if you choose them unconsciously."

For a long time, I made those decisions based on a desire to not be seen. I wore plain, baggy, t-shirts in gray, black, or navy, and baggy jeans. It wasn't that I didn't care, it was that what I cared about was hiding. Seeing myself was painful, so I avoided it as much as possible. In the last few years, I have been addressing that hurt, confronting it, pushing at it. I started wearing brightly colored baggy t-shirts. Then I lost some weight and started wearing brightly colored better-fitting t-shirts. I still chop off my hair myself, haphazardly and with little concern for straight lines or proportion. I don't care that my hair is uneven and my clothes are ragged, but that doesn't mean I don't care at all. I do pay attention to how I look and dress. I care about those things, but I'm working off a different set of values. So the next few entries are about those values. Why I wear what I wear, what my goals are, what I'm drawn to and why.

It may actually take more or less than a week, but for the sake of a good title, welcome to Fashion Week at Things I Might Forget.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

he could, he could

So I'm giving up on Vic writing back. It doesn't really change anything, because my actions when I believe, and when I don't believe are the same. Either way, there is nothing to do. Except now I'm not waiting while I do nothing.

And people say, "You don't know why. You can't interpret and guess at every little thing, it's not necessarily anything to do with you, he could be busy, he could have a life, he could..."

But the thing is, none of it matters. I don't really care why. He doesn't write. What difference does anything else make?


I did a re-count, and there was one extra message I'd sent. I didn't post it, because it was just a "psssst... here's an answer to a question you ask on your profile," and not anything designed to get a response back. But it still counts, since I'm also counting the messages I write to far away people that I'm not trying to meet, either.

Which means I've now written 100 messages.

I feel like something should happen now. I don't want to do anything, but I'd really like it if the Universe could come together and make something happen to commemorate this. 100 fucking messages. 100 people I've reached out to, trying to make a connection. What I'd really like, is for guy #100 to write me back.

According to my artist's statement,

Between April 15, 2009, and July 3, 2011, I have sent 100 first messages in response to personal ads on and
These messages are an expression of self. More specifically, they are expressions of the self I want others to see. They are expressions of hope. Each one is a love affair I might have had. I look at them, together, and wonder what they add up to, all those lives I imagined. I try to catalog them, categorize them, study them. I am struggling to make sense of them. I believe that I am here, somewhere, in these messages, in all this data, if I only knew where to look.

In the two years since I started, I have gone from 29 years old to 31. I have finished graduate school. I have lost, and gained, and lost significant amounts of weight. I have gained, and lost, and gained significant amounts of confidence. I moved twice, worked six different jobs, had sex with six people, and visited six new states. I made new friends, grew closer to old friends, began writing again, and spun a LOT of yarn. I have started growing gray hairs. I have, slowly, and haltingly, started to refer to myself as a woman.