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July 31, 2005

notes from BlogHer III

lunch was good.
the post-conference "cocktail party" at which it is entirely possible that i consumed a whole wedge of excellent Brie cheese all by myself was good too.
and the many, many conversations that continued after the party transferred itself to hotel lobbies, random restaurants, and various rooms were even better.
i'll have the drive back to L.A. to reflect & come up with a last "notes" post.
i'm back to thinking that i'm probably a blogger. just one who still doesn't give an ever-lovin' mangy dog's tailwag about Technorati rankings, stats, or otherwise.
although Ms. Jen's suggestion to put all the "mommybloggers" on the Top 100 for Mother's Day is a seriously good idea. Niall, are you listening?

Posted by hadashi at 9:33 AM | Comments (4)

July 30, 2005

notes from BlogHer II

we’re halfway through the BlogHer day, and wow, is the people-watching good! it’s been fun to see the ease with which women strike up conversations in lines, at tables, in the bathroom. everyone already has a basis for plenty to talk about; more interestingly, many of us have already had “conversations” via reading one anothers’ blogs. i had a babbling moment of total embarrassed confusion when someone i’d never met before saw my nametag and told me “i love your blog.”

now in my head, i have a total of oh, say, five readers. in reality, there’s probably a lot more. what’s newly intimidating is that after this weekend, there will be a lot more. but isn’t that what bloggers want? isn't that what i want? i’m not sure. thinking about all these Very Serious About Blogging People, and all these cool smart funny interesting hip women reading this wee blog oh my goodness they already are thanks to that BlogHer Roll, eep eep eep eep... excuse me while i quietly get paranoidly uncomfortable. sorry.

and there’s this weird phenomenon of blogger celebrity: terms like “A-Listers” and “Technorati 100” are being flung around like gossip popcorn, and i care even less about who they are as celebrities, i mean “blogebrities” that than i do about the A, B, C, or D Listers of Hollyweird that sometimes i have to stick microphones upon. all this chatter about stats and traffic and hits and how many kabillion people comment on your site... is it bad that i’m not concerned? is this a sign of being a dabbler that my Google rankings are a concept about as arcane to me as, say, cloth-weaving techniques of the Touareg people in the 19th century? oh dear, i bet there’s even a blog about that... sigh. i’m back to questioning my validity as a “real blogger.”

clearly, it’s time for lunch.

Posted by hadashi at 12:35 PM | Comments (5)

July 29, 2005

notes from BlogHer I

cherries.jpg


i'd like to report that the fresh sweet roadside stand cherries part of Lauren's now-infamous post came true. mmm, delicious! and as for the rest of that post coming true -- well, you'll just have to wonder, now won't you? excuse me, i have to get my hair braided...

Posted by hadashi at 9:53 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2005

am i really a blogger?

so tomorrow i will be heading up to the Bay Area for an event called BlogHer, a one-day convention for women bloggers. i'm going up with Ms. Jen & Lauren (alas, Marti couldn't make it), and i'm actually a little nervous. why? because really, deep down inside, i don't think i'm a "real blogger."
now, my travel companions -- they're real bloggers. yeah. why? well, um, ah...hmmm....ok.
a) they've been doing this for quite awhile.
b) they post all the time.
c) their blog is a needful creative outlet for them.

i've been reading through the "BlogHerRoll" -- all the attendees' blogs are listed -- over the last week or so, and i'm amazed at the breadth of thought floating around out there. all these cool women whose identities, to me, aren't their faces or jobs or locations. it's their voices that i know them by. that is why i'm more excited than nervous: it can't help but be a fascinating weekend, meeting all these interesting women with plenty to say.

i can just hear Ms. Jen, who graciously hosts this blog, shouting "HADASHI, YOU ARE A REAL BLOGGER!" at me. sigh. she's right -- my reasons a)& b) are bogus; it's really c) that matters, and i'm surprised and pleased to discover it applies to me. this IS a needful creative outlet for me. it's simply odd to see HadashiWorld listed there on the BlogHer site, as a "real blog," nestled there between a social networking blog and a blog with great photos and creative formatting. i am a "real blog," i know, just by virtue of having this little experiment in observation & storytelling going on. HadashiWorld is picking up steam on its own, forcing me to filter more carefully my experiences & interactions so they can be retold, if i choose. i can still feel it trying to decide what it's going to be. that's really why i wanted to go to this event -- i think i'll get some focus, hopefully some vision, and maybe even build a community.

ok, yes, i may be a reluctant blogger, but i'm a blogger all the same.

Posted by hadashi at 11:22 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2005

squirrels!

squirrels.jpg

really, i don't think this photo needs any sort of explanatory text. please simply laugh hysterically, as i did.

although i suppose it would be fun if you made up a creative caption.

Posted by hadashi at 3:25 PM | Comments (3)

July 20, 2005

zur Hochzeit in Kalifornien

okay, i'll tell you right away: this means "to the wedding in California." it's a phrase on our reply cards that i wouldn't have been able to really understand just a few weeks ago. but that was before i started my quite rigorous German lessons, which i obliquely referred to a few posts ago.

yes, part of the reason this blog has fallen a bit by my life's wayside is that on top of earning the rent AND planning a wedding, i'm also making good on my promise to learn German. not traveller's German, but really how to speak & understand the language. i'd promised myself and T.T. that if we ever got married, i would make a concerted effort to learn German. while i was working in New York City, i managed to teach myself, via Internet-downloaded flashcards, some vocabulary so i could feel like i was doing something. but as soon as i returned to Los Angeles, i started researching language schools/programs. i opted for the one that meets for 6 hours of instruction total, twice a week, with just one other student. so there's nowhere to hide when you didn't do all your Hausaufgaben (homework).

i was excited when i started. i felt i would have a few advantages:
1. i already learned a second language, Japanese, by virtue of growing up there. with Japanese comes three whole new writing systems, a grammar system with no real English equivalents, and very interesting pronounciations. German seemed positively simple just on the "no new alphabet" alone.
2. i taught ESL (English as a Second Language) classes to put myself through college, and still do so once a week as a volunteer. thus i have a unusually geeky appreciation for grammar, and the inner workings of a language.
3. i once called English an old musty Germanic language. thus much more one-to-one correlations and therefore better learning curve.
4. i'm not learning German for college credit, because i might visit there, or even because i love certain German foods like Duplo bars and Minikokos Brandt zweiback-thingys. no. i'm incredibly motivated because not only will this allow me to somewhat communicate with my future family, but because this is the first language of the man i love. this is actually my wedding present to him.

so. i'm still excited, but i really wasn't prepared for how much my wedding present to T.T. was going to make my brain hurt. while i was actually correct with all four of my so-called advantages, there were pitfalls i did not see. for example, woops, i mean zum Beispele:
1. German involves gender for its nouns which dictates how much of the rest of the sentence will happen. learn vocabulary without gender, and you, mein Freund, are pretty much sunk.
2. then there are "cases" which is sort of like tenses in English but not really. in fact, i will not bore you with this because Lord knows i barely understand this. what i do understand is that it HURTS MY BRAIN.
3. i've been out of school as a student for so long that it's really hard to get back into that gear. kudos to you return-to-graduate-school people. i don't know how you do it. oh yeah, you're probably studying in English, which you actually understand.
4. so many other things that have to get done besides studying. for once, i actually want to study and instead, i have to, oh, go to work, which has actually been more plentiful this summer than i expected. (not complaining, mind you!)
5. did i mention that my brain hurts?

the good thing is that any of these five pitfalls are completely overcome by the motivation mentioned in Advantage Number Four. i'm really enjoying myself, despite Pitfall Number Five.

sigh. sorry, HadashiWorld, i'd like to post to you more often but i've got Hausaufgaben waiting.

Posted by hadashi at 10:00 PM | Comments (7)

July 11, 2005

such excitement!

Dublin Jen.jpg
*** Ms. Jen on a Dublin street ***

after much anticipation, prayer, and patient waiting, the good news arrived today: Ms. Jen is returning to Dublin, Ireland...this time as a resident!

congratulations to her!

Posted by hadashi at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

July 4, 2005

interracial relationships

seeing that it is the Fourth of July, i.e. Independence Day (i.e. Cool Fireworks Day), i would like to offer some thoughts about a very important freedom.

being biracial, i always joked that unless i dated someone who was also half-Chinese/half-Caucasian and grew up in Japan, it would automatically be an interracial, intercultural relationship. being the obvious -- and very proud -- product of an interracial marriage, i was always very aware of my multicultural heritage. it seemed a foregone conclusion that i'd someday be in an interracial relationship myself.

and cut to: here i am now, and we've finally finished tying all the little red (the Chinese traditional color for weddings) ribbons on the top of our wedding invitations that we've made. the ones in English are ready to go out, but T.T. is just finishing up the translation of the German ones. i just started my rather intensive German language lessons this week, and am rather pleased that i already understand why the famous German phrase that most Americans know, "Ich bin ein Berliner" is constructed the way it is. of course i am also rather intimidated by this very grammar i'm supposed to somehow absorb. (for the curious, T.T. had a head start with English, as he went to boarding school in Ireland in high school. this also explains his charming accent.)
we've been blending for awhile now, our European-slash-American-slash-Asian ways. case in point: he's excellent with chopsticks, and i am apparently able to make a very good pfannkuchen. see?

all that to say i found it immensely interesting to read an article given to me by Ms. Jen from the L.A. Times called "A Cultural Exchange -- Of Vows." it's not uncommon now for a wedding reception to feature sushi and hummus, and sales of ethnically interchangeable cake topper bride-and-groom statuettes are booming. various reasons were given to explain the rise of interracial, intercultural marriages: economic factors, an older average age for a first marriage, the erosion of certain social barriers, and of course, wider acceptance. these statistics from the Pew Research Center interested me:
in 2003, 77% of Americans approved of interracial relationships.
broken down by age:
91% of Generation Y (born 1977-1993),
85% of Generation X (born 1964-1976 -- like me & T.T.),
77% of baby boomers (born 1946-1964 -- like our parents),
and 49% of the World War II generation (my grandparents)approved of interracial relationships.
the statistic that really astounded me though, was this one: as recently as 1987 -- which when my generation was just starting to really think about dating relationships -- only 48% of the public approved of interracial dating. less than half!

so in the time it took me to go from thinking boys were kinda weird to realising guys are kinda weird but really liking them anyway, a profound re-weaving in our social fabric has taken place. it makes me wonder about my parents who got married in 1969, only 2 years to the day after the last 16 states got rid of anti-miscegenation laws (laws making interracial marriage, and thus having mixed-race children, illegal). they claim it was no big deal, but i beg to differ.

i bet there were no interchangeable cake toppers available for their wedding cake...

Posted by hadashi at 10:03 AM | Comments (8)

July 2, 2005

i'm so easily entertained...

DSCF0007.JPG

...by this label from my friend's new cheap knockoff Rolex.
i think it's hilarious that it invites me to observe the Philippines give China a spanking. what did Beijing do to deserve a public arse-whupping from Manila?

Posted by hadashi at 7:19 PM | Comments (0)