Archive for the ‘media’ Category

My Tiger Mother

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

I just started reading Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.It’s the controversial book on parenting the Chinese way, and I kind of like it. Actually, I really like it and I find it educational. And a little nostalgic. Maybe it’s because I grew up with a Tiger Mother (not one quite as fierce as Amy Chua, though fiercer in other ways) and maybe because I’ve lost her I appreciate her more than I did before she was gone, but I see the positive aspects of this type of parenting.

There are studies that have shown that being outstanding at something has more to do with years of practice and training than with any innate ability, and Chua’s parenting method takes advantage of this to drill sargeant her daughters into what they are: amazing students and amazing musicians.

My parenting method is as Western as it gets. According to Chua, “Western” parenting comes in a variety of forms, and she uses the term “Chinese parenting” to not only mean Chinese mothers (and not all Chinese mothers), but also some Korean, Indian, and other mothers using this parenting method.

The parenting involves strictly regimenting the child’s life, allowing her only limited social time. It includes harsh criticism when the parent’s high expectations are not met, hours and hours devoted to studying and practicing, and an expectation she will excel at everything and if she doesn’t it’s because she didn’t try hard enough and not because she can’t. The possibility that she can’t excel at everything doesn’t exist: a tiger mother believes her child fully capable of achieving what she expects of her. The desired outcome is a child who grows into a successful adult who believes she is capable of anything she puts her mind and focus into. Now, who wouldn’t want a child that grows into that kind of self confident, high achieving adult?

I think we focus on the belittling and the harsh words and forced hours of work, and get caught up in how abusive and cruel those things seem to be. But we see it from a very Western perspective that teaches us that we are all individuals and should be respected to make our own choices. But children don’t make good choices. They’d eat candy and sit in front of the TV all day if you let them.

I haven’t finished the book yet, but so far, I think it may be limited in scope. Chua’s girls are good girls so the outcome of her parenting — whatever we think of it — is positive. But what about those kids who have been parented like this and don’t succeed? I wonder if they exist and if there are any studies about them.

I don’t think I could parent quite like this, but I could definitely benefit from some of the lessons from this book. Because kids do make poor choices and a parent’s role is to prepare them for adult life.

I always say that I was such a rebellious teen because my parents were so strict. And that may be true, but I also grew up into a strong and independent person who believes she can do anything she wants to. But success requires hard work. “Chinese” mothers really just want their kids to live the American dream, just better than everyone else.

The devil in disguise

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

My son just did something awful and I saw this commercial at the gym and it made me think of him. He looks like an angel and can be such a sweet kid, but I never forget that he’s 17, almost 18, and can sometimes be the devil in disguise. The youtube video below isn’t as good as the commercial they play on TV. On TV, the “devil in disguise” part is much louder and makes the commercial funnier.

You can be irresistible

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

I love these new commercials! I saw one at the gym the other day and immediately perked up and wondered what it was. I haven’t checked out the website yet, but their ads are so good, I’m going to. I firmly believe that everyone can be sexy. And so do these commercials! I love this one with the two guys in the office and one of them’s petting the carpet at the end. I find them sexy — not just funny sexy, but really sexy. I think that’s the charm of the commercial — at least for me — seeing normal people being sexy. Because sexy’s not about your body size or what you look like, it’s your attitude and the whole hearted belief that you are sexy…because you are.

Reminds me…

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

I love the animation in this video. The music is catchy, the lyrics…not so crazy about them, but they remind me of my mommy.

Clowns are always scary

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

Especially little doll clowns. Think Chucky. Now he’s not a clown, but he’s only a little bit of makeup away from it. Why on earth do clowns scare us? And given that they’re scary, why on earth are they children’s entertainment?! Clowns only make sense on Dia de Los Muertos when dressed and painted up as they are, they can confuse the wandering dead to save humankind. Otherwise, they are freaky — just imagine someone walking around in a Halloween costume all year long. That’s what clowns are. Big freaking scary monsters with too much red on. Red is the color of hate and evil and blood. That’s what clowns are covered in from head to toe. Red. Blood. *Shiver*.

I am easily amused. I’ve been threatening to get rid of cable TV for like a year now. You know what I’m going to miss the most? The commercials. Not all of them, just the good ones. Like this one.

I love words

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Clearly, I love words. And I love any use of language that makes me laugh. Especially when it includes lots of dirty words — because words aren’t inherently dirty; it’s the way you use them that makes them so. I’ve only seen this commercial once on TV recently, but it’s been on YouTube for 2 years so it’s not new. But my gosh it’s funny. Just listen to the actual words they’re using. My favorite is lint licker and cootie queen. Oh my god does that sound dirty. It just goes to show you that the right sized word with a hard beginning, middle or end (or any combination of the afore) and said in the right tone can make even the most mundane words (like kumquat) sound dirty and bad.

Where my gifts, Santa? I’ve been good.

Friday, November 27th, 2009

I saw this commercial today and loved the song and tried to find it online, but it turns out it’s not a real rap song (though it should be!) Comedian Maria Bamford did a series of Target ads for their 2-day sale. I don’t know who she is, but she’s on my radar now. The commercial is awesome.

Where my gifts, Santa? I’ve been good. Better bring me sport equipment like you should! Where you at Santa? I ain’t playin’. I’ve got a nice crib to park your sleigh on. Where those elves, where your wife? You bring me the fancy electric knife. You don’t know me Santa. I’ve been good. I’ve got plenty of milk and cookies in my hood. Fa la la LA LA. Ho ho ho. Fa la la LA LA. Ho ho ho.

This is why I don’t wax more often

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

I went and got a Brazilian bikini wax today — you know, maintenance for the Laos trip to minimize any need to shave. I’ve done this now 3 times in my life in probably about as many years. The first time just because I’d never done it before and wanted to, you know, experience something new. The second time as a present to my significant other. This time for the trip.

I do it so infrequently, I completely forget how painful it’s going to be. It’s probably why I wait an entire year to go back because it takes that long to wipe out the memory of the pain. I tend to laugh as a coping mechanism for a variety of reasons and excruciating pain is one of them so every time she’d yank a strip of hair off, I’d start giggling. We were talking about all sorts of things, and everything made me laugh. I probably sounded high.

It started off nice and easy — the edges weren’t as densely populated so it hurt less. Then the searing pain. The “want to gouge out the eyes of this person who’s doing this to me” pain. The “oh my god, what the hell was I thinking” pain. And the “good lord, I can’t take anymore pain”. Oh yes. Anyone who tells you it doesn’t hurt is a big fat fucking LIAR!

Coincidentally, I happened to catch a bit of the Daily Show the other day when he was talking about how Chicago lost out to Rio de Janeiro in their bid for the 2016 Oympics and he makes a crack about bikini waxes. It starts at 4:10 in the clip below, though the whole thing is funny if you want to watch it in its entirety.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Chicago Nope
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Ron Paul Interview

Commercials make me laugh

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

This commercial is so…weird. Yet hilarious. It always makes me wonder what exactly Halls Refresh is (is it gum? a liquid centered cough drop? what?!)

Relationship advice from Zombieland

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

We saw Zombieland (trailer below) last night and I loved it in that cheap, entertaining kind of way of most zombie movies. I don’t know why zombie and vampire movies are so great, but maybe it has something to do with the type of dramatic stories we humans enjoy.

Of course, for me the fact that the main progtagonist is a geek boy who wins over the hot chick doesn’t hurt the story. You know I love the geek boys and love it even more when they win. And yeah, it’s a movie, but I believe that geek boys not only deserve super hot chicks, but they can get them too.

So here’s some relationship advice for geeks that I’ve gleaned from that fabulous movie:

  1. DON’T try to date the super hot chick that has nothing else going for her
    Listen, forget about 406 (the hot chick that lives two rooms down from you). She may be sizzling hot to look at, but if that’s all she’s got going for her, she’s not for you. She will only come to you when she needs something, then take advantage of you as soon as she needs to too (like when her zombie lust for brains takes over and she needs to feed on you).
  2. DON’T date the super hot chick that has no one else but you (a complete stranger) to turn to when she needs help
    Look, I know it’s nice to be seen as the hero and all, but if she’s got no one else she can turn to in her desperate time of need, the girl has relationship problems.
  3. DO go for the hot chick who’s got brains
    You don’t want an intellectually inferior girl. Trust me, you’re too smart for that. You want someone that can match wits with you. Someone that can outwit the brain thirsty zombies just as well as you can. She’ll improve your life by adding to it rather than draining your energies like a lesser girl might. Plus an intellectual chick will not only understand you better, but will appreciate you more.
  4. DO go for the hot chick who’ll kill for her sister
    You want someone that really loves people. Someone who’ll kill to protect her family from the advancing hordes of the undead. Because someone like that knows how to form deep attachments and you don’t want a shallow kind of love, do you?
  5. DO be patient
    An intellectual gal is likely to be a little headstrong and independent. This isn’t necessarily a fear of commitment or a lack of interest in you, it’s simply that she’s more thoughtful about who she’s going to get emotionally involved with. She’s thinking about you and weighing her options. This works in your favor because you have a lot going for you. You’re smart, you’re sweet, and you’re dedicated to her and this will probably win her over in the end.
  6. DON’T be afraid to kiss her
    She may be smart and independent and strong, but a girl doesn’t mind you making the first move. Take a risk and give the poor girl a kiss. If she hesitates, then maybe you should go back to step 5. If she pulls away in disgust, then she’s probably not interested. Or you have a zombie coming at you from behind.

Men of a certain age

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

I’m not a huge fan of TV, but I have a weakness for it. I don’t religiously follow any shows and I don’t watch most of the currently popular TV shows. I like crime dramas like Law & Order and CSI. I like Dexter and the Closer. But there’s a new show coming up on TNT called Men of a Certain Age that looks promising. I love this preview. Because I’m getting to be that age and it’s time I take my dreams back!

Gratuitous funny cat video: meowing while eating

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

My sister showed me this today and I had to watch it over and over again. The audio is just adorable!

I can’t stop watching this

Monday, September 14th, 2009

My cousin posted this on facebook and it’s cracking me up. Though a part of me is also dying a little at how much water is being wasted. It’s so dry here we have water restrictions in California — I couldn’t even wash my car when I was visiting Irvine.

Kitty drinking inefficiently from a faucet – Watch more free videos at

My lolcat addiction

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

I’m completely fascinated by I must visit the homepage, no joking, at least 10 times during the day — anytime I’m waiting for some code to run, waiting for something to build, taking a break, eating lunch — basically anytime I have a free cycle during the day, I’m looking at that damn site!

If you know me at all, you know that I often update my gmail status message with my current favorite lolcat. Most of them suck — which you’d think would make me check the site less, not more, but I think every time I see a sucky one, I think to myself — a good one is on its way, it has to be! My current favorite:

i seez ur problum...u haz a ceiling cat
(click to see full size)

My son today said to me: “‘god is your problem?’ Aren’t you going to offend aunt Jess?” (my status message says “god is your problem” and links to that lolcat.) You know, as is, ooohhhhh, you haz a ceiling cat….that’s why you haz problums. Get rid of the ceiling cat, you’ll be fine.

I took a poll of my friends once and asked them if any of them were as obsessed with that site as I was. Three male, three female. Two of the guys weren’t even interested. One of them gets a kick out of lolcats, but answered “No” to 3 out of 4 questions. One of the girls didn’t know what was, but the other two answered yes to most of my questions. Mabye it’s cause the site is full of adorable, anthropomorphized little animals. The site literally makes me want to get a cat — sometimes it makes me go browse real-life kitten listings and I fantasize about taking photos of it and making up cute little captions.

The whole lolcat meme is fascinating to me. I think especially because it’s streaming into real life now. In San Francisco, they painted a lolcat mural, and then there’s this flier that’s been going around for a while now: Mising lolcat; responds to “cheezburger”. My girlfriend (the one above who didn’t know what icanhascheezburger even was!) saw that flier in Bernal Heights the other day and took a photo of it for me!

What is it about being able to make fun of the world and current events, and god and the devil, and everything in between with cats and dogs and hamsters and inanimate objects with faces that we all find so fascinating? It just must be true — no one can resist the cute.

Your friendly serial killer

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

I’ve been absorbed in Dexter, the Showtime series about the blood forensics expert/serial killer. I love this criticism of the media buzz around Dexter on the Media Research Center’s site (a conservative group). I found it humorous.

I’ll admit to having a long time fascination with serial killers. I used to read true crime novels (those hideously unliterary little mass market books) when I was a kid and was always especially interested in the serial killers — the ones that were compelled to repeat their rituals over and over and over again. I see in my son this same fascination with death. The last time he was here he picked up a death encyclopedia. I told him he could pick between that and a coloring book on brain anatomy (we were at Paxton Gate). I was hoping to color the amygdala with him and talk about anatomy or something foolishly educational. Of course, he chose the book that catalogued different ways people died and when (which, btw, he’s learned quite a lot from), and I picked up a black and white photograph of what looked like a pile of dead dolls.

My fascination with murderers is partly why I love crime dramas. Though I also love them because each episode is discrete — you don’t have to watch an entire season to get it. Sure, there are some insignificant narratives that arc through a season, but I’m only interested in the crime. That human relationship stuff always makes me impatient.

Last night, I saw the most gruesome CSI episode: Pirates of the Third Reich. Why is it that every strong, independent, intelligent, attractive woman on TV just happens to own a pair of knee high black leather boots and a matching bull whip for just the right occassion? Like whipping your daughter’s murderer to death. The episode was about a methodically organized serial killer (much like Dexter). And in both the CSI episode and the Dexter series, there is just enough gore to be a little scary, but not enough to make me turn away.

The thing with Dexter is that he really doesn’t seem that off. The things he thinks aren’t so foreign to me. I was thinking tonight how it’s a little like anthropomorphizing an animal. Not that I would equate a human being to, say, a cat, though arguably you could say that by society’s standards, serial killers aren’t “human”. But, it’s a little like that — attributing feelings and thoughts to something, a person in this case, that don’t actually exist. But in the series, Dexter’s desire to fit in, to live a normal life — isn’t that what we all want? Maybe it’s harder for some of us than for others, or maybe I don’t understand your average person very well, or god forbid, maybe I’m giving away too much about myself when I say that I can relate to what that character thinks. I feel like he’s just a lonely, longing person who feels like he’s missing something, play acting through life, a different mask for different situations, and I think many of us have felt the same way. And I think that’s the point the show is making — that he’s a serial killer, but he’s still just a person like you and me.

The cinematography is gorgeous. The scenes from the opening credits make the mundane look threatening and murderous. It’s like an mini allegory for the entire series. And you would have never thought that a butchered, bloodless body wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine could be beautiful. But I promise you, it is.

Lessons in adulthood

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

I came home last night after seeing Avenue Q with my friends and my power was out (damn that construction!). Luckily I had a headlamp hanging on a doorknob nearby and it was late anyway so I got settled in for the night. Getting ready for bed by candlelight/headlamp is fine. The only thing that sucks about no power is no internet (and no open wireless networks near home either).

The musical was really good! We had a biggish group — eight of us, and every single one of us had a good time. We were talking about it well after we left the show — and some of us were still thinking of it today. My favorite (and possible spoilers coming up in case you don’t want to read ahead) characters were the Bad Idea Bears. Just imagine the cutest little baby puppet voices on Sesame Street giving you horrendous, unsolicited advice, then being really, really heartbreakingly sad when you don’t take it. For example: you’re depressed, your friends, the Bad Idea Bears, come to visit. In his sweet little baby voice, one says, you should hang yourself while the other one runs offstage, comes back, and in her sweetest little baby voice says (as she hands you a noose) with this piece of rope I found!. Their suggestions are so awful, but their enthusiasm is so contagious, and my goodness, you don’t want to hurt two of the cutest little baby monsters you’ve ever seen, do you?!

Ed said he heard something on the radio about how it’s supposed to be like life lessons for adults. It’s not just a parody of Sesame Street — it is Sesame Street fror adults. There are all these shows and educational programs about how to be a kid, a teen, a college student. What about when we leave college and we have all our fool headed ideas about what adulthood is like? Where are our educational programs about how to deal with our ever growing bills, or how to save money when you’re making minimum wage, or how it’s ok to have no idea what you want to do with your life even though you’re in your 30’s? What about those lessons, huh?!

Well, this show is it. It tells you straight up how a B.A. in English is a useless degree, how there’s a fine line between love and a waste of time, how everyone’s a little bit racist, depression isn’t uncommon, life is mundane, not everyone knows what their purpose in life is, the more you love someone, the more you want to kill that person, throwing pennies off super tall buildings is bad, the internet is for porn, everyone’s a little empty inside, and even well educated people can’t get a job. I feel so smart because I’m so familiar with all these lessons — it’s like reading ahead for the exam. Except the exam is every damn day. Thank god I have a good sense of humor and singing puppets are funny.

The show only runs until the end of this week (Sept 2) in San Francisco so see it if you can. You can find a list of other tour dates on the official Avenue Q website.

Cartoons and TV

Thursday, December 29th, 2005

i was at the gym tonight watching drawn together and it was a spoof of the donald trump reality show (i’ve never seen an episode of either of these shows so i’m sort of guessing). anyway — there was this upskirt shot right up a fat betty boop’s skirt and it was horrendously realistic. labia visible out the sides of her panties, pubic hair coming out the top and i thought, jesus christ — are kids watching this? to be fair there was a disclaimer at the commercial break that said something about it being unrated…mature audiences, etc…

speaking of tv…last night i watched four hours of law and order (well, 3 then a closer). i was over at ed’s — i meant to just do laundry and then go, but those law and orders start right up after one’s ended and it doesn’t even give you time to disengage yourself from the couch. i had to drag myself out at midnight so i could go home and sleep, and i was afraid i’d get mugged in the parking lot of the condo complex he lives in.

then i was afraid to go upstairs into my loft for fear someone was up there. the whole time i was taking a bath, i kept thinking, wow…now would be a really good time to come kill me — i’m naked in the tub without my contacts in. before i went to bed: should i leave my front door unlatched in case the police come and have to break the door down?

random acts of violence aside — it’s love you should worry about. four crime drama episodes and they all involved murder and love. in one, a daughter poisons her mother and puts her in a coma (ok, she doesn’t actually die, but wouldn’t you rather be dead than in a coma?), a mother kills her son (who totally randomly killed people, but he was schizophrenic), in another one an italian mobster’s son kills his father’s beloved mistress, and in the fourth, a nice catholic girl kills her boyfriend when she finds out he’s actually a girl — by mashing her head in, then shooting her in the face, then she cuts off her hair and strips off her clothes.

yup. love is what you want to avoid if you wanna live a long time ;)

Ghost in the Shell creators

Saturday, October 2nd, 2004

Interesting article on Ghost in the Shell and the two men responsible for its creation.

My and my monkey

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

Oh my god…this is such a funny song. I’m not sure yet if I like Robbie Williams because I’ve only heard a little bit of him. Apparently he’s a megastar everywhere but in the U.S. This song (lyrics) was perfect for our Vegas trip:

In walked this big, bad-ass baboon into my bedroom
with 3 monkey whores
“Hi, my name is Sunshine. These are my girls.
Lace my palm with silver baby oh yeah
and they’ll rock your world”

(Though none of us ordered any monkey whores.)

Joining the circus

Thursday, September 23rd, 2004

That phrase has such romantic appeal, doesn’t it? A girl I knew used to live in a huge community warehouse in Oakland. At one of her parties, I got to meet a friend of hers who was going to the SF Circus Center. He was graceful and limber, and gave me an itch for the circus. Geek Love, read years ago, gave me an itch for the circus. So did Nights at the Circus beautifully give me an itch for the circus. Oh, and of course, HBO’s Carnivàle makes me yearn for the circus. Now, apparently, it’s fashionable to be into the circus. Trapeze for fitness is recently trendy. And apparently a good place to pick up on hot men with buff arms. I just want to fly through the air.