Saturday, June 26, 2010

¡Si, se puede!

"Thank you for calling the Arizona travel advisory hotline. If you're planning a trip to Arizona, beware of an important travel warning: an overly stringent law on immigration has made it difficult for anyone who looks even remotely suspicious, resulting in detainment." -Mock Arizona Travel Advisory Hotline

"I could see you joining the Peace Corps." -My wonderful cousin (love you, Kari!)

Aseem: It's a crisis!
Me: What's a crisis?
Tim: Yo momma!

Greetings, greetings, fellow stargazers! My apologies that it's been a while since my last post. I was quite busy being eaten alive by junior finals, and then I was even more busy doing nothing. Simply, I have no excuse. So, I figure it's high time I return to the blogosphere.

The Top 5 Things That Have Happened Recently (in no specific order)

1.) I returned to my volunteer job last week in the poorer part of Bellevue. In related news, my rate of Spanish use sharply increased that day.

2.) Forgetting the last time I watched a horror/thriller series on YouTube, I spent two days watching MarbleHornets' Slenderman series, i.e., "Let's take everything this girl is scared of, and make it into the Blair Witch Project for YouTube"

3.) Tony Awards! Catherine Zeta-Jones needs to learn how to sing "Send in the Clowns".

4.) Pilates, dance, voice, math... I thought summer was meant to be a break from learning!

5.) The commencement of the Summer Film Extravaganza with my mom... basically, everything that until now has been deemed "Too Old" for me to see (Annie Hall, Amelie, etc.)

Moving on!

How's the Esperanto coming?

Oh, yeah, that...

*clears throat*

That's kind of part of the point of the blog, isn't it? Uh... yeah!

*shifts awkwardly*

Don't worry, I haven't been wasting too much of my time! I have officially started learning some of the International Language. The website I'm using ( has many, many different methods of studying Esperanto, so it's a little overwhelming, but I am learning some things, which is nice. I've already learned the essential survival phrase for any language: "I don't understand!" (in this case, "Mi no comprenas!"). Also, the classic "Hello, what's your name, how are you" conversation. Pretty straightforward stuff. I actually really liked the particular method they used to teach these phrases, so I might pursue that further.

To practice, from now on, I think I'll head my posts with a little status update, so I can teach myself some new adjectives. Some basic, extremely useful ones:

lace (LAHTseh)- tired
sufiĉe bone (sooFEEcheh BOHneh)- OK
bone (BOHneh)- good/well
malbone (mahlBOHneh)- bad
tre bone (TREH BOHneh)- very well

By the way...

Sorry if I'm not sounding terribly witty/intelligent tonight. It's been a long week, and I'm really lace. I should drink more water...

Out of curiosity, what's with the quotes at the top of the post?

Ah, hm, okay... this is not a popular opinion, but... I think people are being waaaaay too hard on illegal immigrants. And I'm really, really tired of hearing people saying things like "They're takin' our jobs!" because, you know what, they're not really taking jobs that any sane citizen would want. Farm labor? Long hours, triple-digit temperatures, lower-than-minimum wages. If that's your idea of a good job, more power to you, but honestly, it's one of the most brutal and yet essential jobs out there. Who's going to harvest our fresh fruits and veggies? Given these conditions, only the most desperate will step up to that plate. And if you're desperate enough to take a job in which you risk literally working yourself to death, you're probably desperate enough to cross the border illegally to get there.

Look, what really needs to happen, really really really needs to happen, is a loosening and stream-lining of the immigration system here. It can take months and thousands of dollars for a person to legally move to the US, and any small technical error (and there are many possibilities) can delay the process. It's ridiculous. Ridiculous and unnecessary. We really need to make the system less convoluted, less pricey, and less contradictory (one person says to send a photocopy, has to be a photo copy, of a document, only for the recipient to say that it's illegal to photocopy that document... what?).

There's my two cents on the issue...

You ARE tired, aren't you?

Heck yeah, woman. I'm so tired, I'm going to bed before 11 PM... willingly.

Goodnight, my someones!

P.S. Kari, you've inspired me. I might actually look into joining the Peace Corps someday.
P.P.S. According to Glenn Beck, the Peace Corps is not unlike the SS in Nazi Germany.
P.P.P.S. Then again, Glenn Beck has Nazi Tourette's.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Words and their Usage

"Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" -Arnold Jackson, "Diff'rent Strokes"

"Words, words, words/I'm so sick of words!" -Eliza Doolittle, "My Fair Lady"

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." -Martin Luther King, Jr. (correct me if I'm wrong)

So, the last week has been me bouncing between studying for finals, wrapping up church choir, and counseling my guy friends on their crushes on straight boys (it ain't gonna happen, guys), I've been having lots of thoughts and conversations about words.

Words are extremely powerful things. Remember back in the day when "Oriental" was what you called anyone from Asia? Is that okay now? No.

Nowadays, people can have one of two attitudes towards words; the "it's just a word" school of thought, or the "respect the meaning" school of thought. I, personally, am more "respect the meaning," because this takes into account history, etymology, cultural significance, and is less likely to harm.

So, for this reason, I'd like to break down several words which I have argued about in the last few days, because their usage just really gets under my skin and bothers me.

1.) ILLEGAL (as in "Damn illegals stealin' our jobs!")

This one's gotten a fair amount of use lately, what with Arizona's apparent mass insanity regarding illegal immigrants/legal immigrants/kids of immigrants/people who look like immigrants. Just a few minutes ago, I responded to a comment on a post on's US Poverty blog, because the commentor was using the word "illegal" to describe the people. As in, just "illegal". Not illegal immigrant. Just "illegal".

I think my response says it all: "I take offense at your refering to these people as 'illegals'. This reduces their whole identity to the fact that they bypassed our convoluted, expensive and backwards immigration system. It overlooks their hopes, dreams, woes and history. They are more than illegal immigrants. They are people, like you and me."

2.) FAG

This is a really hot issue. Can only gays say it to each other, can people use it in the context of "fag hag" (a girl with many gay male friends... a.k.a. me), etc.? Personally, I think no one should use it. Why? Because the original definition referred to wood that burned very quickly.

Note that gays used to be burned at the stake.

Now, even if people today don't use this word this way, it's still wrong. The origin of the current usage is pretty clear when you see the connection, and it's simply a dehumanizing term like "illegal". It reduces a person's identity to simply their sexual orientation, nothing else, and that's just not okay.

3.) "That's so gay!"

Ugh. Aside from making no sense (That essay test was homosexual? No wonder you lost points for word choice!), it sends the message that being gay is stupid, awful or otherwise negative, which it isn't. There's better words out there to express how nasty something is, without resorting to using words related to a part of a person's identity.

To conclude...

People, think about what you say. With few exceptions, there's no such thing as "just a word". Monitor your speech and make sure that what you're saying lifts others up instead of bringing them down.

Food for thought. Eat and enjoy. :)