Monday, August 30, 2010

Float Along And Listen To The Song

[the little mermaid - kiss the girl]

as mentioned on friday, i have been listening to this song non-stop. disney 4eva.

in other news, holyfuckingshit i'm moving in 2 days.

Sha la la la la la
My oh my
Look like the boy too shy
Ain't gonna kiss the girl
Sha la la la la la
Ain't that sad?
Ain't it a shame?
Too bad, he gonna miss the girl

Friday, August 27, 2010

Turning Loneliness Into Happiness: Another Memo To Myself

Learn how to make something:
food, a shoe box, a good day.
Remember, finally, there are few pleasures
that aren't as local as your fingertips.
Never go to Europe for a cathedral.
In large groups, create a corner
in the middle of the room.
- Stephen Dunn "How to be Happy: Another Memo to Myself"

First, watch this video.

Have you watched it yet? This is probably much better advice than I'm about to give you. It might also be kind of the same, but mine is probably for people who are not already perfect.

What's happening is this: Laura is going to Spain really soon. I am moving out of my parent's house. I am starting a new school in a program with people that I don't know. All my habits are about to change and that's kind of scary because there will be no more shared Alias watching, no more old comforts. Now I will have to find new comforts.

What I mean is this: I'm anticipating a period of loneliness in my life. It could spiral out of control and my life could become a mess as I struggle to deal with all the feelings (ALL THE FEELINGS!) happening all at once, or I could learn "how to be alone".

I expect that you, reader, are also going to experience at least one period of loneliness in the next 5 months, because you are (probably) a human and we are all lonely sometimes. Even Jennifer Beals is lonely sometimes. This is how I imagine my particular loneliness: it starts in my stomach, small, and then works its way up to squeezing my heart so hard that I think my heart must stop beating soon, only it doesn't. It's the opposite of the feeling of hugging your dad when you were 6 and he was superman because he could lift up your bike.

I have a plan to stave off my own loneliness for the winter. I have no idea if it will work. This plan has been formatted to fit me (tv screen). Maybe you can learn something from it, maybe you can help me stay afloat, maybe you will think I'm crazy. I expect that the next 5 months will take a superior mental effort to get through, or at least the first 1-3, and then maybe the next ones will sort of roll along. I don't plan on going through the motions. I plan on fully living my life with expected periods of stress and loneliness and feelings of wanting to go "home" even though "home" is a concept not a place. The point is to contain those periods so I don't spiral out of control into a fit of depression.

Joseph Addison said the grand essentials to happiness are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. I feel like this is some of the best advice ever and if I find all these things, however small, my plan will succeed. Then in January I can collapse or find a new plan. Like how cell phones work.

This is what I have so far via Joseph Addison:

Something to do: I'm moving and starting school and looking for a new job. It's taking up all my time.
Something to love: we'll get back to that (maybe).
Something to hope for: I'm going to interpret this as "something to look forward to" or "something you hope to achieve in the future". My aunt from Berkeley is coming September 19th. I'm superexcited and I feel like when she comes all my problems will be solved. Basically by September 19th I want to be "settled in" to my "new life".

In a slight tangent, I feel like this is a little bit like The Sims. Remember that game? Either way, it's not a hard concept to grasp. Each Sim has desires and needs and you have to fill them.

Sims need to eat, sit, shower, pee, sleep, have fun, have friends, and enjoy their living space. Make sure all those things are green and your Sim is happy ("happy").

Here is my plan for being the happiest person I can be this fall/early winter in between finding things to hope for.

1. Denial/Thinking Positive/Letting Go

A small part of me wants to see if I can trick myself into actually being in denial that Laura is in Spain for 5 months. The idea is that if I deny it long enough, by the time I'm ready to accept the fact, she might be back on this continent already and I'll be like "oh, that was fast. I hadn't realized you'd left."

Realistically, that is not going to happen. Thus I have to use a combination of denial and "acceptance" to overcome this particular obstacle.

What is the difference between denial and thinking positively? Probably to a psychologist there is a big difference, but to me, they kind of seem the same sometimes. See, thinking positive is just the opposite of feeling those dark feelings. For example, I could be thinking of all the things I'm going to miss when Laura goes away. There are a lot of things, and the idea makes me cry for serious. My plan is to live in complete and total denial of those feelings and force myself to think of little things I am excited to do (see: #6 something to hope for). Maybe it's a dumb idea to pretend that I don't feel lonely when I am, but you know what? I don't want to be lonely. I will tell myself that I'm happy until I'm actually happy. I will use all the psychological force in the world to make myself happy. It's not a life plan but until things change that's what I have to do.

2. Listen to Irrelevant Music

Music touches a sensitive chord with a lot of people. When I'm lonely all I want to do is be alone and listen to sad music. Obviously this is part of the downward spiral.

+ Every disney song I can possibly think of (I have been listening to "Kiss the Girl" from The Little Mermaid on repeat for the past 3 days)
+ Lady Gaga (not that she's irrelevant, just that I don't want to cry every time I listen to her)
+ Phoenix
+ some Tegan and Sara
+ most stuff that comes on shuffle

+ Bon Iver ("Good Winter"?? Justin Vernon was shut up alone in a cabin in the middle of winter for 3 months writing these songs. These songs were MADE for lonely winters/cold weather/feeling like dying)
+ Iron & Wine
+ most Bright Eyes songs
+ some Death Cab for Cutie
+ "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan

3. Compartmentalize Your Crying

I'm pretty sure I'm going to cry at least once, most likely 10 or more times, in the next few months. Crying is kinda tricky though, 'cause there's good crying and bad crying. Good crying feels good. It's like a weight off your shoulders. Bad crying feels like choking and despair and a downward spiral. Bad crying is crying for no reason.

My advice to myself: It's okay to cry over spilled milk, I think. Let's be real -- "spilling milk" sucks, especially when it's all the milk you had and the grocery store is closed. Can you cry and clean up at the same time? 'Cause then you're okay. I mean, maybe not, 'cause you have no milk. But you must recognize that life goes on.

Also, think about crying with someone rational or else you might take a sudden dive and start crying because your best friend in the 3rd grade called you chubby. It's easy to start crying about something small but then end up because of everything in the whole entire world. It's important to avoid this because it doesn't work with #1 and will probably make you want to listen to the music on your AVOID list.

4. Find Something To Do

This is like that Sims thing. Make sure you eat and pee and sleep. Make sure you have fun! Make sure you see your friends. Do all the things you would make your Sim do, except do them faster. Try to not be bored as often as possible. Distract yourself because then it'll be easier to be in denial about your loneliness. I like to make to-do lists. Currently my list is full of things like "buy a new razor" which I've had there for over a month. I accomplish more pressing things faster. Try something new! Since I'll be living on my own for the first time ever, I have to make all my own meals so I'll be trying a lot of new recipes and experimenting in cooking. If that's too boring for you, join the fencing club. Do your homework.

Avoid being alone. Even if you want to, but especially if you want to. Sometimes when I'm lonely I lie on my bed and stare at my ceiling and if I lie there long enough I begin to trick myself into thinking I don't exist. This is kind of a scary thought. The way to fix this is make contact with the outside world. I don't think it means you have to go out with 20 people for 5 hours. Hang out with one friend for half an hour. Invite them to your house and keep your pyjamas on. If even that's too much, go to the store and ask the employees some questions about whatever it is they're selling. Wear your pyjamas if it makes you feel better. As long as you make a connection with someone. It doesn't have to be a lasting one. Just make sure you still exist. Okay?

5. Something To Like

I'm not entirely sure what Joseph Addison means by "something to love". Does he mean find a person to love? 'Cause that's something that could take, literally, a lifetime. Does he mean a hobby? 'Cause that's kind of like "something to do".

I'm going to assume he means find something that you like more than other things. Sometimes I have to do things that I don't want to do and that would be filed under "something to do" and not "something to love".

Finding something to love sounds to me like finding a serious passion that you might want to pursue as a career or something and I don't think I'm ready to declare that yet, so I'm sticking with something to like. I like to read and take pictures and play the guitar so I'm going to try and do those things in my spare time.

I think the point is to not get caught up with work/school/stress. Do something for you.

6. Something To Hope For

Living in the present is good because we should appreciate the things we have, except sometimes there are shitty days. On those days, we should remember that there's always tomorrow.

Like I said before, I'm really excited for my aunt to visit on Sept. 19th. And after that, I'm not so sure, but I assume there will be something to look forward to. Probably the Phoenix concert in October. November is for some reason considered the month of depression, but it's also the month of my birthday, so there must be something good happening there. And then, you know, we'll see. The most important thing to know is that even if you're lonely now, you will not always be lonely. I won't promise a lot of things, but I will promise you that. There's always something to live for.

"Sometimes you're flush, and sometimes you're bust, and when you're up, it's never as good as it seems, and when you're down, you think you'll never be up again. But life goes on."


"Why do the stars shine?"
"The stars shine so we can locate each other when we're far away. So I can see, 'I see the big dipper,' and you can say, 'yes, I see it too.'"

Monday, August 23, 2010

This Train Is A Long Goodbye

Have you ever been on a train and dreamed about being on a train? Well, I have. I woke up at 4 this morning to catch a train that would take me to a place where I could get on another train. I fall asleep on the second train, and that's where I have my dream.

I was asleep on the train and then I woke up. Someone I knew was sitting next to me. She wanted me to read to her aloud. She couldn't read the word 'schedule'. I tried to read aloud but every time I did a few words would come out and then my mouth would hang open and I wouldn't be able to close it. I could only make sounds in the back of my throat. I knew that I was capable of reading aloud, only my mouth wouldn't move. I fell back asleep.

When I woke up there were a few little girls boarding the train. They must've been 9 or 10 years old. One of them sat next to me. I dozed off. I woke up and one of their friends was getting on at a new stop. She had a striped blue and white shirt. My clothes were all out of my bag. How did that happen? The girls seemed to be running away from something. They huddled together and spoke to each other as if they had a plan. I started picking my clothes up off the floor and putting them back in my bag. I had to reach over the girl next to me. Sorry, I said. I went back to sleep.

I wake up in real life with a little bit of drool on the side of my mouth and a slight fear that if I try to speak my mouth will hang open and never close again. There is a person beside me in a striped shirt. It has only been an hour and a half since I fell asleep. I'm supposed to be asleep for the next 10 hours.

Have you ever said goodbye to someone at a train station? Have you ever sat in your seat and looked out the window and the person you care about is standing there waiting for the train to leave? I have, and all I want to do is jump out the window and leave the train behind. But the train starts to move and my girl starts to cry. I want to ask someone when I will see her next but I'm afraid to know. I lay down across two seats and let small tears crawl down my cheek. Hey, how're you doing… the ticketman comes to collect my ticket. His voice trails off as he sees me crying and he avoids eye contact. I fumble with my ticket. Sorry, I say. He says nothing. I go to sleep. I want to sleep until the boa constrictor in my chest unravels and slinks away.

When I wake up again on the second train the person in a striped shirt is gone. I am unsure if they were ever there or if it was something I dreamed into life. There is no evidence of their being there. I want to go back to sleep but instead I write. The shake shake of the train makes me feel like vomiting when I stare at my screen. I write until I feel fully nauseous. I want to be asleep. I write 'I want to be asleep'.

I want to be asleep.

I have a brown paper bag full of snacks for the train, but I'm not hungry. I pick at the food on top; chips, some candy, and a peanut butter bar. It is only till much later that I check the bottom of the bag for more food. There's a napkin underneath with words written on it and I feel my throat close up and my eyes burn again. There is a flood behind my eyelids and if I keep them closed it will not leak out. To anybody else, I suppose, the napkin is just a napkin. But to me it's a little bit of home, or a little bit of a place where there's warmth and comfort. It's a part of a safety blanket. I keep it at the bottom of the bag.

The train is very cold. I wear your shirt and your sweater and your hat. I want to feel like I am wearing you, but it just feels like I am wearing your sweater.


In relation to the earth and the universe, we are just two tiny blips on a very big map. There are many people who have lived before us, and many who will live after. There are many people in our time who we will never meet, who will never know us separately or together, will never be touched or changed by us, will never know our names. We will likely be lost in the history books, but we have found each other. We exist to love and to be loved, to know that our own stories are enough.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Supreme Art of Letting Go

The slow change of summer to fall, and we sit in denial. It's not quite happening yet, but you begin to think to yourself that you need a new pair of boots, and your mind briefly passes over that sweater you will wear when the weather changes -- it hasn't changed yet. But you know it will. It's happening right in front of your eyes.

For a while you refuse to shed the light t-shirts and shorts, until, undeniably it is fall and then possibly winter, and your shoes are wet from snow that melts when it touches the ground. But you still don't wear those boots, and your jacket is a sweater inside of which you shiver once or twice. One day you wake up and go outside and your breath catches in your throat and you know it's time to get the heavy-duty stuff; the hats and gloves, longjohns, big sweaters, and the hibernation attitude that allows you to trudge through dirty snow on your way home, where you will wear all these things. The days are short, but you knew this was coming. You saw it happening, it happens every year. But you are just not ready.


Slow change is like this. You wake up next to somebody and know that soon your bed will be empty, because summer is leaving and you are hungry. You can see the day when there will be no more hot whispers in your ear, no more christmas lights in August because it is no longer August, no more warm fireplace, no more warm body next to you, no more fingers on green shirts, no more kisses or touches or toothy grins kissing touching toothy grins.

Denial is easy and you hold on to it for as long as possible, but little by little you put the sweaters in the front of your closet, preparation for the coming cold. You don't wear them yet though. Summer is leaving, you know this, but you are just not ready for it to go. Knowledge does not make it easier, in fact, very little makes it easier.


You feel, and you let yourself feel it. You let the fall sharpness bite you, just for a second, before you wrap yourself up, and you hold it inside yourself, and then you inhale and exhale and you let it go. You breathe the cold air out and then you breathe in and out some more, because that's what you have to do, breathe the cold air out of your lungs until there is no more, and then you walk. You walk and talk and breathe and move your fingers like a human being with human tendencies. You make sure to wear your thickest coat to soften the blows until it doesn't feel like punching anymore. And that is all you need to do, for now at least. And you will emerge. You will emerge.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sweet Potato Fries And That

How to make them:

+ buy sweet potatoes.
+ preheat oven to 400.
+ wash + peel them.
+ cut them into fries.
+ put them on a pan
+ add olive oil, cumin, chili, salt, pepper + whatever other spices you want (maybe paprika)
+ mix them up
+ cook them for 20-30 minutes depending on how crispy you want them. if you want them extra crispy, put them on the top rack and broil them.

done. bye.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dear Grandma,

Stop doubting my cooking abilities.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

We Would Lay and Learn What Each Other's Bodies Were For

[neutral milk hotel - king of carrot flowers pt 1]

have you heard of neutral milk hotel? well you should hear them now. be sure to check out their album in the aeroplane over the sea. don't even question me on this, just do it.

ps. sorry music monday is on tuesday.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

This Is An Important Lesson About Seizing The Day

"Sad things: I came back for my shoes and someone had bought them. I feel more bothered than I should be. guess I should learn to carpe diem or something."

Some days I wake up and feel like SEIZING THE MOTHERFUCKING DAY. Some days I wake up and feel like sleeping the day. This is fine because our society is not set up for all people to seize all days all the time.

"Seizing the day" relies on the idea that the future is unknowable. That means that you could die in 5 minutes or tomorrow morning or right now. If you die right now, the last thing you will have done is read these words. Is that how you want your last seconds to be spent? Have you accomplished everything you wish you could have ever accomplished before you died? No. You haven't. The goal of seizing the day is to MOTHERFUCKING DO THINGS YEAH because everyone knows you regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did. It's better to try something than to spend the rest of your life wondering what could have been.

If I died right now my grave would read:

Emily Choo
Unpublished author,
Employee of American Eagle

Um, LAME. I mean, of course, there is tons of shit that I have done but it's too long to fit on a tombstone. If I were to operate on the "carpe diem" philosophy based on my fake tombstone and the idea that I will die tomorrow, I would quit my job right the fuck now. Then, most likely, I would wake up tomorrow, still alive, and then I might die and my tombstone would read:

Emily Choo
Unpublished author,

The thing about seizing the day is that humans have habits and responsibilities that lie beyond the face of "today". So how do you seize the day when you have a bunch of shit that you don't want to do? What if you have to do shit that you don't want to do today so that you can be happy tomorrow? We can't skydive every day, you know.

The answer is this (I am telling you the answer to life, the universe, and everything): 42.


The answer is to seize the day some days. Seize the day on important days. Buy the shoes, but keep your job. Do your homework, but when you go out, make it count.

Here is some good advice from my favourite TV show 30 Rock:

Live every week like it's shark week.
Dress every day like you're going to get murdered in those clothes.

And some of my personal advice:

When the time comes for someone to write your obituary, make sure they have something to write about.

Emily Choo
Seized the day,
most days.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Things The World Is Trying To Convincing Me Of

+ I have breast cancer
+ I have brain cancer
+ My body is eating me from the inside out
+ I don't exist
+ I will never complete a full to-do list
+ I need therapy
+ I need to eat healthier
+ I need to exercise more
+ My breasts are going to be saggy
+ Getting old is the apocalypse
+ 25 is old
+ I need to grow up
+ University is a waste of time (why does the world convince me of this?)
+ University will get me a job
+ We're all going to die in 2012
+ Everything is going to be fine
+ Mo' money, mo' problems
+ My plane is going to be hijacked
+ I need to have children
+ There are too many children
+ I need to be more cultured
+ I need more money
+ I need to panic
+ I can be anything even superman
+ Good things come to those who wait
+ Seize the day
+ I don't know enough
+ I'm lazy
+ I know too much
+ I don't read enough
+ I'm going to get cancer from smoking, second-hand smoke, using my cell phone to call people, microwaves, hair dye, x- rays, asbestos, bottled water, chips, genes, deodorant, chinese food, coffee, sunblock, bleach, orange juice, pesticides, low cholesterol, everything on this list, stress, obesity, white bread, cookies, crackers, everything yummy, alcohol, artificial flavours, being a woman, being a man, bubble baths, fake nails, lipstick, menstruating, pizza, redbull, tattoos, sex, shaving, third-hand smoke, everything in the whole world except tomatoes and the sun
+ Technology is evil
+ Technology is the best thing ever
+ I should live in the woods
+ We're all the same
+ I'm a unique and special snowflake
+ I'm depressed
+ I have ADD
+ I'm schizophrenic
+ I'm bipolar
+ I'm OCD
+ I have an anxiety disorder
+ I need 5 jobs
+ Wikipedia is not a valid source of information
+ Everyone is scared so shutup
+ Nikki needs a chandelier
+ There are spies among us
+ Spiders won't eat me in my sleep
+ I need to be famous to accomplish things
+ I need to love more
+ I need to love less
+ I have SARS
+ I'm going to hell
+ Hell is not a real place
+ There's an app for that
+ I need to be kinder
+ I need to be more patient
+ I need to do things for myself
+ Shakespeare was the greatest writer of all time
+ I need to stop being so hard on myself
+ People care
+ No one cares
+ The answer is somewhere else
+ I need to follow my heart
+ I need to listen to my brain
+ The arts are a waste of time
+ I need to recycle more
+ I need to learn how to drive
+ I need to drink more water
+ I need a crutch
+ Drugs are bad
+ I'm stupid
+ I'm smarter than you
+ I need to leave my house
+ There is no cure
+ There is a God
+ There is no God


Monday, August 2, 2010

Sweet Surrender Is All That I Have To Give

[sarah mclachlan - sweet surrender]

I love Sarah McLachlan and want to marry her. Is there anything as comforting as listening to Mirrorball over and over again? No. No, there is not.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Is Anna Wintour Practicing Mind Control On Us?

Do you ever read something on the internet and then you can't stop clicking links and searching until hours and hours have passed and you've read 100 wikipedia pages and your eyes burn? The other day I watched The Devil Wears Prada and became so fascinated with Vogue/Anna Wintour/Fashion/Meryl Streep's Character that I started searching for all these things and next thing you know I'm watching The September Issue and reading a biography of Anna Wintour at Chapters.

It's just so crazy! She's this all-powerful woman and impossible to determine her true character. I read her wikipedia page and here's a woman who's been nicknamed "Nuclear Wintour", dislikes fat people, is cold and aloof, and reportedly once sent a plate of roast beef to anti-fur protestors outside Vogue's building. Then, I watched The September Issue and was kind of surprised. The only impressions I took away from the documentary were a) Grace Coddington is awesome, b) Anna Wintour is kind of cute, and c) she doesn't seem that evil.

See, everybody knows that it's hard to get a real grasp on a person (especially someone like Anna Wintour who is very private) from speculation, press/random articles, and fictitious books maybe based on her. That's why I was so curious to see The September Issue. Ultimately I was kind of disappointed. I feel like I learned more about Grace Coddington's character than Anna's, besides seeing the potential that Anna is in fact a human being with a heart/soul, though probably they didn't show everything they could have shown about her, and probably she gave the answers she wants other people to hear. Don't trust things that can be edited. The September Issue did nothing to help me decide if Anna Wintour is a cold-hearted bitch or a strong/ambitious person who is also shy and has incurred the wrath of many beneath her. She's also aroused the curiosity of many, and done very little to satisfy it, much to my dismay.

Says The Globe and Mail: "If you want the dish on Vogue fashion editor Anna Wintour, you'll get more from the Wikipedia entry than in the whole of R.J Cutler's documentary, The September Issue." (except this whole article is full of errors but WHATEVER)

All I know for sure about Anna Wintour is that she is fucking influential. She's the reason why we have celebrities on the covers of magazines! She's the person who "ignited the fur industry"! Anna Wintour controls what is in style SHE CONTROLS WHAT YOU WEAR! Is Lady Gaga her protégé and are they brainwashing us and taking over the planet?

Is Anna Wintour this person...

...or this person?

In any case, I'm going to reread ("read") the only copy of Vogue I've ever bought (March 2010 with Tina Fey on the cover) more carefully now.

Does anyone care about this? What happens when Anna Wintour retires?? She's been the editor-in-chief of American Vogue for over 20 years! WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO THE WORLD!? IS IT WEIRD THAT I'M SO FASCINATED BY THIS WHEN I DON'T EVEN CARE ABOUT FASHION!? WHO IS ANNA WINTOUR!?