Friday, August 26, 2011

Toof and Tooth

School has officially started. The park lots are bursting like bloated stomachs. Students crawl or outright run to reach their classes in time. The weather is sweaty with torrents of rain in the afternoon. I'm buried deep in lesson plans, new assignments, and my own writing goals. I can barely breathe through the cracks in the pile. But there's something nice about being back too. I love unlocking my office door and shutting out the hallway noise. Sitting at my pumpkin-colored cubicle, I glance at the photos and illustrations tacked on the walls. I remember what had inspired me through my first year of grad school.

With the return of clustered classrooms and red pens comes, of course, the annual doctor appointments. I had ambled through my visit with the dentist and came out with the unsettling knowledge that I had another cavity. And worse - the cavity was on my wisdom tooth. Irony. Irony. Irony. I couldn't help but laugh.

I mean... who gets a cavity there?

I found out quickly that I wasn't alone in my ignorance. I told my friends, complained to my family. And they all said something along the lines of: "Your wisdom tooth? Don't those things just get yanked out?"

Hmm... don't they? I've been lucky enough not to have to get my wisdom teeth pulled. I think it's lucky, though I've heard that the longer you wait to get them pulled, the more painful it is when they do leave your mouth. I kind of wish that parting with one's intelligent teeth would be a more peaceful procedure. I imagine the four teeth wiggling out of my gums, as painless as climbing out of bed when you're wide awake. They'd pack their bags, wave goodbye as they jumped off my lower lip, and set off for a journey of continued enlightenment. But no, it's not like that, is it?

So yesterday I stepped into the very chilly dentist office, read some gossip magazines, and tried not to shiver when I left the left side of my mouth go numb. I got my shot (the dentist was pleasantly surprised when I didn't whine) and watched the metal instruments as they got passed along above my nose. The drilling, the buzzing, the red light - it didn't frighten me. I was riding a wave of relief, thankful that, for once, I couldn't feel a thing.

A little shaky and smiling awkwardly, I left the dentist and headed home to wait for the numbness to dissipate. I was worried that a sudden and intense pain would emerge, so to keep my cool, I found a wonderfully ironic blog to look at: My Milk Toof. I've been a huge fan of this lovely blog for quite some time. Inhae Lee, the talented artist who runs this blog, creates relaxing, whimsical stories and scenes with her two milk teef, ickle and Lardee.

Aren't they adorable? When I read Lee's new posts, I tend to remember how nice it is to actually love your teeth. And pretend they like to watch pancake syrup drip. If there's one thing you have to do after reading this post, it's to check out this blog and coo over it's awesomeness, haha. The numbness lifted with only a minor headache and no tooth pain. Maybe my wisdom tooth used it's x-ray vision to read the blog too. It settled down and went back to sleep.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Do you remember navigating the realms of your earliest school years? You wore a little red backpack that you dangled on one shoulder - just to look cool - and maybe the highlight of your day was trading of your baggy of carrots for a cup of vanilla pudding.

And, more than likely, the underbelly of your desk had been covered with hard, crusty gum.

I had been late on the chewing gum craze. My parents had made sure that I did not end up addicted to the stuff; they also, rightfully so, watched over my teeth at a time where I didn't care what was causing my future cavities. Sometimes I watched with aching longing as my friends gnawed on gum. Other times, I was glad I didn't develop the bad habit of sneaking gum and chewing nosily during Algebra: you couldn't hide behind equations and the hum of the overhead projector.

I used to walk the outdoor halls of high school, stepping on gum spots without thinking much of them. They turned grey, much like we do when we're old and weather-beaten.

I never curled my hands on the corners of my desk, no matter how badly I wanted to find a more comfortable position for my hands. One must always avoid touching gum under the desk. Those, unlike the ones outside, might still be mushy.

ABC Gum stands for Already Been Chewed.

Kind of gross, right? But it has a name. And I think that's fascinating in and of itself. As a writer, I'm always searching for specific words; you lose power when you grab the power bar instead of the hardy apple. Vagueness is the enemy of writers; I like to image it as a faceless figure with a cloak of fog.

Anyway, my nostalgic memories wouldn't be complete without referencing how I learned about the ABC gum term. It wasn't from talking with friends or even something spilled from a teacher's lips. The term came into my life via the, oftentimes, vulgar cartoon show called Cow and Chicken.

Note: Although I tend to enjoy such lovely, delicate things like tea, lace, and soft teddy bears, I also have a crazy sense of humor. And was lovingly raised on cartoons - to which I owe the strange inner workings of my mind. So hopefully me referencing this show doesn't come as too much of a surprise, haha.

So yes, after watching this exact episode, I finally found out what ABC gum was. A long-winded education, isn't it? But the credit card lesson in the episode was pretty informative too :)

At certain times this coming semester, I'm sure I'll feel like the gum under the desk. But remembering the humor in it helps to soften and flop off the desk - and continue on into the wonderment that is winter vacation.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tidbits: August Edition

Picture / Photo Find

Something I Did

School is starting soon. I have two weeks left, but that doesn't mean they will be full of freedom. Orientation will block out a few days of each of those weeks; I'll meet new instructors and learn about changes and perhaps see my name somewhere in the new textbook. Doesn't it seem weird for school to start in August? Does anyone out there start later? (And I guess I'm talking about high school and college).

I shouldn't complain though. The weather doesn't change in Florida between the two months. September is just as hot as August. The new school year is close enough for me to close my treasure drawer and put away summer toys. Time to get back to work.

This summer has been exciting, and sometimes boring, and I am looking forward to getting back in the office again. There's a lot of pressure involved in summer vacation. You're required to have fun, goof off, and be unproductive. If you're not any of these things, you get pitying looks that are kind of funny to see. The secret truth of summer vacation is that it's a beautiful illusion; we're all working on something, whether it's paying the bills or taking another step towards our dreams. Although my pile of unplayed video games is getting dusty, I'm still proud of how I spent my time.

Off to school - to the papers, the freezing classrooms, and mandatory fire drills!

A Quote from a Book I Love

So it seems that one of my unconscious goals in life is to collect all of Francesca Lia Block's books. She is, by far, one of my favorite writers. The local library has been so amazing; they carry a lot of her books already, so I've been reading many of her books that I hadn't been able to get a hold of before. However, there are still a lot of them I have yet to read. So I ordered a few of those and happily awaited their arrival in my mailbox.

One of them is the tiny poetry book called Fairy Tales in Electri-City. My first instinct, as a fan of prose, is to latch onto her novels and devour their vibrant imagery and myth. So sometimes it feels like a treat to read nothing but her poetry, and this collection is no exception. Here's a small bit of one of my favorite poems named after the collection title:

once upon a time a man came west to a city
with a lake that glittered silver at sunset
from the scales of the mermaids under the surface
and a park named echo
where the nymphs in the trees
whispered back your words

there was a flock of angels who walked on the pier
beneath the ferris wheel
and a tinkling carousel
ghosts rode in the night

the man fathered a child and called her electra
and when she grew up she found
not only mermaids nymphs and angels
but witches and warlocks too
who would eat your heart like a christmas ham
if you let them

Song I Can't Stop Repeating

"Elf Song" by Priscilla Ahn.

I'm new to Priscilla Ahn, having somehow missed a lot of her music when her first album came out. However, I think I've fallen in love with a lot of her newer songs, including every single on of them on her When You Grow Up album. This song in particular is awfully lovely because it's a story that many people, I believe, can relate to.

When the moon was full
She sat on her stool
And said hello old friend
Could you grant me a wish
And take me away to some place that's different?

So the moon
Sang a tune

And it went like this...

A Writer Thing

86, 643. Oh. my. gosh. This is my word count on Birdcage Girl right now. It's so surreal. You know, I started writing and posting the chapters on only a few months ago. It's strange to think that December will come again - the birthday of my longest novel manuscript to date! I'm kind of stunned by it all, but insanely proud. Now that I'm close to the end, I can't help but marvel at how it feels. Sometimes I feel happy, but, for the most part, my head hurts.

My brain is sucking up all the energy I have in order to make this story complete. I'm almost haunted by it, thinking of nothing else in my idle time during the day. The ending, the ending, the ending. It'll happen soon. And if my heart is racing just thinking about writing it, then I hope that my readers feel the same way when they read it. August is a special month this year because, by the end of it, I plan to hold a finished manuscript in my hands. Warm, like a baby (so I'll have to stand at the printer and scoop it up right away, haha). I'm ready for the inevitable paper cuts. But for now, I have to keep trucking along until the words stop and I find myself at the end of this particular, peculiar, journey.

Video I Watched Too Many Times

Zune commercials! If not anything else, I really feel as if they have a wide array of fantastic commercials (I'll probably end up posting more of them at some point, haha).

Food I'm Craving

Tuna melts *_*

This time, I have nothing insightful to say about it. Only... I had lived on a steady diet of tuna melts when I spent my month in England. There were always fairly-priced and tasted so melty on a cold day outside. I remember when a friend and I sat on a bench with our chins buried in our coats. I had rubbed my hands all over the paper wrapping to gather the warmth.

Photos from We Heart It