Megabus & me

Being on the East Coast has afforded me to the pleasure of having multiple metropolitan areas close to me. Being a college student has limited my methods of transportation. A plane ticket is expensive and a car is out of the question — I’ve discovered the joys of the charter bus. At about $20 from DC to New York, it’s much cheaper than any other mode of transport and quite convenient given the amenities considered a standard now, including free Wi-fi and electrical outlets.

I think it’s pretty understandable that comfort includes having a whole row (two seats) to yourself. The last round trip I took, I was lucky enough to be on emptier buses with less people — most everyone got their own row. Call me selfish, but the last thing I want to do is sit next to a stranger for four hours when I could just as easily have two seats to myself (as I would be able to evidently conclude later, it’s hard to manage all my chargers, wires, electronics when I’m pulling them out from the cramped foot space).

Which brings me to my main point — I have come to the realization that I am probably candidate #1 when it comes to choosing which person to sit next to. All those stragglers who came at departure time when we were supposed to arrive 15 minutes early — they’re looking for me when they walk onto the bus and realize that since they’re LATE, they won’t be getting their own seat. It’s a horrible stereotype, really.

Stereotypes are shortcuts in the cognitive process. They’re unnecessary, but convenient. 

When you see me, the smallish Asian girl on the bus, quietly texting on my phone, taking up my seat and my seat only. You think that I won’t be talking loudly on the phone (Middle Eastern people do that, right?). I won’t be pulling out stinky food (White people do that, right?). I won’t disregard you in general (Black people do that, right?). Out of the younger crowd, the Asian is also desirable. White girls have a propensity to feel entitled and rude. Same with black girls and Latinas, but oh shit, in a worse way! No…sit next to the Asian girl whose clothes look laundered and doesn’t seem like she’d be much trouble.

I’ve made all the above generalizations that people, including myself, may be inclined to think.

So being the bitch I am, I usually place my bag on the seat next to me and scowl before departure. No one will want to sit next to the person in the horrible mood, right? I did this as the bus filled up, as every person’s solidarity was ruined with the late scragglers, until I was the only person left with a row to myself…

…Until a Megabus worker came and yelled at me, screaming that I hadn’t paid for that seat and therefore my bag should not be on there. He then proceeded to walk away, obviously pissed as tits, threatening that anyone else who did what I did would be kicked off the bus.

Remembering this incident actually makes me very angry. My Asian girl tendencies had kicked in and I had quietly apologized and dutifully removed my bag when this guy was downright disrespectful towards me. I should’ve given his sorry attitude right back.

I live a life full of regrets.

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Doo Wop

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“I Hate Gay Pride”

I was on a Youtube binge when I came across this video on my sidebar. What caught me was the title: “I Hate Gay Pride!!!!” Expecting a bigoted old man, I was pleasantly surprised to watch a very thoughtful and insightful analysis of society. Noticing the usual slew of people who simply did not understand the video, I thought that I’d both clarify (or at least show you how i interpreted it) and add my own thoughts to it.

The majority of “negative” comments on the video spanned from those who probably didn’t pay attention to the video/didn’t understand it/only reader the title — “So what? I’m gay and proud!!!” — to the even sadder people who wrote a long paragraph about their trial and tribulations of being gay — “I went through high school alone…My family rejected me…I’m proud to be gay.” And by sadder, I mean missed the mark in a more time-consuming way.

Here is the video, summed up in one sentence: There shouldn’t be a NEED for gay pride.

Opposites make up or, rather, create our perceptions, from the basic to the abstract. Without cordiality in existence, one could not be considered “rude”. Without niceness, there would be no “mean”. This phenomenon can be witnessed in such current issues involving homosexuality — gay rights, social stigmas — through the burgeoning of “pride” among the gay community. The reality is the notion of “pride” is sad because “pride” is simply the reaction to how society has treated LGBTQ people with shame, disdain, and made them feel inferior. In agreement with the video, while I support gay pride and support gay people, I hate the fact that there is such a things as “gay pride”. If people were less ignorant and hateful towards gay people, there would be no need for gay people to take a stand and be proud.

I’m straight and I’m not proud. I’m not ashamed. I’m not anything. Because no one has ever told me that being straight was wrong. No one has look at me differently because I was straight. No one has denied me rights because I’m straight.

More to come — I’m tired!!

Me with friends @ the Gay Pride Parade 2011 in SF!

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My experience watching the American Idols Live! 2011 Tour

Watching the tenth season of American Idol was a family thing for me this spring. We had watched up from season two as a family up to season seven, and somehow along the way jumped ship. Perhaps it was because of the hype surrounding the “No Simon!” thing anymore. Either way, my mom became a fan of the show and frequently commented that “everyone is so talented!” so naturally, this time around, we bought tickets for their tour.

We took BART to Oracle Arena, really pleasant and hassle-free, got some good reading in (The Good Soldiers by David Finkel, highly recommended!), and was there promptly at 6:50. The show started late and was opened up with a cover of “Born This Way” by Haley Reinhart, Pia Toscano, Thia Megia, and Naima Adedapo. It was a good rendition and definitely showcased each lady’s strength. I dig.

Before I continue, let me warn you: I am not a fan of Pia Toscano. Every since she sang “I’ll Stand By You”, I knew she was a great singer. But I didn’t like her. I focused on my dislike of the fact that she had to belt the last note of the song which was clearly done to show off the fact that she could do it, not some sort of artistic rendition or anything. And seriously, I wouldn’t mind of she kept doing ballad after ballad (which she did, and which the judges pointed out) if she would at least develop some sort of stage presence. So coincidentally, when she sang “River Deep, Mountain High” by Tina Turner, she embarrassed herself and was sent packing. Now Pia fans have all the reasons down — “J. Lo was jealous of Pia’s youth!” “The little 13-year-old girls were jealous of Pia!” “Everyone thought she’d be safe anyway!” — but it’s all bullshit. I was reading Us Magazine of all things, and they had a little quarter of the page asking of all people on his input. I remember his exact words because I agreed so effing hard: “She sang a Tina song but didn’t move like Tina.” You’re so right! But really. She walked around the stage like she was walking along a sidewalk. In other words, the opposite of upbeat and hell, the opposite of Tina! J. Lo, clearly not jealous of Pia, tried to sugarcoat things and told her to observe the movement of LEGENDS such as Fred Astaire and Michael Jackson. Pia: go watch a J. Lo video — singing will only get you so far, if you can shake your ass like Jennifer Lopez you’ll go far.

You would think that ever since that disaster, Pia would step her game up. IDK, take a dance lesson or two? Aren’t you dating Mark Ballas? Tonight she sang beautifully and technically flawlessly as usual. Yet she still “dances” like she has a stick up her ass. For every song that didn’t require group choreography, Pia literally had her legs stuck together (visualize a mermaid) and she would just twist her hips and bend her legs, occasionally sticking her arm up. You call that a dance!? It didn’t help that they put Pia next to little firecracker Haley or dancehall queen Naima. Even Miss Thia Megia was getting down tonight — props girl!

She already has a record deal with Jimmy Iovine’s Interscope Records. I’m sure that she’ll get a lot of digital downloads, but I doubt her fans would even go to a Pia Toscano concert. She needs to put herself out there a bit more and take actual risks. People whine about how the great singers get overlooked but the reality is that if people are going to shill out 70+ bucks for a concert, they’re gonna want a show. That’s why Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga are the female powerhouses as of now. But you don’t have to be a bass-thumping pop songstress to be successful — Celine did it and she has a whole auditorium dedicated to her, damnit!

So Pia sang a wonderful rendition of Alicia Keys’s “Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down“. I named the song’s predecessor with Jay-Z as one of my top songs of 2009 and it’s one of my go-to songs, but Alicia Keys released “Part II” in 2010 and if I’m feeling in a more mellow, chill mood, it’s a winner. She would later do her new single, “This Time”, which sucks.

Now I’m just gonna comment on things I remember. It’d be boring if I wrote commentary on boring performances like Thia Megia’s (oh wait, at least she got a mention).

Paul Simpson, the raspy-voiced chicken dancer did a performance from the show, Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May”. It was a joke but I got a laugh so at least it was a successful one.

Naima Adedapo did Jennifer Lopez’s “On The Floor”. I do wonder if she got to choose the song because it definitely didn’t feel all that “Naima” to me. I wouldn’t doubt that the producers wanted to continue to promote their new judge and dumped the hit on Naima. Either way, she worked it and added her flavor to it with an interlude of African dancing. I was hoping that she’d get to sing something more edgy, though.

Stefano Langone was working it tonight! He sang Bruno Mars’s “Grenade”, a song I personally can’t stand, and “DJ Got Us Falling In Love” by Usher, a song which I liked for exactly eight plays then got sick of it. I enjoyed the performances because Stefano showed the signs of becoming a successful artist.

Stefano, Casey Abrams, Jacob Lusk, Paul, and James Durbin finally got all together and sang “Animal” by Neon Trees. I was nervous about it because “Animal” has never been one of my obsession-status songs, but I think everything about it is simply perfection. To see it performed live (and even more perfect than the recording, watch the vid below).

The guys, however, pulled it off. I was hoping that it’d be a guy with Haley Reinhart. As you can see in the video, the lady sings gorgeous backup vocals. Haley would have been a great enhancement to the song. It seems that Stefano assumed that role, though, so go figure.

Everyone except Scotty McCreery (the American Idol) sang Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget (Fuck) You” before Intermission.

I’ll tell you that I preferred the first half much more than the second half and that is because Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery were featured heavily. They were the top two, so that’s fair. But they both sing country and it just got a little bit boring for me. I did enjoy Scotty’s signature song, “Your Man” originally by Josh Turner; that song’s a turn on for me (just listen to the lyrics!). Jacob Lusk also performed two songs, a Luther Vandross song (I forget what it’s called) that I felt didn’t do much for his amazing voice. But he followed it up with one of my favorite performances from the season and of all time, “You’re All I Need To Get By” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.

Jacob Durbin, a Santa Cruz resident, opened up with style from coming in the entrance virtually right in front of my seat with “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns ‘n’ Roses. If you don’t know it, you might recognize it from Step Brothers.

Awesome, right? He also sang “Uprising” by Muse, which was better with the theatrics during the season.

Haley sang two of my favorites from the season, “House of the Rising Sun” but not the Animals version. It was followed by “Benny and the Jets” by Elton John. Unfortunately she modified it for the Tour, in which she kind of whispered “Benny! Benny! Benny Benny Bennayyyy and the Jets”. If you watch the below video, she belts it, which just sounds awesome with her raspy soulful voice.

They finished with a medley started by a duet of “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake with James Durbin and Lauren Alaina. Lauren ruined it for me; I would have preferred James by himself with simple backing vocals. The rest of the Top 11 would gradually join in with “Faithfully” by Journey, “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith (homage to Steven Tyler?) and finally “Any Way You Want It” by Journey.

Overall, it was a very good show and I’m glad I went. My mom enjoyed it as well, so it was a fun night for the both of us!

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Tiny Update and more to come!

So I haven’t posted anything recently in quite some time. Summer’s been the perfect mix of occupation/idleness/being occupied with idleness. And I’m loving it.

I leave the 19th of August, which is getting harder to accept as the days are winding down. Don’t get me wrong — I’m incredibly excited to go to American this fall — but scared, and not trynna leave the comfort of my house (although my parents probably wouldn’t mind me getting my ass up).

So what have I been up to, really? I busy myself playing a mixture of fun games including The Sims 3 (with all expansion packs, thank you very much), Age of Empires II, and recently, after going to CA Great America with some buddies, Rollercoaster Tycoon (the original one with Corkscrew Follies and Loopy Landscapes — game tips coming later). Other than that, I’ve been giving my two cents onthe daily whether it involves celebrities, news, movies, and other miscellaneous topics. But, as you’ve noticed, I’ve come to my blog to express myself. I know that even if no one reads my blog, I can articulate something in its entirety without having to focus on one point and get it across in three sentences (woe the shortened attention spans in this modern age). You can view some snippets of my online arguments and opinions though my Yahoo comment tracker (here) or my IMDb (here). I’ll probably go over some topics that I commented on there in the near future.

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Post State of the Union: reflections

Watching most every major speech and address (or at least parts of it) Obama has made during his Presidency, I must say that Obama’s State of the Union address today was as strong as ever, if not in opinion one of his strongest speeches.

I have felt that in the past, Obama’s speeches have been able to bedazzle his devotees that don’t realize how little is being done for the American public in Washington — whether it is the president’s fault or not. Undeniably one of the greater speakers the world has seen in recent history (but then again, if I were the president after Dubya I’d probably look good too), Obama has the power to captivate audiences through a mixture of words that sound good and a God-given talent to deliver the utmost sincerity and deliberation in his speech. So while I’ve left many of his speeches feeling all warm inside, this particular State of the Union address left me with something that we have been supposed to be feeling since 08: hope.

Not that I would be the expert on things, but the lack of bipartisanship seems at an all-time high. There are those who will denounce every move Obama makes regardless of what it all means, resorting to “insults” including Muslim, terrorist, big government, black, etc. There are those, like my mother, who will love the man for whatever action he makes.

The problem with having these two parties with some independents here and there is that nothing gets done. The Democrats had the House, the Senate, and the Presidency in ’08 and they churned a quasi-successful Health Care Reform bill. While I felt that the bill catered to what I thought might be quite conservative ideas (citizens are penalized for not having health care, although that they’re making it more affordable and accessible for all socioeconomic classes, making people buy their own healthcare seems conservative to me), this “accomplishment” on the part of the Democrats seemed to spurn strong anti-Liberal views so here came the — oh dear God — Tea Party.

Obama’s State of the Union address pleaded for us to seek bipartisanship and unite to accomplish a multitude of goals. So I naturally agreed with all he said, and his requests to stop taking sides and vote for what’s right struck a good note in me. However hopeful I am that these sentiments will be taken in and thought of by all Americans, seeing the overly stern military leaders and old Republican white men, and fucking John Boehner looking like he was gonna shoot himself sitting behind Obama and next to Biden, I can’t help but think that the polarizing — not uniting — movement will continue.

So while I think that his presidency has been nowhere near successful, we must remind ourselves that there is absolutely no one that is making anything easy for Obama.

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Sunday Song Picks

  1. Monster – Kanye West
  2. Boyz n the Hood – Dynamite Hack
  3. Please Don’t Go – Mike Posner
  4. F**k You – Cee-Lo Green
  5. Title & Registration – Death Cab for Cutie


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