Thursday, June 28, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
General addiction and NPR omnipresence…
i heart npr. (4,344 members)
Addicted to National Public Radio (339 members)
Hold on, I’m listening to NPR (690 members)
National Public Radio owns my soul (29 members)
NPR minds in a FOX News world (196 members)
The superiority of NPR…
I listen to NPR. That means I have better taste than you (82 members)
NPR makes me feel educated (50 members)
Obsession with particular shows and hosts…
I have a hero…his name is Garrison Keillor (152 members)
Lakshmi Singh is my favorite NPR Anchor! (22 members)
ira glass is the second coming of jesus (19 members)
Science Friday…the best day of the week (780 members)
The Diane Rehm Show Made Me Smarter (20 members)
All I want for Christmas is Carl Kasell’s voice on my answering machine (81 members)
Defiance of stereotypes…
I am under 30 and I listen to NPR! What NOW! (182 members)
I watch the Sci-Fi Channel and listen to NPR. There, I said it out loud (10 members)
Conservatives who unabashedly listen to NPR (14 members)
NPR is Mad Sexy, Yo. (34 members)
"Are you Chinese?" he barked at me, moments before dumping me on the street. "You speak Taiwanese with a Chinese accent."
I was barely able to explain to him that while I was born in Taiwan, my father is of Chinese descent. Next thing I knew, he was shouting at me: “Get out of my car! I don't drive Chinese.”
My grandmother once said that everyone is a foreigner. Now her words have meaning to me.
I don’t feel Chinese or Taiwanese and I certainly will never be American either. So who am I? I often wonder what “foreign country” and “home country” really mean. What does it mean to be Taiwanese, Chinese, or American?
Is it a language?
“When I first took your dad home, his fluent Taiwanese bluffed my family into believing that he was a native of Taiwan!” My mother, a native born Taiwanese, giggled when she told me the story, “Otherwise I’d never be allowed to marry him!”
Is it a birthplace?
Ironically, my mother was not as lucky as my father was with the language skills. She applied for a reporter position at a Taiwanese radio station when she graduated from Journalism School in 1971. She was asked to say “Algeria” in Taiwanese during the job interview. Although she was a native born, due to her pronunciation, she never got the job.
Or is it an appearance?
After I moved to America, I often heard other Asian Americans complain about how hard it is to be a “foreigner” in this country. Most of them were born in this country and speak fluent English, but were bothered by the color of the hair and skin.
If being Taiwanese, Chinese, or American doesn’t meant speaking a certain language, being born in a certain place, or appear to be a certain way, what does it mean?
My grandparents escaped from Mainland China to Taiwan during the civil war with their two children, including my father. Every single day of my grandfather’s life in Taiwan, he wished to return to China.
I usually sat on his lap when I was a little girl and listened to all those civil war stories. I was taught that we were Chinese and we would go “home” one day. However, the tension between China and Taiwan rose. My grandfather’s wish never came true. He eventually passed away with deep regrets.
I remember my father arranged a “home-returning” trip for my grandmother when the Chinese and Taiwanese governments first permitted people from the two countries visiting each other in 1987. We were surprised when my grandmother resisted going.
“But, Mom, we thought you and dad always want to go home!” my dad said.
“It has been thirty years…I don’t know where home is anymore,” my grandmother mumbled. “Every homeland was once a foreign land...everyone was once a foreigner…”
I was young and did not pay much attention when she said so. However, after so many years, when I was kicked out of the taxi in that sunny afternoon, the scene of my grandmother mumbling those words appeared before my eyes, clearly.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
“Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There is something wrong with a society that drives a car to work out in a gym.”So, here I am, writing about bikes. Again. I promise this post won't discuss how I royally screwed up my breaks while replacing my tube, my crank that snapped off mid-rainstorm last Thursday, spandex, or any of my other shortcomings as a bike commuter.
Why I ride.
I don't have a car at college, and I don't have a car in DC. My car in high school occupies a corner of our driveway in Cincinnati. Right now, I don't want a car! I would rather ride my bike.
My friends don't get it (I tell them I bike to work, and they call me a hippie).
A lot of college kids don't get it (see the Facebook groups "Drivers who hate bikers that think they are cars," "For those who hate cyclists on the roads," and "I hate campus bikers" among others. Hate? Seriously?).
An unidentified taxi driver doesn't get it ("Move it, a**hole!").
The car is deeply ingrained in American culture as cool and necessary, and for people to change their habits and saddle up on bikes in droves would require something so outrageous that driving a car would be totally illogical. Like, say, gas prices above $3.50 per gallon.
But until that outrageous event takes place, let me suggest a few reasons to stop driving and start riding NOW.
- Exercise is good for the body. Save time and get a workout while getting somewhere.
- No paying for gas. I would rather rely on fuel that I cook in my kitchen.
- Exhaust stinks. There is strong evidence that the combustion of fossil fuels directly impacts climate change, but regardless of one's beliefs, car exhaust is not pleasant. I don't want the stuff filling my lungs, and I'm not going to contribute to it if I don't have to.
- And my favorite-it adds some adventure to the day! Try to describe your most exhilarating Metro ride to me. Still thinking?
Give biking a try-at the very least, you'll make progress toward breaking a nasty habit.
Monday, June 25, 2007
I value them highly, and often judge restaurants and other establishments primarily on their Johns and Janes. I think of the restroom as the dirty little hidden secret of every establishment -- either you care about it and it shows, or you don't...and it smells.
I have sometimes considered going into the field of Bathroom Architect. I know it's probably not a real job, but one can always fantasize and use it as a pretense for complaining. Throughout my career, I would boldly and relentlessly pursue the complete eradication of nonsensically built bathrooms. After I was through, all bathroom doors would be push to get out, pull to get in -- no one would ever have to awkwardly navigate themselves out of a door-cramped stall or dirty their hands post-wash again. And all soap would be nicely scented.
That being such, I will go into my main post, which is called:
I JOINED NPR BECAUSE OF THE TOILET
I joined NPR because of its restrooms. This is of course in jest, but also partially true. Since small childhood, I have LOVED almond-scented soap that many restaurants have. I am always disappointed when the soap is pink, but no, not almond, not luscious almond. At the NPR Internship Fair last spring, I went to use the Conference Center restroom and discovered not only did NPR sound gloriously from restroom ceiling speakers, but that this fantastic source of news also had - gasp - almond-scented soap! And not just the pink stuff, but high-quality, silky-pearl-colored almond soap. Truly a rarity in the restroom world.
I think I am over the limit now, and so I'll end by saying that this has left a lasting impression on me, and is another reason why I admire NPR.
Yeah, take a good look at it.
One word comes to mind: yikes. Was this an "it's early Monday" thing? Doubt it. Was this a "I'm too sexy for my ID picture" thing? Doubt it. Was this proof that every picture I take is a crappy one? Probably. So now I'm stuck with this scathing representation of myself. Every morning I put in in my pocket and wince. So when you don't see me wearing my ID around my next, you'll know why.
But, over the past three weeks I have been able to come to terms with this atrocity.
First there was denial: "There is no way that I look like that. Look at the quality of the picture! I swear it's the pixel resolution's fault!"
... then anger: "I don't care if I can't open doors. I'm not bringing this thing anywhere."
... barganing: "Maybe I could just take Patrick Jarenwattanon's. I mean who would even notice?"
... depression: "I have lost the will to live."
... and finally... acceptance: (see next paragraph)
So then I started thinking, "well this IS radio after all." Ahhh the beauty of radio: the beauty of non-beauty. Here we are behind microphones and computer screens. And will anyone know a difference if we are wearing tuxedos or bathrobes? Doubt it.
Thanks ID picture for being such a pain in the ass, that I actually like taking you around.