Surfer girl, surfer girl

Love random allusions to old Beach Boys’ songs. Nevertheless, this isn’t about the Beach Boys.

Since I’ve never really been the type to ask people out in person, I’ve always been rather interested in online dating. Sure, there’s a stigma against it, but if you find someone great, it’s hard to judge whether meeting them in person would have been a better alternative. We use the internet every day, so why not put it to use in another potentially productive way?

Anyway, I’ve used craigslist for a while, for everything, and there are some decent people posting ads there. Sadly, most of the ads posted now are spam, so it makes it hard to find legitimate postings. It’s funny, because as a guy, my chances of getting a reply from anyone are something close to 1 in 30, for two reasons: women get something like 200 messages in 24 hours, while men of the same potential caliber may get 5, and then of course, people always want a picture.

There’s the horrible tendency to make lists on craigslist, and it is hateful. If you don’t fit someone’s list of qualities, which for women is exactly the same – at least 6ft tall, tattoos, etc. – then you’re pretty much fucked, but that’s if you even get past the part where they look at your photo or bother to open your email.

I like craigslist because once in a while there will be a really cool ad that catches me by surprise and exhibits some sort of individual quality. I swear, every ad has the same bunch of interests, which include “staying out and also staying in.” That’s the best fucking cliche I’ve ever seen. Who doesn’t like to stay out or stay in? When there’s a good, ad, it’s really good. It’s like reading someone’s facial expression.

I like craigslist and other sites because it’s easy to just send someone an email and not have to worry about being rejected in person. I know, it would be better if I went out and met someone and had the nerve to talk to them, but I’m not that kind of person. I have met some great people online. One was my ex, two were people I dated, others are current friends, etc.

To get to the subject of the post: I emailed someone and also posted a satirical ad (because I was angry with all the listing going on) that was a huge list of the most vapid shit I’ve encountered. I actually got a response from the person I emailed, and responses from the ad I posted. Strangely enough, two of the responses were from girls who spoke Russian, which is kind of cool. I’m not usually interested in girls who are Russian or speak Russian because I sometimes feel intimidated by them because my Russian isn’t exceptionally good. It’s also weird to meet them and to wonder which language you should speak to them in. Then again, I dated a Russian girl with whom I was able to speak in both languages, and it was awesome because we could talk in Russian around English speakers and not have to worry about being overheard.

One of the girls is planning to move to LA, and we’ve had these wonderful email exchanges about Russian literature and surfing and whatnot, and she’s tall, which I find really endearing, seeing as the last girl I dated was 4’11”, and this girl is 6 feet tall. I can’t tell you how annoying it sometimes was to date the really short girl.

So, surfer girl seems like a connection worth having. She actually knows who Bulgakov is! I can’t tell you how amazed I am.

Now that I’ve gone and embarrassed myself, the next post won’t be so interesting.

Moment of some sort of pride

I received my Berkeley diploma today. It was rather underwhelming. I guess I’ll eventually need to buy some sort of nice frame for it, otherwise I’ll lose it for sure. Are diplomas even relevant in the digital world?

Non-sequitur of the moment:

Tall Russian girls who surf seem strangely interesting. And now I am off to sleep.

Scare tactics

People come up with the stupidest shit on the internet, things they would never say to you in person because they would look like the complete idiots that they are.

Example:

“chris1974, my point was that I would like to see real immigration reform whereby parasites incapable of filling out an application and waiting are kept out, and people with something substantial to offer are sought out. Nice try, but the reason California is bankrupt is because they have twelve to fifteen million illegal aliens sucking them dry.”

Really? Let me see some statistics, because I can prove that legalizing immigrants would be financially beneficial for the United States. My proof can be backed up with facts. Where’s your proof?

Furthermore, I came here legally, so where’s your point now? The immigration system failed me as a legal immigrant, and now I’m undocumented.

Example:

“We are coming close to the breaking limit in terms of infrastructure, government services, pollution, and natural resources. We have 700,000 illegal aliens in our prisons! We can’t afford sidewalks here in Nashville! Illegal Mexicans kill more Americans every year than 9-11!”

Now that last one just made me laugh. First, I didn’t realize I was a Mexican. Secondly, immigration reduces crime. That’s right, check this article. Immigrant communities have lower crime rates because they mostly stick together and try to succeed.

Where’s this 700,000 figure coming from? Unsubstantiated rhetoric again.

I wish I had the time to disprove every scare tactic spewing sheep.

Procrastination is cool

I was going to post something about immigration reform and a NYT blog, but then I got sidetracked by a conversation with a drunk girl on Facebook (you know who you are), and now I’m too tired to continue that post, so I’ll publish it later.

Feeling particularly depressed in light of news about the 29 year old woman who was abducted 18 years ago and just now freed from her captors. She was held in a city close to Berkeley, which makes me so sad. She was also raped and gave birth to two children while being held captive. Worst of all, the guy who kidnapped her apparently used to come to campus to preach or whatever. I hate that things like this happen. I can’t believe it.

There’s no other witnesses, just us two

I removed some blogs from my follow list, mainly because I follow too many blogs and it seems to be affecting Blogger’s ability to update my new item list on the dashboard. If you don’t post something every couple of days, I usually stop following. The exceptions are people who are important to me in one way or another, usually because they always post interesting things, so I’m willing to wait them out for a bit.

Found an interesting blog that I’d like to share with you: Jong-Min lives on the east coast and blogs about being undocumented. I haven’t seen a lot of well-written blogs by undocumented people, so this is a really good example of one. Check it out. I’m not the only undocumented writer on the internet.

On the subject of writing and the DREAM Act, I’m continuously amazed at the rancor and infighting taking place daily on the DREAM Act forums. You’d think a community of similarly disenfranchised people would stick together instead of trying to prove how much better they are than the rest. For a group of students who are supposed to be the enlightened future of the nation, they sure do act like a bunch of fucking idiots.

Example: one guy constantly asks every new female poster what she looks like and whether or not she’ll date him, and argues with other people who tell these new posters to be aware of this tool. If you search for threads where he’s posted, I guarantee you’ll find some mention of how much of a player he is, and how ugly all the girls on the forum are. He also has a wonderful blog where he writes about his daily failures in the realm of picking up girls, grammatical/spelling errors included.

It’d be nice if this community were an actual community, but I guess that’s also a dream that will be unfulfilled.

Speaking of unfulfilled dreams, immigration reform is going down the drain fast. I hope Obama decides to stand up for what he advocated during his campaign.

I finally updated my links list in the sidebar. Sorry if you linked to me from your blog and never got your link back until now. I’m working on it, and Blogger’s template sucks. I need to switch to WordPress.

Please read this article

Two weeks ago, Newsweek ran this article, by an undocumented student who was forced to drop out of Berkeley after one semester because of financial hardship. I wish there had been more interaction between undocumented students at Cal. While there was probably nothing anyone could have done for her, at least she would have had support from those of us who were in the same situation. I know what it’s like to want something so badly and then to have to let it go. I did spend three and a half years at community college before transferring to Berkeley.

The good thing about this article is it shows how driven undocumented students are. We are not here to steal your wages or destroy your country. We’re here to make a life for ourselves which includes the possibility of going to college, falling in love, getting married, and everything else Americans take for granted, including the right to a driver’s license and federal aid. I’m sure that this girl will eventually return to Berkeley to earn her degree, and that she will succeed.

Every immigration related article or post or youtube video that has enabled comments inevitably receives comments from people who are afraid of immigrants, notwithstanding the fact that most Americans are descended from immigrants. How ironic. Most of these posters know few arguments besides the argument of “invasion” and “ILLEGALS ARE TAKING OUR JOBS!!!!” It’s disheartening to see so many people swayed by fear. I’m definitely going to get some bigot commenting about how I should stop stealing his job and go home, much like I did when I posted something about the DREAM act a couple of months ago.

Then there are those who think that becoming “legal” is as simple as following some sort of quick, painless, but expensive process. Most of these people have no idea how much time I and other “illegal” and undocumented immigrants have spent trying to figure out this supposedly “easy” process. Think before you speak, that’s all I ask. Look through immigration procedure and tell me how easy this process is. Tell me that if you were in my situation, you’d have already figured it all out, or would have gone back to your country. It’s easy to say something like that when you don’t have to make the hard decision.

The value of education

Graduating from Berkeley gave me no special skills. I’ve come to the conclusion that the two years I spent there have not benefited me as considerably as I would have liked to believe earlier. Whatever prestige I receive from its name recognition, the school has provided little advantage, not only in the job market, but in my estimation of the skills I learned while being a student there. The two most important skills I learned at Berkeley were how to think critically and how to avoid ending sentences with prepositional phrases (which I still do, ironically). You might find that surprising, but the combination of those skills has engendered greater benefits than anything else at school.

I’m ambivalent about college degrees in general. What is the point of having an English or Russian or Spanish or Religious Studies degree? Maybe I should be asking, what is the point of a humanities degree? After graduation, I’ve been doing what I love, writing. Did I need a degree to write? I don’t believe so. The only thing I believe is that the friends I made at Berkeley and the mentors I got to work with influenced me in ways I could not have imagined. The degree itself, the idea of going to “Berkeley,” is overrated, but the experience is not. Am I the only one who sees a slight distinction here?

I went to Berkeley for several reasons: I wanted to impress someone, I wanted to go to the “best school,” I wanted to be able to get a good job after graduation, and right before I chose to apply there, I wanted to go there to be an English major. None of those reasons are good reasons to do something, except maybe perhaps the desire to be an English major and to write.

The one reason having a degree from Berkeley (and particularly an English degree) is good is that when I advertise my tutoring services, I can advertise that I am a Berkeley grad. This is my biggest selling point, besides my 800 score on the old-style Verbal portion of the SAT. I don’t think that having a degree from a well-respected institution automatically gives you credit for being a good teacher, and I always try to live up to that standard.

I made good friends, and I think I became a better writer through reading the writing of those friends, and through their feedback. Compared to the writers I met at community college, the writers at Berkeley were far better, which is also ironic because we were all transfer students. In general, I think writers at community colleges will not impress anyone but themselves, with the exceptions being those writers who move on to be serious in their art.

Sadly, there were people at Berkeley who didn’t care about writing. These people took up valuable workshop space and wasted the time of those of us who had tried to do our best in order to improve our art. These people viewed workshops as “easy grades,” no more, no less. Let me put it this way: for them, writing was a form of entertainment, something they could do on occasion, not something they’d work at every day for the rest of their lives, like some of my classmates.

The same goes for people who took part in the English Undergraduate Association on campus, and some people who participated in the Berkeley Poetry and Fiction Reviews. They thought it would be “cool” and would enhance their resume.

Arguments? Opinions?

What the fuck revisited

A short excerpt from something I wrote ages ago (my profile photo was taken that night as well, now you know):

This bus is headed in the direction of the truth, the truth I thought about myself a couple of days ago when I was drinking Japanese beer and soju at a place called Halu, conspicuously the only white man on the premises. My friends and I had gone to the California Academy of Sciences that day; the objective of the trip was to educate ourselves for a couple of hours, and then go to Halu for yakitori, which is essentially grilled meat on a stick. I don’t know much about love, but yakitori and soju with condensed milk is one delicious combination. The five of us arrived at Halu at 5pm, after walking six blocks to Clement and 8th, in the inner Richmond district of San Francisco.
The best laid plans are often the easiest to disrupt. I should state a disclaimer here: this essay is about how my friends and I got one of our friends really drunk at a Japanese restaurant and then planned to put him on a flight to Los Angeles after he fell asleep on the table. Chris is a light drinker: half a glass of champagne will put him to sleep. That night, Richard, Luke, and I decided to test his limits. Richard and I each had a couple of beers and mixed drinks with soju and milk tea, which tasted like condensed milk. Soju is the Korean variant of Vodka, only with less alcohol by volume. I could not taste the alcohol, which would explain why I had three of those delicious concoctions. Chris had two, and about a third of a glass of Asahi, a Japanese beer. Luke documented his descent into a drunken stupor by taking pictures, and Richard actually timed him on his iPhone. Usually it takes Chris about twenty minutes to get drunk.
We spent three hours at Halu, during which we managed to consume over two hundred dollars worth of food and drinks. Chris ended up passing out about three quarters of the way through dinner, and Richard suggested pooling some money together in order to put him on a plane to Los Angeles. A Greyhound bus was also considered because it would have been easier to manage, seeing as airport security would be unlikely to accept an inebriated traveler carried around by some guys with stupid grins on their faces.
Nothing happened. We just sat around drinking and sticking yakitori sticks into Chris’ boots. Then we went and watched “Burn After Reading,” after which I proceeded to say “What the fuck?” a lot. That’s a phrase used throughout the majority of the film. When George Clooney’s character accidentally shoots Brad Pitt’s character in the head with a revolver, he says “What the fuck?” in a tone of amazement. When John Malkovich’s character bludgeons someone to death with a hatchet on a street in broad daylight, the viewer is obviously thinking, “What the fuck?”