01.06.11

Dear dumb shits:

Posted in life tagged at 8:41 pm by kyrias

To the dumb shit who ran out into the street after their light turned red:

I have to say, you bring a whole new meaning to the reminder to go down the street, not across the road. Please, if you want to kill yourself, do not engage us in your suicidal plans. I assure you that pills work just as well as getting run over by a car. Potentially better, since you don’t need to count on the hapless other party to not brake on time. If you must needs use a car, I have it on very good authority that running a hose from the exhaust into the interior of the car is a pretty reliable method of suicide — and your cheeks turn a lovely pink from the carbon monoxide too. Or, if there’s something appealing to you about relying on chance, why not use the railroad tracks? That way, at least you’re not ruining someone elses’ insurance premiums and potentially involving them in a lawsuit. Of course, if you’re a dickless dumb shit, which you appear to be, then I suppose there’s no help for that. I wish you the best of luck in your suicidal endeavors and sincerely pray that you will not make it to reproduction because the last thing we need is someone irresponsible like you parenting an impressionable child.

– no love, kyrias

To the dumb shit who wasn’t paying attention in the middle of Central Sq:

First of all, above all, you fail at life. Mostly because you engaged in a hit and run and lied to us to get us to get back into our car and then skedaddled. Secondly, I’m going to assume that you’re not from NYC, because if you were, then you should know better than to not pay attention when dumb fucks are running around like headless chickens. It was the middle of Central Sq where idiots were running amok, and yet you managed to hit us when we braked for one of said idiots. Considering that it wasn’t a hard brake on our part, I suspect you were just tooling along at a much faster speed than you should have. Double fail for you. If you are from NYC, triple fail with no cherry on top. I hope you get what’s coming to you, shitface. :)

– no love, kyrias

01.01.11

2011! Goals, resolutions, etc etc

Posted in life tagged at 11:57 pm by kyrias

One more year until the apocalypse! Are you prepared for the end of the world?

Requisite trolling aside, I suppose it’s time to talk about goals, timelines, resolutions, and so forth.

I agree with Thene that I’m not really the resolution making sort, but I figure that goals are not quite the same as resolutions and are really quite a bit more friendly.

So!

I didn’t actually manage to get my driver’s license in 2010 because of the blizzard that wiped out my road test, so I guess that goes back on the list.

Goals for 2011

Lose 50 pounds

Set aside 5k into my ROTH IRA

Get driver’s license

Finish Estyria (more writing)

As can be seen, it’s a pretty short list. I figure that it’s dumb to put down a huge list and essentially set myself up for failure, so I’m just going to put up the things that I would really kick myself over not accomplishing.

I want to finish Estyria and hopefully quite a bit more than that, but since I’m probably still going to be working fulltime unless my parents fire me from my job — it’s better to be realistic than sorry when 2012 rolls around.

Everything else is pretty self-explanatory. As a general note, I’d like to try and keep my room neater, and keep better track of where the money is going. The rest is just icing on the cake.

12.25.10

Thoughts on Christmas

Posted in culture, life tagged , at 4:31 am by kyrias

Note: I will sound like the worst sort of Grinch ever, so if you have a soft spot for X’mas, please go away and save us both the carpal tunnel and energy. Thanks.

I just realised something: I do not care to do X’mas, ever again.

I used to do it because I enjoy buying people presents and it was a good excuse to pamper the people I love without them freaking out about specific reciprocity.

Now? I figure that if they can’t deal with my giving them gifts, then they can really just suck it and shut up.

This said with all possibly fondness, mind you.

I guess I’ll just call it the generally accepted sanctioned time period of gift giving, or GASTPOGG.

Also, I’ve decided that I’m not telling my kids that there is a Santa. I’m not even going to hem and haw the way I originally thought I might.

The thing is, if I’m not willing to fudge on whether or not there is a Christian God, then why in the world would I worry about “depriving the poor dears of the wonder of childhood and believing in magic”? Seriously, I don’t think there’s very much more magical and wonder-ful than God, provided you believe in him, and if we’re taking that out of the equation, does Santa really matter that much in the grand scheme of things?

The poor darlings will just have to deal without this particular portion of love and wonder and magic.

Besides, I’m Asian — we don’t do Christmas.

Little tangent: The other day Zack and I were walking out of Walmart when a man shaking the Salvation Army bell heard me saying that I’m Asian and that I don’t do Christmas when complaining about how it was only the 17th and people were already slamming me in the face with their cultural imperialism. He then proceeded to yell: “Merry X’mas!” then “Merry merry X’mas!” then “Merry merry merry X’mas” at us. At last count before we left him behind, he was up to 8 merrys.

Azora, if you’re reading this, I won’t tell your children that there’s no Santa and I’ll try to keep mine from taunting yours about it too.

Furthermore, in response to the whole greed and capitalism bit of X’mas, I’m just going to submit that Santa is an anagram of Satan. Greed, after all, is one of the capital sins, no?

Convo between friend and I:

(2:07:03 AM) YourVillige: I have a santa hat and it makes me happy.
(2:08:10 AM) kyrias: yay!
(2:08:13 AM) kyrias: I’m glad it makes you happy.
(2:08:21 AM) kyrias: I’ve decided that I’m not doing x’mas anymore.
(2:08:29 AM) YourVillige: Too expensive?
(2:09:08 AM) kyrias: no, too dumb.
(2:09:12 AM) YourVillige: how so?
(2:09:36 AM) kyrias: the “wait, if I’m willing to deprive my children of the “wonder in the world” by telling them I don’t believe in the x’tian god, why the fuck would I ever consider telling them santa is real?” thought.
(2:09:47 AM) kyrias: also. I’m not even christian. why the fuck do I give a flying fuck?
(2:10:39 AM) YourVillige: Because without the presents you give every year, Santa couldn’t regenerate his health bar and the easter bunny’s assassination attempts might succeed next year.
(2:12:28 AM) kyrias: …that’s assuming I believe in the easter bunny who actually wants to give us all diabetes.
(2:13:57 AM) YourVillige: Right. Santa just wants to give us greed
(2:14:03 AM) YourVillige: I’d rather be greedy than diabetic
(2:14:13 AM) YourVillige: so I’ve chosen Santa’s side.
(2:15:31 AM) kyrias: that’s fair
(2:16:02 AM) kyrias: I’ve decided that, not being christian and thus being uninterested in general dichotomies for the sake of dichotomies, I’m going to disbelieve in both of them and thereby by-pass the problem.
(2:16:17 AM) YourVillige: I suppose that is also a valid solution.

All joking aside, here’s a little fic for your reading appreciation:

“Noelle Winters?”

“Yes?” Noelle turned towards the voice, one hand still fumbling around in her purse for her house keys.

“I’ve come to serve you with your contract with Nicholas ae Magi. You will find detailed within the parameters of your debt and the methods of repayment.” A man stood a couple of feet away, immaculately turned out in a white suit from the top of his golden head to the toes of his Italian leather loafers. Blue eyes gleamed from behind wire-frame glasses, the corners of his mouth tipped up in a friendly smile.

“I’m sorry, you must have the wrong person.” Noelle wrapped her fingers around her keys, grasping for a polite smile even as she slipped her other hand into her pocket for the mace.

The man shook his head. “Noelle Winters, age 19, daughter to Mary and John Winters. Attended St. Peters kindergarten through high school, now matriculating at Notre Dame University.

“You’ve got to be joking. Whoever you are. Is this someone’s idea of a joke?” Noelle backed into the door, yanking the canister of mace from her pocket and aiming it at the man.

“Nicholas ae Magi.” He bowed slightly, a sardonic twist to his mouth. He shook his head, the corners of his mouth turned down in mocking sorrow. “Now, now, my dear. We of the fey never take such things as debt lightly.”

“This is seriously not funny. If you don’t leave, I’ll be forced to use the mace on you.” Noelle’s hand visibly shook as she raised the mace higher.

Nicholas ae Magi’s body blurred for a second, twisting and distorting until a rotund man stood before her in traditional Santa Claus gear. The same blue eyes glinted at her from above the now bulbous nose and plump cheeks, his smile now bracketed by a set of full whiskers.

“But! Santa…gifts….good children…” Noelle sputtered, clearly at a loss for words.

Nick raised his eyebrows, blurring back to his dapper self. “You cannot tell me that you honestly thought that there was someone willing to give you gifts simply because you achieved the elusive and dubious goal of being good.”

Noelle’s mouth worked for a few seconds, but she soon lapsed back into silence, her teeth worrying at her lower lip.

“Everything has a price.” He leaned closer and whispered next to her ear, “Even for good little girls like you.”

“What do you want from me? Sell me into white slavery?” Her voice shook, husky with the threat of tears.

He contrived to look genuinely shocked, “Dear me, absolutely not. You’ll see. We have much better uses for you.”

She opened her mouth to scream, but his hand clamped over her face, blocking both her voice and breath. Before she fell into the darkness, she heard a voice chiding her gently, “Now why did you go doing that for? After your impeccable behaviour all these years too…”

12.17.10

Why the COW is never seeing a red cent of mine

Posted in life tagged at 2:01 am by kyrias

Thene mentioned today that a friend of her’s is thinking about applying to the College of Wooster. I’ve touched briefly on the COW’s many failings for me, but I figure no harm done in giving just a little more detail.

Regardless of what the US rankings say, what the book 365 Best Colleges in the US says, and so on and so forth: I’ve not met a single person since graduating and moving away from Wooster who knows what I’m talking about when I say that I went to the COW. Believe me when I say that there’s a special sort of difficulty to having people believe that your GPA and sheepskin is worth something when they have no idea what caliber your school is and what it means that you managed to emerge triumphant, sheepskin in hand and wallet devastated.

Perhaps those who are definitely applying to graduate school afterwards will have better luck. After all, graduate school admissions will probably have a better idea of what the COW is, but I say don’t bet on it. I had a couple of professors who candidly admitted that they themselves had no idea that the COW even existed until they were looking for jobs. When I was taking summer courses at BU, none of the profs there had heard of COW either.

The college let me down when I needed it most. Despite what it says about it being a small, intimate college where everyone knows everyone else — it’s all too easy to disappear into the woodwork unless you strive to be noticed and be a someone. As I mentioned before, the majority of my professors didn’t care or didn’t notice that I was slipping between the cracks. I wasn’t a bad student either,  so it’s not like I’m a slacker who’s whining about the harsh, cruel world that hates me and just misunderstands me.

I hated the food. I couldn’t get used to the food and I never got my money’s worth out of the mandatory meal plan. I prepared logic and went to appeal to be allowed off the meal plan because I was spending a ton of money on groceries asides from the meal plan, but no go. The dean I spoke to was not sympathetic to my problems, didn’t try to fix anything, and finally ended up by saying that if I didn’t like the meal plan, I should feel free to go elsewhere. The college wants us all to be social and friendly and hang out with each other and so it was a matter of principle not to let me off the meal plan. I say bull-fucking-shit. One of my friends was on a migraine elimination diet, and she wasn’t allowed off the meal plan either, despite it being truly difficult for her to eat at Lowry with all the food items that wasn’t allowed for her. I also have heard peripheral stories of people with severe food allergies that weren’t allowed off the meal plan even though it made their life much more fraught than it really needed to be.

My boyfriend was kicked out of college, effectively ruining my life as I knew it. The college had accepted more students than it had beds for, and so they moved a portion of the students up the street into an apartment complex. Someone got raped who lived there and probably from parental pressure, the college moved all of the students back on campus proper. Except — they still didn’t have enough rooms. What did they do? They kicked out students to make room.

True, Caesura was on academic probation. However, his grades were improving.

What I think was the sticking point?

Caesura wasn’t paying full way.

Hu Da Peng, a Chinese student who was a super senior by that point because of sheer inability to pass classes wasn’t kicked out. He was paying full tuition so far as we know.

How Caesura was kicked out but Da Peng wasn’t is something that I personally find profoundly sketchy.

It wasn’t just that C was kicked out, thus throwing my life into disarray — it was that I finally realized that the college wasn’t ready to act in good faith with regards to too many things.

Caesura mentioned that when he quit band, the professor in charge essentially told him straight out that if he was ever up for review to be kicked out, the prof would make sure that he got kicked out. The fact that the college employs teachers like that and makes them part of the board that decides whether or not a student goes or stays is mind boggling for me.

Further more?

The only two professors I had who actually gave a damn about their students, who actually made time and effort to help their students, who were the only ones who noticed that I wasn’t just a slacker and was in reality trying my best and who gave me a chance — those two professors didn’t make the cut and were let go after their year was up. I’m not being biased just because they were good to me — one of those professors was the only person in the entire damn psychology dept who bothered to tell us some crucial information that no one else had ever gotten around to tell us. Information about grad school applications, for example. What grad schools actually looked at and wanted to see. She was the one who pushed us to try and get our papers published and to go speak at conferences. None of the other professors I had tried that hard.

The fact that these two profs were let go when the psychology dept was severely understaffed from what I could see and understand and when they were actually good professors who cared…

COW?

You’re never, ever, ever seeing a red cent of mine and I’ll never suggest to anyone that they should apply to you.

06.25.10

Why the Airbender issue and the issue of how Japanese anime is drawn should not be conflated

Posted in Racism tagged , at 11:17 pm by kyrias

I saw a promotional poster for The Last Airbender a while ago with Nora and made some comment about it. Nora came back with something like it wasn’t a big deal because of something regarding how no one complains about how Japanese anime is drawn.

I had some sort of weak reply about how the chillens are sad that Asian actors won’t be chosen for a movie based off of a Asian-themed cartoon series, but I didn’t have all my links at hand to quote, so I’m re-opening the discussion now. I was tempted to just make it a link-dump because I’m really tired of explaining why institutionalized racism is a bad thing to people — but I couldn’t very well ignore the comment about Japanese anime and so on.

Btw – -I think the Japanese really don’t have as much self-hate going on as Westerners would like to think. Really.

Why I’m personally boycotting this movie:

  • The original casting race-fail where they asked for “Caucasian or other” for characters who were obviously either Asian or Inuit
  • The utter lack of response to the race-fail backlash.
  • They killed a lot of the Asian influences of the original show, such as turning the Chinese script into gibberish.

I don’t really watch movies anyways, so I refuse on principle to have this abomination’s movie to be on the short list of movies I’ve paid to watch.

So, about that Japanese anime issue…

According to Matt Thorn — no matter how the characters in the anime or manga are drawn or portrayed, unless they’re “marked” as other, then they’re automatically assumed to be Japanese. The art form, which it is, not withstanding, it’s not about self-hatred or a desire to portray all people as Caucasian.

Also, I find it hysterical to insist that all characters in Japanese drawn anime and manga with light colored hair and eyes are automatically assumed to be Caucasian. As one of the commentators said, in an art form where wacky is the rule and nothing except perhaps clothing is recognizable as being of a particular bent, to insist that all light = Caucasian is just plain weird. This is the world of cat-eared girls and tailed men with fangs, after all.

Personally, I’ve always seen Japanese drawn anime and manga as talking about Japanese people, regardless of hair color or eye color unless indicated otherwise — so I’m really tempted to say it’s Western privilege talking when Caucasians automatically see themselves in anime characters.

As Ampersand says, the stereotypical circle with eyes in it, and a curve for a mouth is seen as Western by Westerners and it must needs have exaggeratedly slanted eyes and dark hair for it to be seen as Asian. I note that in China, that same simple drawing is seen as being Chinese, without the need for the slanted lines for eyes.

06.24.10

I think the new place will need either maid-service or a housekeeper

Posted in Renting with friends at 2:03 pm by kyrias

I don’t think I’m being pessimistic when I say that. Note the open letter which people pretty much ignored.

The current kitchen, shared between four people, not including me because I’m not really here for most of the time and I don’t cook anymore even if I were home — is a disaster. The sink is perpetually full, the stove often has pots sitting on top of it filled with putrid, moldering water, and the floor has visible stains from where people dripped stuff and then didn’t bother to mop up after themselves.

Then there’s the clutter. The used baking sheet with aluminum foil sitting on top of the stove. The things left out in random places.

I will admit that part of it may be a legacy from when I was in residence and there’s so much stuff on the shelves already that people just got frustrated with the idea of looking for space to put the new things they bought. Maybe. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

The new place currently has a dishwasher half the size of our current one and a sink that is both smaller and more shallow than ours. I think this is a recipe for disaster unless we avert it by making smart rules about dishes and who does what. Noting that sometimes when I was in residence, I had to load the dishwasher at least two times a day and I wasn’t keeping up with the dishes.

People are busy, is the problem. All of the people will be working. Some of them will be working and going to school. I get that.

However, I also see things going up in flames because things. won’t. get. done because everyone is busy and everyone won’t have time and things will just accumulate. If everyone in the house runs out of the door, leaving their breakfast plates and glasses in the sink — there’s a load of dishes right there. If lunch and then dinner and the odd snack is factored in, the sink will be overflowing before anyone can say Jack Robinson.

There’s also only so many spoons a person has, and if someone has to choose between going out to socialize or have dinner out or whatever is going on and staying at home to clean up a bit — guess which one they’re going to choose? People in this house work so hard that if they have spare time, there’s no way they’re going to spend that spare time cleaning. Especially if they see it as “not mine, dammit!”. Except, the sink, the floor, and the stove-top kind of are a shared responsibility between everyone who uses it.

Then there’s the problem that people just don’t want to clean up after other people. This is a perfectly human and reasonable response — except it’s not possible to think like that when you live with other people. Heck, I see significant others who have rousing fights because of the tit for tat game.

The fact is, nobody is going to be able to be perfect all the time. There will be that morning or afternoon where you just have to run and you leave a dirty pot on the stove and a glass on the coffee table and by the time you get home, you’ll have forgotten all about it and suddenly there’s multiple orphan dishes and everyone is studiously ignoring them because “dammit, it’s not mine” and the house goes to hell in a handbasket.

If people can’t get over themselves and I’m going to bet they won’t be able to — the only answer is a maid service or housekeeper.

I just hope that either people will be amazing at the game and prove me wrong, which is bloody unlikely considering the current state of the kitchen, or they’ll realize that they need a housekeeper before the entire household dissolves in flames.

Knowing people’s potential for drama, I have no real faith in either one happening. May the gods have mercy on us.

06.21.10

More on the Little Sister

Posted in Big Sister Association tagged at 11:58 pm by kyrias

Part of my main problem with my little sister is that I have no idea what to do with her at this point because on some level I don’t even want to do nice things for her anymore.

I tried making cookies with her. She was interested in the first half of it, which involved measuring ingredients, dumping them in the bowl, and mixing it. Then when I was scooping cookie dough onto the cookie sheets, she lost interest and asked to play the Wii. We tried again with cupcakes and banana bread. She would be interested at first, but then she would disengage after things went in the oven. So as to not put all the blame on her, although she didn’t seem interested in helping cleaning up after making an unholy mess, I also didn’t ask her because I thought she’d have difficulty washing the big mixing bowls in the sink due to height issues. I quit the cooking projects after Caesura called me to task for letting her play the Wii whilst I cleaned up the kitchen after a particularly messy baking project.

We tried games. If there’s any sort of learning curve to get to the fun part, she’s not interested. I think she doesn’t like appearing less than competent in front of people, but I don’t know how to get around that. We’ve tried the encouragement route, but it seems like she would rather just give up than anything else. I’ve asked people if we could try playing Settlers of Catan or Munchkin with her, but the universal opinion seems to be that she won’t be able to, either because she can’t or won’t learn how. Again, to be fair, we tried playing a Tetris like game and Scrabble with her and that’s the extent of the sample size. Then again, she’s 9 years old. Maybe we’re expecting a bit much? Google doesn’t seem to agree, with nine year olds competing in Scrabble competitions.

I tried taking her walking around. She tires easily, doesn’t seem to enjoy the walking all that much, and starts passive aggressively lagging further and further behind until I decide to call an end to it. She’s actually mentioned wanting to go to a pool or skating rink, but I’m not convinced it wouldn’t be a complete waste of money from what I’ve seen of her athletic prowess.

Then there’s the eating out. I took her out to eat a couple of times during the winter months when it was really just too cold to do anything outside and I wanted to do something relatively stress-free since I was working at that time in Framingham.

Now she asks to go eat out at Mary Chung’s all the time if we don’t go. Or she mentions that I mentioned that Vietnamese food is tasty. Or she says that she would like to try sushi.

Here’s what happened the last time I listened to her when she said that she would like to try Indian food:

I pick her up. She asks me what we’re doing. In some surprise, I say that we’re going out to Indian food, just like she wanted to the last time we met. She mumbles something about why don’t we go to Mary Chung’s again and I say that we’ve been multiple times already and didn’t she say that she wanted to try Indian food?

We sit down in the restaurant, get our menus, and she looks around surreptitiously before she says: “My cousin told me that Indians hate Haitians and they will give us nasty food.”

Appalled, I say: “Shh! That’s really rude.”

She subsides, but looks very unhappy. I relent and ask for details. She tells me that her cousin told her that the brother of a friend of his went to India and because they hate Chinese people and Haitians, they fed him nasty food that resulted in him having to have part of his brain cut out and he had to be hooked up to life support. Or at least  I assume she meant life support by “had tubes stuck into him and down his throat”.

I have to wonder if she mentioned that Indians hate Chinese and Haitians so I would have more immediacy to the horror that is Indian racism?

I tried to explain that her cousins were probably pulling her leg, that the worst that would happen would be if we got food poisoning and that food poisoning never results in brain amputation. I also said that Indians didn’t all hate Chinese people and Haitians and if this particular restaurant had people who would do such things, Azora who ate here last week would have fallen sick and since she was fine, clearly we didn’t need to worry.

She seemed to accept what I was saying — until the food came.

When my soup came and I offered her a taste, she refused. I didn’t think much about it until she also refused a taste of my samosa. My suspicions were confirmed when her chicken biryani came and she just picked at it.

Finally, I asked her if she was afraid to eat the food because she was afraid the Indians would poison her. She gave me a sort of nod-shake of the head. I sighed and decided to finish my meal at least and worry about it later.

Then, whilst I was eating and she kept picking at her food, she suddenly started to make the strangest expressions. She would contort her face and then when I asked her what that was about, shake her head furiously. Then, every single time the waiter walked past, even if he was paying no attention to us, she would announce in a very loud voice and a clownishly large grin that everything was delicious. Of course, then the waiter would glance over and see that she hadn’t had any of her food and be confronted with her “everything is wrong and I’m pretending the ship isn’t sinking” smile. She must have done this at least five times.

At this point I was pretty much speechless. It was one thing for her to refuse to eat after she ordered the food and after she asked to go out and try Indian food — but it was quite another for her to behave that strangely. I tried to keep the conversation going, but my consternation must have showed, because she started complaining about how it was a bad idea to come out to Indian food because I wasn’t smiling as much as when we went out to Chinese food. Then she started making strange expressions again. I tried explaining that it was because she wasn’t eating her food, but she would have none of my logic.

When we left, the manager said something sympathetic about her not eating her food and I could just smile sheepishly and say that it was her first time.

Very. Embarrassing.

Aside from that particular incident, I really hate how she constantly asks to go out for food. I’ve explained to her, numerous times, that we can’t go out to eat that often because I’m broke and I really don’t have the money for it. This is not a lie, because I’d be willing to go out to eat once a week if I only had the cash. Of course, at this point I don’t want to take her because I really don’t like how she ignores what I say about not having the money and just keeps asking. I actually started telling her that we could go eat if she would pay for it just so she’d quit asking after I told her that I was broke for the umpteenth time. There was one incident where I called her in the morning, told her we were going to be walking around Davis Square and that she had to eat lunch. In the middle of the outing, she started whining about how she was starving with a capital S. I asked her if she had something to eat, and she said that she hadn’t because there was nothing in the house to eat. She also said that her father, who was home, didn’t make anything for her to eat. At that point, exasperated, I told her that then she should probably learn how to make food for herself, or tell her father that she needs to eat before she goes out. What’s really odd is her habit of asking to bring home all the leftovers of lunch if I bring her back to the apartment and feed her lunch. And I mean, all the rest of the leftovers as in the entire pan of lasagna. I don’t know if that’s just her hoggish habits of if she likes something, she’ll take it all, or if her family actually doesn’t feed her enough. Considering that she’s rather chubby, I can’t imagine it’s the latter. Could be wrong though.

Two weeks before, she mentioned wanting to go to the Science museum. I told her that since tickets were around 28 dollars a person, we couldn’t go unless we had free tickets. Azora’s boss offered her three free tickets, but the kicker of the  situation is that neither of us really want to take her with the free tickets. I think that she’s going to get bored with the museum halfway through and want to leave because it’s too much walking around and so I don’t want to ask Azora for the tickets when she might have a better use for it. Azora doesn’t want to hand them over because she doesn’t want the LS to keep thinking that all she needs to do is ask and someone will come up with whatever she wants.

I don’t think this a good  mindset of ours at all, but I can’t help it. Just don’t want to do anything nice for her anymore. After the knitting incident, I’m doubly disinclined to believe her when she says that she wants to do something and it’s a terrible response to a child, but I just can’t help the gut reaction.

Blegh.

06.20.10

This Little Sister thing isn’t working out so hot.

Posted in Big Sister Association tagged at 11:22 pm by kyrias

I hung out with my Little Sister this past Saturday and man, was it a doozy.

I had planned a nice, soothing, not-too-strenuous afternoon of dim sum, yarn shopping, and then teaching her how to knit. It was supposed to be fun and drama-free.

Right.

It all started in the morning when I was walking out the door at 12:05. I was leaving early so I could go to the farmer’s market, pick up some strawberries whilst they were still in season, and then pick her up. This was when I noticed that my phone was flashing at me.

LS’s mother had left me a voice mail at 11:30AM, telling me that she was taking LS to the Saturday program she goes to sometimes and I could pick her up there. Or I could pick her up somewhere else. Then she said if I had any questions to call xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Main problem wrong with this scenario: I couldn’t make out either of the street names or house numbers.

I started freaking out right then and there.

First of all, she really shouldn’t have changed pick-up places on such short notice without actually getting ahold of me. She didn’t give me the option of telling her that I couldn’t do it if it had turned out that the place was going to be really hard to get to via the T.  Then, when I tried calling the phone number she provided to figure out the address, it went straight to voice mail and her voice mail box was so stuffed I couldn’t leave a message. When I called LS’s grandmother’s, some woman answered the phone and said “blah blah blah blah Creole” and then hung up. I took that to mean “I don’t speak nothing but Creole, bai”. I tried calling my social worker, but since I was calling her office phone, that also went to voice mail.

I was worried that LS would be stuck somewhere waiting for me, without knowing my phone number and without a way to get in contact with her mother when I didn’t show. I was hoping that she would call me by 1:00PM, when I was supposed to show up, but she didn’t.

Finally, her mother called me at 1:44PM and asked me if I was showing up. I really had to sit on myself not to unload on her, and told her that I would head straight out the door — if she would only tell me where she was. She then said that she would bring LS back to her grandmother’s place, which is my usual pick-up spot.

The 91 bus was running 15-20 minutes late according to the MBTA site, so I decided to take a taxi because I really didn’t feel like wasting any more time. Also, I was on the verge of nervous collapse after a full two hours of happy-fun times. I ended up tipping 7 dollars for a 10 dollar fare because my brain was just. that. fried and I didn’t realize my math was wonky.

Picked up LS and went to lunch.

Side note: LS has pretty poor table manners. If she likes something, she’ll keep taking more of it without considering that other people might want some. She’ll fill her plate to near overflowing and still reach out for more. She also has the bad habit of not just taking a little bit of something to try when she’s never had it before and if she doesn’t like it, she won’t make an effort to finish it. I’ve been trying to teach her better table manners, and actually Azora has poked her twice about it the last time we went out.

LS had a full plate of food that she had tasted and given up on. Then she started eating the custard out of an egg tart and was about to give up on the pastry shell part. I told her that she should finish it. She asked why. I told her because wasting food was bad. She seemed on the verge of asking why again and I just decided to slam her with “Children are starving in Africa” except I was tired of kids dismissing that, so I decided to hit closer to home and presented her with “Children are starving in Haiti”.

Yes. She’s from Haiti.

Azora reprimanded me for it. I had forgotten that LS had family caught in the earthquake and I stewed over that insensitive and tactless statement for the rest of the afternoon until I got a chance to apologize to LS about it.

Then we went yarn shopping and Azora tried to teach her how to knit. She watched Azora knit a couple of stitches and when it was her turn, she just looked at the needles without picking them up and refused because it was too complicated. Azora and I tried to encourage her to just try and see, but she still wouldn’t.

Right.

Let me clarify here that she had been asking for knitting lessons for the last two sessions now.

So we packed up and took her home.

I have to be honest. At this point, I have little to no interest in hanging out with her. She isn’t inquisitive or curious, doesn’t like reading, doesn’t like learning things, even learning how to play board games, and what she wants to do (nail salons, Six Flags) is utterly at odds with what I want to do. What’s worse is that she doesn’t seem particularly out-doorsy either. When I tried taking her walking around Quincy Market to look at street performers and such, she would complain that it was hot, that it was too tiring, and that she wanted to sit down.

I don’t think I actually even like her. She’s not a bad kid, but she’s spoiled in ways I can’t stand, I’m not clicking with her, and the entire situation is absolutely frustrating.

My social worker finally got back to me today, told me she was sorry but she didn’t work weekends, and asked me how things panned out. I tried to talk to her about not being LS’s Big Sister next year because I didn’t think that we were interested in the same things and if I tried to get her to do something she wasn’t particularly interested in, she would sit there and be apathetic about it.

Social worker told me she understood, but that we should try compromising and trade off on things that we wanted to do.

I tried explaining that it didn’t seem like LS wanted to do anything except eat out, go to Six Flags, or to a nail salon.

Social worker repeated herself. We should compromise, because that’s key, and surely we could find a list of things that we both wanted to do if we tried.

I gave up, thanked her, and hung up.

I swear, everyone in this mess is driving me crazy. Including myself.

06.08.10

We have a new house!

Posted in Renting with friends tagged , at 11:28 pm by kyrias

Or rather, we’re renting a new house this year.

It’s in Malden, is a 5 bedroom house with a decent attic and basement that appears to have potential, and we’re really hoping that we can make this work for the next few years at least.

Of course, nothing is ever that easy.

This new place is 2.4k/month, not including utilities, and Zach’s commute goes from about an hour to almost an hour and 45 minutes. This was almost a deal-breaker, but then we managed to decide that four of us were going to buy a car so he could commute so we could take the house.

This decision isn’t as rash as it might seem, even though I have to admit that we also have to buy a dishwasher, washer, and dryer.  Even so!

The problem being, of course, that 5 bedroom places just aren’t growing off trees. There’s not a great supply of them to begin with and when you factor in that we have a pretty limited budget, suddenly the pool of choices shrinks drastically. This place has new floors, new insulation and windows, and the kitchen has been re-done recently. Frankly, it’s gorgeous. I can easily see us living there three years from now, assuming that the current collection of people haven’t exploded in drama-fire. I could not see us living in our current apartment for too long, so that thought was what finally prompted me to suggest that we could buy a second-hand car.

That said, there’s still a bit of rough sailing ahead.

The finder’s fee of 1.2k, a month’s rent as deposit, buying the new appliances, and paying for July when we’re still paying for July in our current place is going to be a killer. This isn’t even including what we will have to spend on the car, insurance, and gas when we get the car.

What I’m currently conflicted about is that Ren and Dochola are asking for help with paying for the first portion of July’s rent. They will be moving in July 1st, whereas the rest of us anticipated moving in after the 15th. As such, they two will be responsible for 1.2k.

Usually I would have no problem about helping out. After all, it’s not only a friendly thing to do, it also opens up the possibility of more leisurely moving — which considering that I’m living in Framingham and Caesura works until 11pm every night, is a good thing.

Right now, however, I’m struggling with the idea that Azora, Zach, Caesura and I are already sort of taking one for the team in the form of buying a car so that we could live there. Even if I accepted the argument that we might not have gotten the house if we weren’t willing to pay for the entire month of July, part of me thinks that with our intending to buy a 5k car (at least) and paying for insurance, we’ve more than evened the scales in that regard. Assuming that they’re paying 600 more once so that we could have the house, whereas C and I would be paying 2.5k and insurance — I’m not too inclined to be made to feel like I’m upsetting the scales here. I’m not going to accept the idea that Ren and Doch were sacrificing their own financial security to allow us to live in that house because frankly, much as I liked the idea of living in that house, no one was going to force them to live beyond their means.

I have to admit that I was already a bit miffed that no one else offered to help with the car issue, or anything else in order to help us out, even when it was clear knowledge that we would be struggling with coming up with that money. Especially since C wants to go back to college, we really would have appreciated even a token offer of a hundred or two hundred dollars towards buying the car. Token of intent is always good, people.

Even so, I was going to sit on myself because after all, we did want that house. Ultimately, this will not break us although it might make us very, very unhappy financially for a while. I was thinking about opening a ROTH IRA for C and had been saving up my paychecks for the 3k that one needed to open an account with Vanguard, but not only has that entirely gone down the drain, that won’t even cover all of what we need. Credit card debt repayment will probably also have to go on hold with only minimum payments made until we sort out what is happening with the car and how much money we need to haul out. In fact, I can see the need of having a bread and water month, or months.

Ultimately, I suppose that C and I will give over a token $100, perhaps even $200 between the two of us, and call that acting in good faith. In all seriousness, if Doch and Ren are fine with us sitting on that helping out until later, that’d be great because frankly we have no spare cash at the moment. All I have in my checking and savings account is that 3k and I think I’ll need all of it in the two months ahead.

So — faithful friends, what would you do in our situation? Keeping in mind, of course,  the CC debt, the student loans, the going back to college costs, the start-up costs of at least 2k for just the house, moving costs, new appliances, and the purchase of a car.

05.19.10

Oh for the love of god — fuck you, Sprint.

Posted in Big Sister Association tagged , , at 2:47 pm by kyrias

So my cell phone carrier is crap. I knew this. We all knew this. But I had no idea it would be this much of a problem.

For the last two years, sometimes I wouldn’t get calls when people were calling me, and frequently voice mails wouldn’t pop up until well after they were relevant. Their use-by date, so to speak.

This wasn’t a terrible problem, mostly because I’m not in a profession or in a position where it really matters that much when people can’t get ahold of me. Also, most people know to call either my parents or Caesura if it’s really, really urgent.

Which reminds me that I should perhaps give my Little Sister (LS) and her family my family’s phone numbers and perhaps Caesura’s as well.

Today is the 19th. My cell phone was blinking red to tell me that I had missed a phone call, so I activated the voice mail and found to my horror that there were 13+ new voice mails.

…at least 10 of them were from my Little Sister’s mother, distraught over her missing child.

This past Saturday, I had picked up the LS  to hang out with her. When we dropped her off at her grandmother’s apartment, she saw her “uncles” parked by the curb about to take off and called out to them. They said that there was no one at home at the LS’s place and there was no one at home at the grandmother’s place too. I thought that I would have to take her back with me until I could figure out where the adults were, but then she asked to tag along with them for their graduation party and I happily let her go off with them.

Turns out that no one informed the LS’s mother where she was. From about 7pm onwards to 9:30, the LS’s mother left increasingly distressed voice mails begging me to pick up, to call her back and tell her where her daughter was. I assume that the phone calls stopped at 9:30 because she got back home.

Let me be very, very clear on this: I wasn’t aware that she was calling me and I didn’t get my voice mails until this afternoon.

Ugh. I can’t even begin to say how guilty I feel over allowing her to be that worried over her child. I can’t imagine that horrors that she probably had to endure because she probably thought that something terrible had happened to the both of us and that was why I wasn’t responding to my cell phone.

Also, I realize now that I was lucky that those men were her uncles. Not that I could have known for sure, but I’m not entirely certain that I should just let the LS run off with men I don’t know without getting an ok from either her grandmother or her mother. Not that confirming their identity was really an option at that point and it really wasn’t feasible to bring her back with us because often her mother works until late, but still…

Again, ugh.

I called my social worker just now to ask if she had heard from the mother recently since I called the mother and she didn’t pick up, presumably because she’s at work. According to my social worker, that was exactly what I should have done because there were no adults at either residence, but somehow that doesn’t make me feel that much better.

Blast Sprint!

Unfortunately, my father says he has similar issues with Verizon or I’d change in a heartbeat.

Double blast!

On another related note, there probably needs to be words about how there needs to be people at home so I can drop the LS off with people I know are family.

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