Friday, February 27, 2004

a string of bad luck...

well, i'm sad to say that it's been well over 3 months since i've had a guitar lesson. if you recall, i started taking lessons in oct/nov of last year and was really digging it, and my teacher. but i've come to realize that i just don't have much luck when it comes to trying to learn the guitar. i'm really passionate about it, mind you. i've always had fantasies of being a guitarist in a band, just chillin' in the background wowing the crowd with my quick fingers. but alas, i'm starting to think that maybe it's not meant to be... ever.

i've had really bad luck with guitar teachers. my first one was cool, back when i was 12 years old still living in bangladesh. but i don't really remember why or how that relationship ended. perhaps i was shifting phases and moved onto something else, the fickle teenager that i was. 15 years later i decided to get back into it and found a teacher in the yellow pages (maybe that was my problem) who literally lived 2 doors down from my building. i figured it was a match made in heaven. the only problem was that this guy was like, icky-weird. at first he seemed pretty harmless, and i'd go to his apartment once a week. soon i started noticing that he was being a bit of a hypocrite with respect to his time. he charged me a whopping (but common) $32/hour, but i was willing to pay so long as i was learning. on the one hand, he'd give me exactly an hour of his time (no more, no less), but on the other hand, he'd babble endlessly during our sessions about mind numbing topics like parking in our neighborhood and animals, and who the fuck knows what else. slowly i was starting to get annoyed. i figured if he was gonna babble for ten minutes, then i should get an extra ten minutes of lessons, right? wrong. as soon as the hour was up he'd get out of his chair and hastily turn off his amp and put his guitar away and wait for me to give him his money. but, being the non-confrontational person that i am, i dealt with it and concentrated on learning to play.

then one day, i walked into his apartment for a lesson and the door was already ajar but i didn't see him anywhere. so i set myself up for the lesson and waited. soon after, he came out of the bathroom, his long hair still wet, in a wife-beater and boxer shorts. mind you, it was december. and that was really icky. but i was a sport, and continued on with my lesson all the while trying to avoid looking at any part of him other than his face for fear of what might pop out of those nasty boxers. but teaching me in his underwear was apparently not enough because he proceeded to ask me what i thought of his "build". so i mumbled a few sentences together basically to say "it's fine..." all the while gagging and trying not to laugh at his ass.

needless to say that was the last lesson i ever took with him. i made up some excuse about being broke and needing to take a break and that was that.

fast forward 5 years later (wow.. i sure take long breaks, don't i?) and i'm itching to learn again. so i look around different websites and find a girl (family, no less) who teaches out of her house not too far from my place. as many of you know from an earlier post, i was really vibing well with her. i figured this was it, my ticket to really mastering the instrument. i took lessons with her once a week and was learning a lot! but as all good things come to an end, so did this.

fortunately it wasn't an icky-weirdo story, but it was disappointing nonetheless. basically she's stretching herself really thin and at the same time trying to record a new album so she just doesn't have time to teach me (since i'm one of the few students who can't take lessons during weekdays, courtesy of my j.o.b.). but the frustrating part about it all is that she said that she wants to keep me as a student, yet i don't hear from her at all. she doesn't return my calls and doesn't make an effort to try to work me into her schedule. so i'm a tad frustrated and not sure if i'll ever find someone on a long term basis.

maybe i just spent too many years neglecting my desire to learn. maybe i should just give up.

na.. i don't think so. i'm gonna learn to play the damn guitar one of these days...

Thursday, February 26, 2004

talk about fucked up priorities...

i'm a tad livid today, for many reasons. but i'll just indulge you in one of them. those of us that live in chicago are painfully aware of the "cubs curse" and the " ball" and i'm sure many of you across the nation have at least heard about it in passing through one form of media or another. if you haven't, i hate to say this but you've probably been living under a rock.. or have avoided all forms of news media entirely (for which i applaud you, actually).

well, today and yesterday the infamous ball that was inadvertently caught by a cubs fan was all over the local papers and news channels... as if we didn't have enough of a hoopla over it back when it happened and the cubs lost one of their chances at winning the world series. now, frankly, i don't give a shit about baseball unless i've got a bat in hand and a ball on it's way. it's too slow of a sport for me to watch. i'd rather be playing. but i digress. so this ball is being destroyed today. destroyed, because, you know, it's a lingering reminder of the never-ending cubs curse. the curse. because heaven forbid there's any other possible explanation for the cubs' continued failure to win a world series.

what pains me... no, that's too mild.. what absolutely fucking chaps my ass, is this:

"On the eve of its destruction, the infamous ball was treated to a whirlwind final day on Earth", according to this article in the chicago sun-times.

not only are they destroying the damn thing, but they're also treating it like a glorified death row inmate. the article continues:

"Shuttled in a van with a handful of security guards, the ball took a trip Wednesday for a last look at the Friendly Confines, where it all began. The ball circled the outside of Wrigley once, then was taken for a walk around the front of the park."

but wait.. there's so much more:

"After its drive to [wrigley field], the ball was chauffeured to the [insert trifling ass hotel of your choice here] Hotel, where it was placed on a plush, king-size bed in a fifth-floor suite and had set before it a dinner of steak, lobster and a Budweiser. Afterward, the ball was given a massage, complete with scented candles."

the assinine part of this is that they actually showed this lady massaging the ball on the 10 o'clock news last night.

the article doesn't mention this, but the ball is also insured by a donated $1 million policy by [insert dumb ass insurance agency of your choice here], and the policy expires when the ball is destroyed tonite during an elaborate ceremony planned at a local baseball-friendly restaurant.

and when i say elaborate, i mean elaborate:

"It is a sold out, free-ticketed event and will feature music, comedy and celebrity appearances in addition to the toast to [insert deceased baseball fanatic here] and the ball destruction. Hollywood legend Harold Ramis (Ghostbusters, Animal House, Groundhog Day, etc.) will be the Master of Ceremonies. Billy Corgan (formally of Smashing Pumpkins) and Rick Nielson (guitarist for Cheap Trick) will perform acoustically. Columbia Recording artist Alice Peacock will also perform. The Second City is singing two songs they wrote in honor of the ball destruction.... the destruction of the ball will be aired live on national television stations throughout the United States." according to the host restaurant's website.

now, i consider myself to be a pretty fuckin' laid back kinda grrl. really, i do. but this whole thing disturbs me and sickens me in so many ways..

there are people in this country (let alone the world) that have never slept in a plush king-size bed in a swanky downtown hotel. there are people who may never have had the luxury of a lobster and steak dinner. there are people who have never been chauffeured before. there are people who have never been able to afford a professional massage. and for fuck's sake there are millions of people who don't even have a lick of insurance. yet this inanimate chunk of rubber, cork, twine and leather has it all.

despite my attempts at poking fun at this whole debacle, i'll have you know that i'm thoroughly disgusted by how trifling some people in this city can be.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

my j.a. kids 2004...

so, i have to admit that my j.a. kids this year are nowhere near as crazy about me as last year's kids were. and the feeling is somewhat mutual. this year's kids seem to be a little more, what's the word i'm looking for here.. i don't know.. smart-alecky? is that a word? at any rate, they're not quite as attentive, and i'll admit that as being partially my fault because i suppose i'm not really as into it as i was last year. no particular reason, though i can't help but attribute some of my disinterest to the general attitude and vibe of the class.

don't get me wrong, there are definitely quite a few gems in the class, but i find myself having to raise my voice more often than not in order to be heard over their constant babbling. maybe they're not as interested in the subject material as last year's class was, despite my heroic attempts at trying to make the topic of "personal economics" appeal to a bunch of 7th graders.

last year, my kids looked forward to my sessions and were very vocal about it. there was all kinds of love. this year, the kids are just sort of there because they have to be.. or at least that's the vibe i've gotten over the past 7 weeks. but when i told them last week that this wednesday was going to be my last class with them, more than a few of them seemed disappointed, and i came away from it feeling like they took me for granted. of course i have no resentment towards them at all, after all they're only 12-13 year olds. and despite their nonchalance, i still feel like i made a difference in some of their lives and hope to leave them tomorrow with much to think about with respect to their futures. but it just wasn't the same. and i was probably expecting just that and in the process managed to set unjust expectations for them. but hey, you learn something everyday, right? next year will be different.

our office is sponsoring a pizza party for the entire school on the last day, which is nice. and they're also giving us little gifts to pass out to the kids which include a plastic see-through pencil case with built-in ruler, a blue and yellow highlighter with our company logo on it, and a pencil with a 100 dollar bill design on it and a chunky green dollar sign eraser. i have a couple of issues with the pencil-eraser-dollar-sign-madness being given out to these kids for reasons that are self-explanatory. and i also have an issue with the pizza party.

last year, we did a pizza party and the pizzas were ordered from a neighborhood pizza place and while i'm all about supporting south side businesses, the pizza was the worst i'd ever had. and i vocalized this to my co-worker who is in charge of arranging it, in a nice way, of course. a lot of us thought it sucked so it wasn't just me. so this year, turns out the pizzas are being ordered from the same place and i asked my co-worker why. she said it's because it's the only place that's within her budget.

now, i work for a multi-million dollar company and they're having issues with a pizza party budget for school kids? i find there to be something inherently wrong with ordering sucky pizza just to come within budget. this is obviously not my co-workers fault, but i hate that there's only a $200 difference between sucky pizza and a place like giordano's... or hell, even dominoes pizza is better than the sucky pizza. if we were teaching in a white/suburban neighborhood, where the neighborhood pizza parlor was a giordano's, would they stretch their budget? i wonder. and why don't the south side kids deserve to eat good ass pizza?

man, i really have issues...

Thursday, February 19, 2004

all choked up..

i just browsed through a bunch of pictures posted here that were taken during the city-approved gay weddings held in san francisco last weekend. i was literally sitting here at work unsuccessfully trying to hold back the tears. i guess i just got emotional seeing the sheer joy on the faces of all the newly-weds all the while thinking how horrible it is that most heterosexual folks take marriage for granted while us gay folks have to now live vicariously through the brave couples that waited hours in front of san francisco's city hall to do what is logically and righfully one of the greatest acts of love. even if their certificates don't end up "legitimate" in the grand scheme of things, the looks and smiles on their faces are priceless and no one, not the highest court in the country, can take the happiness they all must've felt that day away from them.

i so wish i was there to witness all this. i'm nowhere near ready to get married, even in jest, but i still wish i was there to show my support.

Monday, February 16, 2004

u.s. travelogue...

create your own visited states map

and now onto the united states. well, i really haven't travelled as much of the U.S. as i would have liked to but we start off with massachusetts where my family and i moved to from bangladesh when i was a teeny little thing, barely walking. we lived there while my parents pursued their graduate and doctorate degrees at boston university. boston brings back tons of fond memories of my childhood as we lived there for almost 8 years.

west coast action: not much, really. visited a friend in san francisco in '95 and didn't much like it back then (for some reason i think i may feel differently if i ever decide to go back); a week in l.a. during my ucla conference last year, and thanksgiving weekend in laguna niguel about two years ago. back in '99 i visited a friend in seattle on my way to vancouver to renew my visa (that could've been done via mail.. i still bang my head against the wall over that one!).

down south: florida is a regular thanks to my cousin who keeps inviting me back. visited an old friend in san angelo, tx by way of austin and then went back for her wedding while also visiting my old college roommate for a long weekend in killeen, tx.

midwest: by virtue of living in chicago, long weekend roadtrips with c included door county (wi), saugatuck (mi), and dart (mi), home of the womyn's music festival. indiana was a by-product of our michigan road trips. supposedly my family and i came to chicago to visit my uncle when i was 3 or 4 but i don't recall the details of that trip except that my sister and dad ended up getting chicken pox.

eastern board: when i was 6 my family and my uncle and his wife (who live in chicago) took a long ass roadtrip from boston aaallll the way down to orlando to see.. you guessed it! disney world!!! i'm sure it was fun, really.. i just don't remember. i vaguely remember almost getting left behind in a convenience store because i was too busy reading some magazine cover with the headline "who shot j.r.?". wow, that ages me, doesn't it? so, during that trip we no doubt passed several million states, but it's all a blur. i can't remember what route we took so i'm not sure if we hit delaware or not. i suppose we hit the virginias at some point but for c's sake i'm just gonna say i've never been to virginia because she wants to take me there (her hometown). on the way to orlando my uncle got us into an accident in north carolina while driving on an icy highway. my dad broke his pinky finger trying to stop my head from hitting the windshield (yes, i was in front on his lap.. how naive were we?) and my mom hurt her back, but other than that we all made it alive. i actually remember parts of that whole scene. it was my uncle, aunt, mom, dad, me and sis all crammed into my uncle's tiny ass trans am. what were my parents thinking?

north east: my parents were huge fans of fall color so every fall we'd head north to new hampshire or vermont, maine, connecticut, you name it, to catch the foliage. i don't think i appreciated it as much as i do now. i remember stopping once so my dad could feed a bear, and i also remember being scared shitless that he'd come back with a hand missing. my parents also had friends who had a summer home on an island off maine which we visited. i remember having a crush on their little son who had his very own tree house. i was mad jealous. oh, but on the way there we had to take a ferry and the sailor went to toss the (anchor) rope onto whatever it is they toss anchor ropes onto, and the rope came and smacked me on the nose. but it was cool though, cuz i got a free pepsi out of it. a free pepsi is way cool when you're a 6 year old with no money.

on to rhode island where i went to visit my oldest friend (we've known each other since we were 4 years old) when she was at brown, and of course several trips to new york and jersey to visit various friends over the years. i never really "visited" ohio and pennsylvania but drove through it plenty of times on my way to and from boston or new york in my early college years.

and there you have it. wow, that actually ended up being a bit of a trip down memory lane for me...

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

world travelogue...

idea courtesy of ej and george:

i've always wanted to have a physical list of countries i've visited but never got around to it. what better way than this? countries visited are in red and it makes me realize how much of the world i haven't seen.

create your own visited country map

in alphabetical order except the first one:

bangladesh: home - born and partially raised and visited frequently now that i live in chicago
bahamas: my first real beach vacation back in december 1999 with an old college roommate/best friend
bahrain: a 24 hour layover on the way home to bangladesh
canada: niagra falls when i was a kid and then 5 hours in vancouver to renew my u.s. visa back in october 1999 (i later found out i could've done it all via mail)
france: a 2 hour layover at charles de gaulle. since i never really left the airport, does that count?
india: several times while living in bangladesh - kolkata, tamil nadu, madras, delhi, agra (taj mahal)
indonesia: family trip to bali last september
japan: a 2 hour layover at tokyo narita.. again, does it count?
kuwait: a 24 hour layover on the way back from bangladesh
mexico: a 3 day trip over labor day weekend back in september 2000 which deserves an entry unto itself. i went to guadalajara chasing after a trifling young thing i had a summer weekend fling with and then we drove to puerto vallarta with two of her friends. (stealing from michelle) mama said drama.
nepal: a 5 day getaway, just me and my sister when i was home for the holidays back in december 2000
puerto rico: a 2 hour layover in december 2002 on the way back from st. lucia
saudi arabia: 24 hour layover during one of my trips home
singapore: back in january 1988 with my uncle and aunt as a pre-graduation present
st. lucia: most of you know about c's and my adventures and misadventures out there
thailand: a few days after the singapore trip in '88 and then a 24 hour layover several years later where i did get to go out and explore a little
united arab emirates: 24 hour layover in abu dhabi where i did get out and explore (being in that city is like sticking your head in an oven.. wow). i've since gotten savvy and started taking direct routes from london to bangladesh to avoid these 24 hour layovers. ugh.
united kingdom: several passings through heathrow, but a couple of times i took advantage of the stop overs and stayed a few days to visit close friends in london.
united states: no explanation needed. perhaps i'll do the state map one of these days so i can figure out where i want to go next while i'm still living in the u.s.

wow, it seems like i've visited a lot of countries, but according to the map i've barely scratched the surface! future plans/dreams include: several countries in africa (tanzania - zanzibar...mmm.), maldives, sri lanka, bhutan, australia, new zealand, fiji, several countries in south america, jamaica, cayman islands, tahiti, amsterdam.. the list goes on. however i think amsterdam is the only place in europe that i have an inclination to visit. europe doesn't do much for me. nor does russia.

in fact, i'm looking into maybe visiting ethiopia sometime this summer (if work allows) as a friend's friend is getting married there and i've been invited to attend. what better excuse? somehow though the thought of a week in africa just doesn't seem to be enough.

Monday, February 09, 2004


i'm so not clairvoyant. in fact, if there's an antonym for that word someone please tell me what it is. clueless can't be it.

anyway, i met someone last night at the fundraiser i went to (where meshell was the guest dj). we only chatted very briefly, and me somewhat incoherently thanks to the 3 vodka/cranberry drinks in my system. but it was a meeting like no other. the details of who and what are irrelevant to this story but the bottom line is that after the alcohol started wearing off, i started to feel really, really sad.

my current song of choice is ani difranco's educated guess off her new album of the same name (this month's audio pleasure, a must-listen). it's constantly in my brain and it's such a fantastic song. so of course, c and i were listening to it on the drive home. and during that drive home all i could think about was this person i had met. so now everytime i listen to the song i think of her.

now, it wasn't a sexual thing at all. i mean, the person is most definitely attractive (read: gorgeous), and so damn cool and laid back.. but this wasn't about any of that. it was about something i've never experienced before.

i know this may sound a little hokey and all, but i've had all day to think about this. i tried to think of reasons why i might be sad, and i really couldn't come up with any. i mean, sure, there are plenty of things that make me sad in my life, but i had just gotten out of a party where i actually finally got to meet meshell (!!) and had a great time with c and some friends and we drank and ate and danced to meshell's deejaying. i was happy and there was nothing to be sad about. but during that drive home, while i thought of this woman, i carried around a heavy heart but i couldn't figure out why, and the sadness stayed with me the entire day.

i'm not quite sure yet what my conclusion is, but i think i may have made an emotional connection with this person (whom i'll probably never see again) and somehow i brought some of her sadness home with me. it's the weirdest feeling in the world and it's never happened to me before, but i'm more than willing to be open minded about it and accept it as, perhaps even, a spiritual connection.

so i ask myself in my best valley girl impression, am i, like, losin' it!?

i don't know. maybe i'm reading too much into it. maybe i wanted a connection so i made one up subconsciously. ok, no, i'm just not that conniving. but i swear i carried around this person's sadness all night and all day and only recently have i started to feel a little better about it. who knows, maybe we did a little spiritual exchange where i took some of her sadness and can only hope that i gave her some of my happiness. i could take tons of solace from that but isn't that borderline egotistical? hell, if i had any control over it, i'd do it more often, but is it even possible?

i certainly hope so.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004


when i first started blogging, i thought that it would be a great way for me to get back into writing. i used to write a lot of poetry and semi-autobiographical stories, particularly during and after a very trying relationship with a boy when i was in my mid-twenties. i suppose it was all the angst and confusion surrounding the relationship that made me write. at any rate, i lost that feeling to write after the relationship ended and i moved on. i've since searched high and low for things to write about, particularly in the poetry arena, but have been at a loss.

my blogs, for the most part, have been writings of my everyday existence. sure, i delve into a little politics here and there and spew my rhetoric when i feel the need, but i mostly just write about the things that are going on in my life. at times, it's not the most interesting read, but it's my life, nonetheless and i write about it because it sort of feels good to share experiences with people, albeit 'strangers'.

what i haven't done with my blogs, really, is delve into certain aspects of my thought processes which actually affect me hugely. allow me to explain: you see, in the past, when i've brought up topics of race or politics or other such debatable issues, i really only scratched the surface of my thoughts and opinions. i never really elaborated much on why or when or how and to be honest it's for a few reasons. 1) because i don't think i can quite articulate my deep and passionate feelings about certain issues and 2) sometimes my feelings are so deep and passionate that i wonder if i just sound like a mumbling fool.

but see, i'm about to turn 31 and i really don't give a shit if i come off to people as a mumbling fool. and so i'm about to discuss a topic that has been bothering me for the past few days. it has to do with race and it has to do with a close friend's sister and it has to do with and.y roo.ney.

i've met my friend's sister, (let's call her J) oh... about 2 times. during those two times i never really came away from the meetings thinking too fondly of her. my opinion of her was that she was the most immature 41 year old i had ever met, for reasons that i just won't go into. let's just say she craves to be the center of attention and at 41 one would think one would have gotten over that kind of behaviour. but i digress. she's from bangladesh but came to the states when she was five and has lived here ever since. her parents were very wealthy so she pretty much grew up privileged.

so, supposedly and.y roo.ney spoke his mind on some cbs show a few weeks ago. i didn't see it. to tell you the truth i'm not sure i even know who he is. everytime i try to picture him i think of mic.key roo.ney. so i get this email that's being passed around by J which quotes andy as saying things that i found to be borderline... ok, not borderline.. downright offensive. he basically goes off on a bitching session and decides to trash everyone who isn't a straight-white male. he disses immigrants, of course, because they run gas stations and can't speak proper english; he disses black americans for calling themselves african-americans and talks about how they have the united negro college fund and jet magazine and that if white folks came out with a white college fund and cloud magazine, jesse jackson would be knocking down their door. he also went into a tirade about how his tax dollars were going to some crackhead junkie who was squirting out babies in an alley, and how... well, you get the picture, right?

so J sends out this email to all these people with the subject heading: "beautiful!".

now, i so don't need to bother going into how many aspects of this man's monologue were offensive because then i would just be stating the obvious. the old deshigrrrl might have just let it slide, deleted the email and moved on. but the soon to be 31 year old deshigrrrl ain't sittin' down no more. i'm standing up for my beliefs and i'm making my opinions heard whether you want to hear it or not.

so i sent a reply to J asking her whether or not she actually subscribes to these opinions or if she just thought it was "funny". and i added my opinion that it was just another example of the white man (i have to admit, i used the term "whitey" because i was um.. emotional) rejecting everything that doesn't fit into his little comfort zone.

we went on to have an extremely sarcastic (on her end) and enraged (on my end) exchange of emails whereby i came to realize that despite the fact that surely there's so much more to this woman than the fact that she's a brown person, i wasn't so sure anymore if she was really brown after all! her responses to some of my heartfelt explanations of how many different ways andy's statements were offensive, not to mention wrong, were elitist and snobbish and completely unexpected. she had a very blase attitude about the struggles of people of color and came off as though all people of color use discrimination as a way to "play the victim", thereby inducing sympathy from others. in fact, when i accused her of promoting bigotry just by spreading that email around, she in turn accused me of putting down people of color by promoting the "victim" mentality.

i cannot begin to tell you how this bitch fueled my temper that day. and all the while i kept having to remind myself that it's okay for people to have differing opinions. but at the same time i couldn't help but think that there was something very wrong and disturbing about her manner of thinking. not because she considers herself an american, and not because she pretty much dismisses her true heritage, but because she actually related to the "white" experience much more than she did the "brown" experience. and for the first time in my life, i felt the need to call someone a sell out.

that's right. i called her a sell out. and that was the end of our conversation. she had a lame come-back but that was about it.

now, this incident happened well over a week ago and for me to still be harping on it is quite an ordeal. i guess if i were to break it down, i just can't get over the fact that she has absolutely no compassion for people of color and their everyday struggles with institutional, cultural and social discrimination. perhaps it's because she doesn't see herself as a person of color, which would be fine in a perfect world, but this world is light years away from being even close to perfect. maybe it's because she grew up privileged and never had to struggle personally? but even then, don't you look around and see the injustices going on in the world? don't you SEE?

the worst part about all this is that i actually have to see her sell-out ass at a fundraiser party coming up this weekend. now, the old deshigrrrl might exchange niceties just to avoid confrontation. but the soon to be 31 year old deshigrrrl ain't afraid to speak her mind...