JN108: Rise of the Metal Bunny!

January 19, 2011

Dear everyone (both of you),

Today, I grilled okra marinated in fermented-tofu sauce. It was delicious beyond comprehension, like savory, slimy strips of socks, in a good way. Let me know if you want the recipe.

It occurs to me that I’ve gotten lazy with blogging. Part of the reason is pure laziness brought on by becoming addicted to the television show Lost, which is fully available streamingon Netflix. Over the last four weeks, I watched ALL SIX SEASONS. That’s 121 episodes, at approximately 43 minutes each. That’s nearly 90 hours of television. At end of the final episode, all my sexy vegan muscles had atrophied, and like a newborn Giraffe, I struggled to stand on my feet. I’m now trying to relearn what it means to be a human being.

So Netflix was one thing, but also the pervasive feeling of artistic hopelessness and despair. Blogging as form of artistic expression is dying. No one reads blogs any more! It’s a vicious cycle, a solipsistic one, where I feel that I am rambling only for the sake of rambling, that no one is reading these words, that the lack of comments is an indication of a waning interest, which makes me not want to write.

But ha, writing demons, you can’t defeat me that easily! 2011, the Year of the Bunny, is the year of renewal and prolificity. It is a year where everyone is full of energy and vitality, and is cuter and cuddlier too. But it is not the soft and fluffy bunny this year! It is the Metal Bunny. Thus, it is a year of fertile productivity, combined with a will of iron!

I’ve started working with a friend, Annie, a great writer, on getting Jagged Noodles syndicated. We’ve already sent sample columns and cover letters to four syndications. What are the odds of one accepting? 1 in a 1000. But the Metal Bunny is impervious! It will keep going and going. We’ll continue submitting every week, week after week, to various newspapers across the country. The Bunny will not rest until JN is in at leat five, ten newspapers!

Meanwhile, I’ll start updating the blog regularly again. I realize how insane our society is becoming, which is great for a humor writer. So much material is out there: Sarah Palin, that crazy strict Asian mom from Yale who told her daughter to remake a birthday card the kid made for her, Hip Hop culture and the overuse of “shawty” in songs, which have gotten generally stupid and slutty, and healthcare reform. It is a fascinating and interesting world, full of stuff to make fun of. Plus, all sorts of fun things are happening in my life. The neighborhood group I’ve been chair of is coercing me to remain as chair; they like my ice breakers. Tomorrow I drive for three hours to meet with foundation rep for thirty minutes to beg for money, then drive three hours back. And Jameelah and I are planning a wedding reception for April; our friend Rona is going to be a fortune teller, and our Jewish friend Rachel is geting us a vegan cake.

Things are going great. And all I need to do is just get the Metal Bunny to ignore the call of “Dexter,” which is whispering, softly, softly in the distance…

JN107: Facebook and Twitter: The destruction of society one status message at a time

January 6, 2011

Dearest JN readers,

I hope this column finds you well. I had a great holiday, sick on the couch, hacking and coughing. Instead of gifts for the little ones, our nieces and nephews, this year we decided to donate money in their names to charity. How their faces lit up as they realized that money went to help Haiti Earthquake victims instead of buying shoes and stupid pillows shaped like animals. It was a heartwarming sight that I’ll never forget. Luckily, I had removed all the scissors and other sharp objects from the area when they opened their cards.

Several people have asked me, “Huy,” they ask, “why don’t you have a Facebook and Twitter account?” This is usually followed by insults such as “How did you get to work today, by riding a Mastodon? Ha!” Then, they would run to a computer to quickly update their wall. “Totally pwned someone with awesome insult!”

Well, I’ll tell you, my friends, why I don’t indulge in social media. Because it marks the destruction of society as we know it. Once-productive people who used to spend their time in creative pursuits like photography, short-story writing, and puppetry, are now chained to their computer, detailing the minutiae of their lives. Kids are using it, too. Facebook is a time-sucking vortex that turns our future scientists and leaders into incoherent zombies who speak in short sentences that signify nothing of importance.

Worse, social media is a vicious, self-perpetuating cycle that inflates and reinforces people’s perceptions of themselves. It generates an illusion that people really care about all the little things that happens in our life. “Jason Edwards just bought a Knect!” “Kevin Nguyen just commented on a photo!” Society cannot advance if we focus on our own personal narratives instead of the universal truths and lessons that can benefit everyone, such as that hipsters are a plague on society.

In addition, Facebook and Twitter are an insult to writing. We writers, the ones who spend endless hours (or at least several commercials during episodes of 30 Rock and Community), crafting every word, every phrase, shaping them until they shine and shimmer like new pennies skipped across society’s lake of consciousness, understand that writing is an art, and an important one. At this point, I must pull out a weapon that humor columnists only use during times of desperation: quoting more notable, serious columnists. Neal Gabler, in the LA Times, noted: “[The] more we text and Twitter and ‘friend,” […] the less likely we are to have the habit of mind or the means of expressing ourselves in interesting and complex ways.”

Some of the best writings come from letters we write to each other, long letters that convey meanings and that capture a moment in time, or journals that ink down our deepest reflections. The Diary of Anne Frank, letters between Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, etc. Imagine 200 years from now, when literary scholars stumble on examples of communications during our time. I hate to think that “Going Rouge: The Collected Wall Postings of Sarah Palin” and “Tweets from My Brother, an Iraq Soldier” are going to be classics.

Of course, you can argue that these things, like any tools, can be used for good, such as bringing attention to charities and so on. I’m not arguing they’re completely useless, just that they are destroying our society. We have moved into a time when our attention spans grow increasingly shorter, when the focus of our time is not finding and sharing universal truths, but rather finding evidence to inflate the importance of our own lives. Facebook and Twitter are both a manifestation of these trends, but also the cause and the perpetuation of them. It does not bode well for our troubled world. This is why I will not be getting a Facebook or Twitter account anytime soon.

Plus, I have 3 seasons left of Lost that I’m trying to watch on Netflix Instant.

JN105.5 Need advice quick! Lasik?!

December 3, 2010

My friends,

It’s been a while (probably because I stopped sending out email reminders about blog postings, and also because I got a George Foreman grill, which has been occupying my time. You think perfect grill marks on tofu are easy? Ha.)

I need some quick advice on Lasik surgery, mainly because LivingSocial has a deal today for $2100 for Lasik surgery, for BOTH eyes! That’s 50% off their normal price, which is $2100 for ONE eye. So it’s like buying one eye, getting an eye free. An eye for an eye!

Meanwhile, my car has started disintegrating. The front piece of the undercarriage fell off at one end and is dragging on the ground and makes a torturous screeching sound only heard at Tea Party rallies. Sometimes I have to stop the car, get out, and kick the piece so it would go back under the car, which is embarrassing, and bad for my shoes, which are made with vegan leather and thus is also disintegrating.

Given all that information, I’d like your input. Please send your advice, which you may do through voting on the following responses (or write your own, whichever is more convenient):

A. Go for Lasik Surgery! Without glasses, you’re almost half as attractive as that Asian guy on Lost.

B. Lasik surgery has not been proven safe through longitudinal studies. It’s best you do just one eye, wear a monocle, and 20 years later, if that eye is still good, do the other eye

C. Glasses make people look intelligent and sophisticated, and you need all the help you can get

D. Worry more about your car; save up and buy a car that is not leaking, disintegrating, or at risk for spontaneous combustion

E. Why do you keep making fun of the Tea Party? Stop it! The Tea Party is awesome! I had an uncle who was dying of cancer, and he joined the Tea Party and prayed to Sarah Palin, and instantly he was cured!

Seriously, your opinion counts, so write in!

JN71: One small step for a man, edible parking stickers for Mankind

November 18, 2009

Dear everyone,

A new Mayor has been elected in our City, and he’s actually a pretty cool guy. He rides his bike to work and has a beard. The only way he’d be cooler is if his bike is compostable. We Seattleites love anything that is compostable—“Look, I got these new tires for my car, and they’re compostable!”

I have been wondering why and how some people go into politics. Looking at Sarah Palin and all the crap she is getting, I feel just a little bit of pity for her. Does anyone deserve this much ridicule? I bet if she weren’t politically ambitious, she’d actually be fun to hang out with: “Come on in, you guys! I baked some cookies. Look at this lovely view of Russia from the kitchen!”

To be a leader is to be a target, which is why I prefer to stay in the background. I like to think of myself as a man of great ideas. Let others act and receive credit. Today, for example, the Mayor-elect’s transition team convened a group of community leaders together to give input on how to start his administration strong. “I’d like the Mayor to move his office,” I said, “I mean, it’s just ridiculous last week making me circle around the block for half an hour trying to find parking downtown and then take two elevators to get to the Department of Human Services on the 58th floor. And what’s with parking stickers that leave residues on my car window! They should make edible glue so that the residues can just be licked off!” The others were struck speechless by my astute observations. I wouldn’t be surprised if the new Mayor appoints me as Director of the Department of Astute Observations or something.

How do people start their political careers? I think in two ways: One, you knew when you were a little girl that you wanted to take over the world and have all-encompassing power over every living thing. Or two, you were pushed into it because no one else wanted to do it and you pulled the short straw. It usually starts small, such as getting harassed to be president of the neighborhood council or PTSA or Facebook Croc Fanclub.

That’s exactly what happened to me. I was recently pulled into running unopposed for a neighborhood council. Seattle has the most diverse district in the US. For months, the neighborhood council had been locked in civil war, with prejudiced homeowners wanting the council to restrict council member to mainly homeowners, while other people felt that was unfair to the minorities, who are less likely to be homeowners. During meetings, where 40 or 50 people were present, insults with thrown, along with yelling and cursing and bitter tension. Someone was physically threatened in the parking lot. The police and outside mediators had to be called in. Finally, the forces of good prevailed, and most of the prejudiced people left to fester in their corner of racism and not-hugged-often-enough-when-they-were-kids bitterness. It’s wacky, considering that neighborhood councils basically have almost no power or funding to do anything and are basically just forums for people to complain and exchange information.

But into this council I go. Terms start in January, but tomorrow is when the slate of officers is announced. I now embark on a new chapter of my life. Will this lead to something more? Will this spark in me a desire for more political ambitions? Will I be able to affect change? A new reign in the council shall take place. Already I am thinking of having round tables instead of imposing square ones. Committees. Yes, there will be committees. There will be a slot of time allocated each meeting so neighbors can complain about lack of composting bins, sure, but we will also work together build a strong vision for our neighborhood, a vision of peace and harmony and potlucks. I feel it. I’m starting to feel power coursing through my veins.

What should I do first as the council president? Let me know. Otherwise: Edible glue onto these parking stickers.


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