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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 In Review, According to Zoe

Dumbest Political Quotes:
10. "I think — I'll have my staff get to you. It's condominiums where — I'll have them get to you." —John McCain after being asked how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, own, interview with Politico, Las Cruces, N.M., Aug. 20, 2008
9. "As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border." —Sarah Palin, explaining why Alaska's proximity to Russia gives her foreign policy experience, interview with CBS's Katie Couric, Sept. 24, 2008
8. "Stand up, Chuck, let 'em see ya." —Joe Biden, to Missouri state Sen. Chuck Graham, who is in a wheelchair, Columbia, Missouri, Sept. 12, 2008
7. "They're in charge of the U.S. Senate so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom." —Sarah Palin, getting the vice president's constitutional role wrong after being asked by a third grader what the vice president does, interview with NBC affiliate KUSA in Colorado, Oct. 21, 2008
6. "When I was in college, we used to take a popcorn popper, because that was the only thing they would let us use in the dorm, and we would fry squirrels in a popcorn popper in the dorm room." —Mick Huckabee, interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Jan. 16, 2008
5. "I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office." —President George W. Bush, in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008
4. "So what?" –President Bush, responding to a an ABC News correspondent who pointed out that Al Qaeda wasn't a threat in Iraq until after the U.S. invaded, Dec. 14, 2008
3. “Our economy, I think, is still — the fundamentals of our economy are strong.” —John McCain, Jacksonville, Fla., Sept. 15, 2008
2. "I've now been in 57 states — I think one left to go." —Barack Obama, at a campaign event in Beaverton, Oregon, May 9, 2008
1. "All of 'em, any of 'em that have been in front of me over all these years." ―Palin, unable to name a single newspaper or magazine she reads, interview with Katie Couric, CBS News, Sept. 30, 2008

Top Scandals:
5. Sarah Palin's $150,000 wardrobe. Who's folksy now, huh??
4. Ted Stevens' felony convictions. My mum was just overjoyed when he was found guilty of "accepting and concealing tens of thousands of dollars in free home renovations and other gifts from an oil field services company."
3. Lip-synching during the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. Because the actual singer was not adorable enough to show her face.
2. John Edwards' extramarital affair. And while his wife was in remission from breast cancer, too! That's just a slap in the face.
1. Eliot Spitzer's involvement with a $1000-an-hour call girl and a high-priced prostitution ring.

Best Reflexes:
President Bush, who dodged the shoe thrown at him by an Iraqi journalist with amazing dexterity.

Best Political Impersonation:
Without a doubt, the winner is Tina Fey's impersonation of Sarah Palin. But you probably knew that already.

News Stories of the Year:
10. The Chinese earthquake in Sichuan Province in May. Thousands of children were killed because of inadequate building precautions for their classrooms. It's sad commentary of China's situation, that they are developing so fast in some areas but can't build safe buildings in others.
9. Russia-Georgia War in August. Violence is depressing.
8. Hillary Clinton. Even though she didn't win, she came closer than any other American woman to becoming the presidential nominee of a major political party, and inspired millions of women across the country.
7. Sarah Palin. Maybe I'm biased, but I think she's a brainless idiot. The folksy hockey mom from Alaska took the country by storm and gave comedians everywhere a lot to talk about.
6. The Olympics. Despite initial conflict between protesters and torch-bearers over China's human-rights policy, I think the Olympics was a success. Michael Phelps kicked ass, too.
5. The November terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. Ten coordinated attacks killed at least 173 people and injured over 300. I hate when people kill each other. I really do.
4. The Chinese melamine scandal. Melamine, when added to food, increases the protein count, which allows manufacturers to water down milk without being detected. Hundreds of babies were hospitalized, and some died. Is the profit really worth it? It's sickening.
3. The passage of Prop 8, a California ballot proposition that changed the state constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman and eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry. Although I am straight, I live in San Francisco and am aware of the horrible unfairness of this law. It PISSES ME OFF that this could have passed.
2. Our economic recession. Due to the loose monetary policies and low interest rate of the Federal Reserve, we are in a financial crisis. I'm pretty scared, and it doesn't help that I don't really understand how an economy works.
1. Barack Obama. The first African-American to be elected President of the United States, a fresh democrat for the Oval Office, a great public speaker, and a national icon. I was so proud when Obama won the election; I felt like America had a chance to recreate itself and move forward. Maybe the rest of the world will stop hating us.

Hottest Body of the Year:
Michael Phelps. Seriously. Just look at his abs.

Event That Most Makes Me Want To Move To Canada:
The fatal trampling of a Wal-Mart employee by crazed Black Friday shoppers. If that's not the most disgusting for of consumerism, I don't know what is.

My Favorite New Cookbook:
Vegan with a Vengeance, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Vegan cooking with punk-rock feel.

Zoe in 2008:
10. I started junior year, with four AP classes and a whole lotta homework. But it's going pretty well.
9. I smoked my first cigarette and did not see the attraction.
8. I was in The Crucible, the school play.
7. I had my second boyfriend. I also got dumped for the first time.
6. I went to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at the Warfield, which is to date the best concert I have ever attended. I fell in love with Mr. Cave and am currently obsessed with his music.
5. I got a hookah for my birthday. My sweet sixteenth birthday.
4. I lost weight.
3. I befriended a squadron of birds in my back yard.
2. I started seeing a new therapist.
1. I went vegan! And I feel great.


HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mud Baths and Attila (the Honey)

Today I got back from a one-night trip to Calistoga with my parents. The purpose of our journey was to visit the fabulous Dr. Wilkinson's spa. Calistoga is known for its mineral water and geysers, hence the bottled water company called Calistoga, so it is filled with spas that advertise hot mineral baths. My mum and I went for the full package: a mud bath, facial, mineral water bath, steam room, blanket wrap, and massage.

It was my first time getting a spa treatment, and my mum warned me that the mud bath was not for everybody. It was indeed a weird sensation to lower myself into the tub of hot muck. (The "mud" is not actually wet dirt - it's like wet peat or mulch, which is much earthier than regular mud.) But after the initial discomfort of sitting in a squelchy (and funny-smelling) substance, I started to enjoy it. The attendant gave me a facial, and she even put those little slices of cucumber over my eyes! I've always wanted to do that. Unfortunately, halfway through my bath, my nose started to itch. The mud was so thick that I couldn't extract my arm to scratch it.

After I rinsed off, I took a bubbling mineral bath of naturally heated spring water and lavender oils. Oh man, did that feel good. Then, I moved on to the steam room. This, too, was heated naturally by hot water. You sit in this tiny room with air so heavy with moisture you can barely breath. The attendants give you ice water so that you don't dehydrate from sweating so much. There are these little windows in case you overheat and need emergency fresh air. I sweated so much, my nose and chin were dripping, and my pores were in ecstacy.

I dried off and lay down on one of the beds. A woman came in and wrapped me up in a big blanket. It was very snug and cozy, so I took a nap. I was awakened by another woman who said she was my masseuse. Is that how you spell it? I'm not sure. Anyway, I told her that my feet were off-limits due to their level of ticklishness. It was a lovely massage. I carry a lot of tension in my back, neck, and shoulders, so it was nice to release some of that.

About Attila, since you're probably reading this wondering, Who's Attila the Honey??? and try to figure out what that has to do with spas. Well, it has nothing to do with spas. When my neighbor died, her house went on the market. Because of the economy and an outrageously high asking price, it stayed for sale for a while. But in the last month, a couple moved in from Orange County. Their adult daughter started renting out the downstairs unit. She owns a cat, a beautiful black cat with white paws. Attila enjoys coming into our yard to chase birds. She tries to sneak into our house when we're not looking, and has succeeded twice. She is an attention-whore and loves to have her tummy rubbed while she grumbles and purrs and closes her eyes. She is such a sweetie. I always wanted a cat, but my mum doesn't want one. This is the closest I've ever come to owning a furry animal. My dad and I were debating how she got her name. Did she stalk birds with the same power as the great Hun? No, I told him, her full name is probably Attila the Honey, or Attila the Hon for short.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Perfect Presents and Gag-worthy Gifts

It doesn't seem right to say that Christmas is all about the presents, but it sort of is. Because I don't celebrate in the religious sense, I pretty much only look forward to getting cool stuff. This year, I raked in a handsome pile of awesomeness, with a handful of duds here and there.

Totally Sweet Gifts:
-gift card to Amoeba Music, one of the greatest stores on earth
-a one-year subscription to MAD Magazine
-two Beatles CDs (Hard Day's Night and The White Album), so I have almost completed my Beatles collection (I think I just need Meet The Beatles)
-Forbidden Knowledge, a book of "101 things not everyone should know how to do", including stage a coup, count cards, walk on hot coals, perform an exorcism, make moonshine, start a riot, become a porn star, and more...
-fuzzy plaid flanel PJ bottoms (toasty and cozy!!!)
- giant book of New York Times Sunday crosswords
-DVD of Pixar Studios' short films
-socks (I know these are usually considered very lame gifts, but I love socks. Especially if they are colorful, striped, fuzzy, have bunnies on them, or all of the above)
-cold hard cash, dough, moolah, cha-ching, money

"What were they thinking?!" Gifts:
-a mobile (sure, it's pretty, but come on... a mobile?)
-a nightlight (again, very cute, but not really a good gift for me)
-a rather tacky bracelet (I'll probably wear it anyway... hopefully it doesn't break as soon as I put it on)
-variety pack of pistachioes, peanut brittle, and dried apricots

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Lay Down Your Weary Tune

As I procrastinate, watching the clock tick closer to present-opening time, I will amuse myself with this activity. It's simple. Put iPod on shuffle. Use song names to answer.

Oh, and I stole this from thumbsUpsmile's kickass blog.

The next time you stand up in front of a group of people, you'll say:
I Wish It Would Rain (The Temptations)
[Yup, that's me. Life of the party.]

Your favorite thing to say when drunk is:
Paranoid (Black Sabbath)
[Hah! Paranoid that the cops will come and bust me for underage drinking.]

Your message to the world:
Drive My Car (The Beatles)
[You heard me, drive that car! Now! At least, until I get my license.]

Your deepest secret:
Gran's For Tea (The View)
[I obviously kill old grandmothers and make them into tea. DELICIOUS tea.]

Your innermost desire:
300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues (The White Stripes)
[Geez, I seem to have a thing for rain, don't I?]

Somewhere in your wedding vows, you'll include:
Your Sweet Six Six Six (H.I.M.)
[Well isn't that nice... I'll always be your dear, sweet, maniacle 666]

On your deathbed, you'll whisper:
Muirshin Durkin (The Pogues)
[Some Irish-sounding mumbo jumbo that I will mumble in senility, causing everyone surrounding my deathbed to scratch their heads and look at each other questioningly.]

Your friends say behind your back:
Paulina (No Doubt)
[No doubt they've mistaken me for some slut named Paulina. Some friends they are.]

You say behind your friends' backs:
Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds)
[This makes no sense at all. Since when were my friends reanimated corpses brought back to life by Jesus? And where are they digging to? China?]

When you wake up in the morning, you mutter:
Textbook (We Are Scientists)
[Either I've been having nightmares involving homework, or I've just figured out why my mattress is so goddam lumpy.]

If you found yourself lost on a desert island, you'd yell:
This Scene Is Dead (We Are Scientists)
[I guess that makes sense. If I'm the only person on the island, I think that scene could be classified as dead. Wow, two We Are Scientists songs in a row. That rarely happens, with all my music.]

Right now, your feelings are:
Son Of A Gun (Nirvana)
[... I don't get it.]

What's your excuse for posting this:
Before I Forget (Slipknot)
[I gotta post it. In case it slips my mind tomorrow.]

Your life's soundtrack:
Untitled (Bauhaus)
[Oooooohh... lady of mystery.]

The day you fall in love will be the day that:
Rip Her To Shreds (Blondie)
[Oh dear! Well, at least I'll know when I fall in love, because pieces of flesh will start detaching themselves from my body. I'll be on the lookout.]

You scream during sex:
I Feel Better All Over (Johnny Cash)
[Oh, this is too perfect. No explanation required.]

What do people assume when they first look at you?
Doginabag (The Fratellis)
[Hmph. A dog in a bag, eh? I guess that could be interpreted as a bag full of bitchiness. Or the carcass of a dog in a sack. I was not aware that I gave off such bad vibes. Or bad smells.]

What will be a big challenge in life for you?
Saturday Night (Kaiser Chiefs)
[Shit! Do you know how many of those I'm going to have to endure for the rest of my life?? Unless I luck out and the challenge ends up being something along the lines of "getting the party started on Saturday night". Because you all know my middle name is partystarter.]

Are you a good boyfriend/girlfriend?
Soul Meets Body (Death Cab For Cutie)
[... I'll take that as a yes.]

Do you have a secret admirer?
California (Copeland)
[Yes. The entire population of California secretly admires me. I knew it!]

Will you ever become maniacally depressed in your life?
Smile Like You Mean It (The Killers)
[I think that's a yes, because my therapist will have to keep telling me to smile like I mean it.]

How will you die?
With A Little Help From My Friends (The Beatles)
[What?!?! I'm so not hanging out with them anymore.]

Is someone trying to kill you?
The Surrey With The Fringe On Top (Oklahoma!)
[They're out there in the darkness... waiting... seated in that little surrey with the fringe on top. They're going to run me over the next chance they get.]

What's for dinner tonight?
Nymphetamine Fix (Cradle of Filth)
[Yummy, my favorite!!]

Your farewell message to the readers of this:
Know Your Rights (The Clash)
[How fitting. And true. Know your rights, as there will be a quiz next week.]

Friday, December 19, 2008

"Old age is a shipwreck" - Charles de Gaulle




I am currently sixteen years old, a teenager in full bloom, at the height of my youth. I am both wise and invincible, at least in my mind. My mind and body are strong. My face is unwrinkled, my wit is sharp, and my joints don't hurt. Death, though imminent, seems a long way off.





By the way, that's not me. That model is waaaaaaaaaay prettier than me. The picture just demonstrates my vision of rebellious, young, fresh, and immortal.



But old age, quite possibly one of my greatest fears in life, is lying in wait. The idea of being bedridden, in pain, senile, and alone absolutely terrifies me. The knowledge that someday, my body will fail and frustrate me makes me pretty depressed. I don't want to go senile, but to be aware of my crumbling body seems even worse. Imagine the anger and frustration at one's body for not allowing one to walk, talk, and function. Think of the weariness, the monotony, the chore of staying alive.

I know I have a long way to go until I am elderly, but I fear it nonetheless. I want to remain youthful and invincible. To quote The Who (in the song My Generation), "I hope I die before I get old."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

His Dark Materials

If you have never read Philip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy, you are seriously missing out. Yesterday I picked up my battered copy of The Golden Compass, which had been hiding on my shelf for a few years with The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. Holy shit, I had forgotten how much I loved these books. They are part science fiction, part fantasy, part philosophy, part mystery, and 110% wickedly awesome.

The series follows Lyra Belacqua, and later her companion Will Parry, through magical worlds united by Dust - extraordinary particles with profound properties and the ability to connect whole universes. Imagine an adventure involving armored talking bears, gyptians, witches, prophecies, angels, soul-eating Specters, dragonfly riders, war, and love.

Powerful, enchanting, well-written, gripping, beautiful, you name it. These books are dynamite. So get your ass off the computer and go read them. You won't regret it. If, for some reason, you do regret it, you ought to go play in traffic.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Super-Fun-Adventure Day

The other day my friend Emma and I decided to go on an adventure. I suppose we were both feeling rather daring and in the mood for some good old-fashioned swash-buckling shenanigans. We went to the north end of Ocean Beach, where the crumbling ruins of the old Sutro Baths lay baking in the sun. There is a tunnel in the cliff, and many tourists go through it to see the sea-sprayed rocks on the other side. We walked barefoot through the tunnel, then stepped over the "For Your Own Safety, Do Not Go Past This Point" sign. It was so satisfying to scramble over the boulders like wild children while the tourists in in high-heeled shoes watched us with envy. Within minutes, they were out of sight. We climbed and leapt on the rocks into the late afternoon. Then we stopped to rest on a cliff the jutted out over the Pacific Ocean. When I peeked precariously over the edge, I saw a rock below completely encrusted with mussels. The low tide had exposed them to the air, where they waited patiently for the water's return. We almost made it to China Beach, a small and secluded cove, but it was getting late so we turned around and climbed back to the tunnel. Back on the beach, we watched the sun dip down toward the horizon, bathing the world in its magnificent pink light. I hadn't watched a sunset in forever. It was supremely beautiful; I should try to watch them more often.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Names

I was bored, so I was browsing online name generators...

Glitter and Glam Rock Name: Kitty Rouge

Rap Name: Sista Valentine

Pokename: Vaporfu
Apparently I also live in the snowy mountains of Kamchatka, and my diet consists mostly of daisies, rocks, and beer. I have a covered wicker basket; I can throw hot death; I have propellors; I can walk on air; I have a sequined jumpsuit. I can puke bricks, too.

Pirate Name: Dagger Sharp Tooth

Villain Name: Flarelove the Evil

Western Name: Dancing Hanson

Mob Name: The Harpoon

Red-hot Lover Name: Lickable Warm-Ankles

Horse Name: Dashin' Gumball

Superhero Name: X-prowler

Ninja Name: Gisaku Sawamura-san

Vampire Name: Angelica Darkblade

Hippie Name: Oceana Holder

Goth Name: Devil's Plaything

Anagram of my Full Name: I'm zoneless, new rogue gem