Thursday, October 04, 2007

Free Burma

Free Burma!

Allow me to get political for a moment, if you will.

As a Buddhist (though admittedly, not a very good one), the latest news from Burma has affected me deeply. The military rule and the treatment of Burmese people is bad enough, but hearing news that monks have been beaten and killed for peaceful protests just infuriates and saddens me.

There will be a peaceful protest of the Burmese government's rule and the world's lack of supportive action to the Burmese people this Saturday in Los Angeles (for those in other counties, states or countries who want to protest, please see this link for details on your area). The protesters will meet outside the Kojak Theater in Hollywood at 4pm and the protest will continue until 7pm; there will be no marching due to city restrictions. There are more details here.

If you can, PLEASE be there. Protesters should try to wear something red, and bring signs and candles or be prepared to chant slogans. Even if all you can bring is yourself, please do so if you can.

Why are we protesting? By now, almost everyone is aware of what has been happening in Burma over the last week, but if not, here are some articles from the BBC recapping the situation:

Q&A: Protests in Burma

Burmese media cut off

Who are Burma's monks?

Aung San Suu Kyi


Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I bought this beautiful shirt from Threadless the other day (click the image for a bigger version). I love the message behind it, that all people can get along and have fun if they put aside their differences. It makes me happy and squishy inside and I knew I had to have it.

So I wore it to work and proudly showed it off. One co-worker frowned and pointed:

Co-worker: "Who's that?"
Me: "Uh ... that's a Muslim Imam*."
Co-worker: "Oh ... I thought maybe it was Saddam Hussein or someone because he was wearing a turban."

WHAT. I was actually so stunned I had no idea what to say, I think I ended up laughing nervously and walking away. It deeply saddens me that "turban = terrorist" to so many people now. Growing up in London, I saw people wearing turbans every day and it never registered as unusual. But recounting this story to Americans here, they've nodded sadly and admitted that to many, turbans now mean a person cannot be trusted.

I wish I could pass it off as one ignorant person, but the truth is that it is a consistent issue with humanity. We love to segregate people and fit them into nice little niches. After all, it's much easier to simply dismiss someone outright for the color of their skin or for their religious beliefs than to get to know them and judge them fairly.

An ex-co-worker and I decided to have coffee and catch a movie after work one day. He admitted that I confused and frustrated him, because he couldn't fit me into a niche. I have long, black hair and facial piercings, which made him think I was a goth. But I am Buddhist, I generally listen to Japanese pop music and I knit on my breaks at work, I love to cook and take care of my pets and I am bi in a same-sex relationship. He had no idea how to segregate me, and when I suggested that he just accept me for who I am, he looked totally lost.

Some people need to learn to form impressions with their heart first, and eyes second.


* After a bit of research on Wikipedia, I have discovered I may have been wrong to call him an Imam. In fact, I'm not sure exactly what would be the correct term, or whether it can even be determined from the picture. A Mullah? Muezzin? Any Muslims reading this that could clarify for me?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Pizza pizza

It's been a while, huh? I've been a little distracted with a new job.

Speaking of which, yesterday we had pizza for lunch, from Dagwoods. We were peering into the boxes to figure out what everything was, and the following exchange occurred:

Co-worker: What's that?
Me: Margarita.
Co-worker: What?
Me: Marga ... wait, is this a British thing? It's cheese and tomato sauce.
Co-worker: *laughs* Yeah, it's a British thing.

So yeah, a basic pizza is just a cheese pizza here. Filed that one away for future reference!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Z Day

So as you probably know, everywhere's pretty much overrun with zombies right now. I went out to get the mail yesterday and some huge bastard lurched around the corner and lunged at me, throwing me back against the mail boxes. He groaned "braaaaaaaaaaaaains" and then got a funny look on his face and sniffed my head.

He then pushed me away and grunted, "mad cow!" and headed off in the opposite direction. Bloody cheek.

So currently the only ones that are safe from the zombies are the Brit expats right now, so I think we're gonna go down the King's Head later and have a pint while the world ends so we can have a good moan about it. I wonder if they have any Queen on the jukebox?

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Red Coats are ... here?

Last night I had to do some shopping at Trader Joe's and was oohing and aahing over their cheese section; it's one of the best places to get good cheddar here. The Scottish guy next to me struck up a conversation about which ones are good, and I mentioned that it was so hard to get good cheese here, being that I moved here from England and I'm used to the choice back there.

The look he gave me was a mixture of amusement and absolute disbelief. He just said "uh huh" and made his excuses before leaving. It was clear that he absolutely did not believe I had even set foot in the British Isles, let alone grew up there. Of course, a lot of people here love to boast of their 1/8th Irish blood, or their 7/13th Scottish blood, or how their ancestors sailed over on the Mayflower.

I think I passed the test! My Nan is in Florida right now on vacation, and she was telling me how frustrating it is when people fawn over her accent all the time she's there. It's for that exact reason that I generally speak with a Californian accent until I'm talking with my family. It's not perfect, and if someone knows I'm English they'll pick up on the nuances and turns of phrase that give me away, but to most people I meet on the street, they don't notice a difference.

And that's just how I like it.