Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My Sis Got Sprung From The Klink

So the embassy came through, sis got some temporary papers, and Lithuania decided that she wasn't a threat to national security. Which is good, becuase I was having terrible visions of having to go to Lithuania to bail sis out.

And because my sis is lucky like a rock star, the art show was a huge success. It was a big story in all the papers and all the artists were to be interviewed on TV. One boy in new york who couldnt make it was even going to be interviewed by satellite.

I guess all's well that ends well.

Monday, January 29, 2007

A Bad Day For The Laaw-yuhr Family

So my sister is an airport holding cell.

In Lithuania.

And I thought my day was bad. Leave to my sister to top it.

So why Lithuania? Well, my sister is an artist and is now getting a degree in shoe design in London. A friend of hers from art grad school organized an art show in Lithuania and invited my sister to submit work and attend. Sis was traveling with another former student to the show.

So what happened? Apparently, after she boarded the plane in London her passport was stolen. She had to present her boarding pass and passport right before entering the plane. It is unlikely she dropped it while getting on the plane. Therefore, the most likely conclusion is that it was stolen shortly after presenting it for boarding. The airline searched the plane thoroughly to make sure it hadn't been left on the plane. To add to the joy, sis had also had her visa and her return airplane ticket in her passport.

Sis was seized when she tried to go through customs in Lithuania and is presently locked in some sort of cell for the night. They let her have her cell phone so I was at least able to call her. She was ok, but it was freezing cold, and there was only a couch to sleep on. "You know that crappy movie The Terminal? Well my life is sorta like that," she said. I asked her if she had any food. "I've got a candybar in my luggage."

I thought this was a good time to make fun of her. Because only my sister could manage to cause an international incident. I suggest that now might be a good time to "journal" and "channel her feelings." "Great idea," she said, "except that there's no light."

Tomorrow she is most likely going to be sent back to England. If the embassy in Lithuania or England doesn't come up with some temporary papers, she will probably be sent back to America - and on her own dime. I can assure you that if our embassies don't get it together I am personally going to raise hell.

And honestly, who the fuck tries to sneak into Lithuania?!

Nasal Stories: This Is Completelty Disgusting, I Warn You In Advance

I'm serious - If you read further, you do so at your own risk. I don't want to hear a single complaint, not one word, saying how gross this is. You don't have to read it. But seriously, KN called me the other day to discuss snot b/c her husband is sick, so I'm providing this as both entertainment and public service. Proceed at your own risk.

So if you're a regular reader, you're well aware that I seem to have a never ending sinus infection. I have tried many a home remedy, plus antibiotics to no avail. I finally got referred to an Ear Nose Throat doctor and had my appointment today. Oh the horror, the horror.

He begins by sitting me down, and pearing up my nose while wearing this crazy headgear with all these flip-up lenses on it. On the table nearby are various liquids with sprayers attached. He starts shooting these things up my nose. They mostly burn, and as they pass through the sinuses to the throat, they have the added fun of tasting like ass.

The doctor determins that my right nostril is good, it's the left side of my nose that has all the problems. Then he sticks a little silver rod up my left nostril, which is apparently a vaccuum and begins sucking mucus out of nose. The sound is awful - it's like a special effect from an Aliens movie. And if you think it's disgusting to hear about, try being the person who's having this done to you.

Then my nose starts throbbing. The doctor stops with the suction and flips down a lense and looks up my nose and the sends in some reinforcements via tweezers. Sweet jesus, I won't describe the results the tweezers produced, but suffice to say tears were pouring down my face it hurt so much -and let me assure you I have a MUY high pain tolerance. For example, I tore the ligaments in my hand and didn't go to a doctor for 10 days because I thought I'd just jammed my thumb.

El Doctor then informs me that I have nasal polyps.

Blocked nose? Food seem less tasty? Thick, discolored nasal drainage? You might be suffering from nasal polyps - a treatable nasal problem!

Yes, but what are nasal polyps, Socrates?

Well, Timmy,
nasal polyps occur in around 1 in 200 people. Polyps are soft, jelly-like overgrowths of the lining of the sinuses. They look like grapes on the end of a stalk. The result is often a blocked nose and they can block the tunnels connecting the nose to the sinus cavities. Like water in a stagnant pond, they can increase the risk of sinus infection, but are rarely cancerous.

What causes this nasal horror?

The cause is unknown, but inflammation in the sinuses (from allergy or infection) may trigger polyps and make them grow faster, and make them come back faster after sinus operations. Sometimes other conditions may occur with greater frequency in people with nasal polyps. These include sinus infections, asthma and allergy to aspirin.

So, to sum up -- they're not really sure what causes them, or doesn't cause them. They may be caused by sinus infections, or sinus infections may cause them. It is definitely a chicken in the egg scenario. The treatment includes steroids and antibiotics, and possibly surgery. I got a shot of cortizone in my ass, so I'm feeling pretty fantastic right now.

I am now officially an old lady. I shall proceed directly past my youth and begin the goiter and bunyon conversations immediately.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Worst Tattoo I've Ever Seen (In Person)

First of all, let me say that I am not a hater. No, for real. I find some tattoos to bequite pretty, like the one in the ManRay photo at left.

There was also a girl who used to work at the museum across the street from my museum who had
the most amazing cyprus tree tattooed across her back and sholders. It was entirely in black and white, but it was really amazing. I've always wanted to make a wood print inspired by it.

But sadly, most tattoos are not of the aforementioned vareity. The vast majority seem designed to tip off the general public that the wearer is a complete and utter moron. Especially if you have the design at left for instance. It's the permanent equivalent of an airbrushed t-shirt.

For a full sampling I recommend this site (be sure to visit all the pages). The Dragon (at the end of part 2) is the most disturbing by far I think.

It's even worse if you're like my classy friend here who decides to get said lame tattoo directly over the crack of her ass. You know, to compliment one's thong selection. My favorite part of this picture is how you can see the thong tag sticking out under the tat.

Notin' says class like tats on your ass.

While the dolphin tattoos I've described previously are incredibly lame, they don't say, rise to the level of incredibly bad. I had never seen such a tatoo in person until last evening when I saw a conservatively dressed woman - jeans, black sweater, black heels - who had an enormous face tatooed on the top of her foot.

Nothing about it was as attractive as the tattoos at left. Indeed, it looked like she'd gone to a novice since the face was totally mishapen and more or less monochromatic.

As we ate our ice cream in celebration of EZ's birthday, her malformed footface continued to stare at me and I found I could not look away. I told my friends about the tatoo and they attempted to discretely look at it. EZ however had gone to the bathroom and when he returned, his back was to the footface-tattoo.

To remedy this situtation, Big N said to EZ when he sat back down "Look at me and listen to Tiny." Tiny then described footface-tat to EZ. I'm not quite sure what purpose this served, but I'm sure it was to add to the subterfuge. Then in a carefully orchestrated maneuver
, Big N "dropped" a napkin which EZ picked up allowing him to see the tattoo.

This operation was clearly worthy of a spy movie. Especially since Big N and EZ are not what one would generally call "subtle". In fact, I have often commented that EZ were he ever to join the CIA would be most effective as a "leak".

I'm not sure why we didn't all just outright stare. Afterall, if you have a crazy face tattooed on your foot, you have to be inviting the stares.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

AISL Has its 1,000th Visitor

I can hardly believe that AISL has gotten 1,000 hits since I installed the counter in November. Especially since I know that 300 hits are by me alone (usually when I'm uploading to make sure I've got the pictures up and what not).

Why did it take me so long to install a counter? Well, I'm a little slow at all this blog stuff. When my friends and I first created this (the idea being that it would be a group project to tell our friends about lawschool) we kept the privacy settings on so that only people we invited could view the blog. We were all paranoid, sure that we would be found out for the things we wrote about our school and classmates. And like dot-comers who thought they'd be rich over night, it took us a while to figure out that nobody cared.

And then when I realized nobody cared, and none of my friends cared enough to write on the blog, and then there was the hurricane to break the camel's back-- well I just took the site over entirely and took the privacy settings off.

And since I just watched the Golden Globes: I'd like to thank my sister, my 15 close friends who read, GM, and the five people I don't know who read this blog. We've come a long way baby!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Dangerous Writers of the Heart

An Open Letter to Hollywood:

I'm not a critic, but I'd like to take a moment to air a concern that I have. Please, please, stop making this movie.

The movie I'm talking about in particular is Freedom Writers, starring horsey faced Hillary Swank. Haven't seen the preview? Unsure what it's about? Well's here's the short version courtesy of The Onion AV Club:

"Swank stars as an idealist who takes a job at a tough inner-city school where apathy and cynicism reign, and withering contempt for humanity is a widespread occupational hazard. Swank's Pollyanna pluck initially just earns her insolent glares from burnt-out teachers and students alike, but her persistence eventually wins her the loyalty and affection of shell-shocked pupils unaccustomed to teachers driven by an almost messianic sense of purpose."

Isn't the title cute and punny?! See it's a play on the Freedom Riders of the 1960's who were protesting segregation, and here they're freedom "writers" because you see this teacher has her students do an activity known as "journaling" where they write about their experiences ...oh fuck, do you even care anymore? What this accurately translates to, or the movie writ large, is what one reviewer called “them movies where the cute little white lady goes in and makes everybody love learnin' just because she cares so much.”

Sound familiar yet? No? Remember Dangerous Minds with Michelle Pfeiffer? The movie should be most memorable for ruining Coolio's career when his song Ganger's Paradise was used as the film's theme song. There was also the phenomenally bad music video where Michele Pfeiffer sat in a chair backwards (to show what a rebel she is!) while sort of glaring into the distance. Clearly, sometimes she's glaring at Coolio, but I'm not sure what she's looking at the rest of the time since the video appears to be shot in somebody's basement, but hey, Coolio's there blowing smoke rings so it's cool. I most enjoy the part where M.P. knocks over the chair in some sort of fit of white rage. Acting!

But in case you can't quite remember the plot of Dangerous Minds, Roger Ebert described it as a movie that "
tells another one of those uplifting parables in which the dedicated teacher takes on a schoolroom full of rebellious malcontents, and wins them over with an unorthodox approach. Movies like this are inevitably 'based on a real story.'

How right you are Ebert! Remember Music of the Heart starring Meryl Streep? Again, Ebert sums it up as a film "based on the true story of a violin teacher named Roberta Guaspari, who created a high school music program more or less out of thin air in East Harlem, and eventually found herself and her students on the stage of Carnegie Hall." And as Music of the Heart teaches us, these movies don't just have to be about Reading, Writing, and 'Rithmatic teachers -- they can be about those who teach the arts as well. Just check out Take the Lead starring Antonio Banderas.

Of all of these films I find Take the Lead the least eggregious in equal parts because a) it has Antonio Banderas b) there's lots of dancin' and c) there's no scene where the protagonist, through interaction with his/her students, has the shocking realization of the poverty, degredation, and racism her students have been subjected to that has caused them to have thick, but not impenetrable exteriors!

What I find most troubling about all these films is that I think they ultimately trivialize the full extent of the problems of public schools. As though, my god, all these ghetto schools need is a few dedicated white teachers to put in the time! While the real teachers who inspire these films have made an amazing difference and should be recognized, there's just so much more to the equation that these films by their very nature merely touch on. Like poverty, degredation, and racism.

Half Nelson, a film with the same theme but not based on a real story, is a far far better film than any of those I've just listed.
Maybe because it focuses on the relationship between an exceptional but troubled teacher and one troubled student. Maybe because we get to see exactly the pressures and temptations that the characters face, rather than classroom scenes where a white teacher standing at the head of a sea of brown faces "reaches" her students by comparing rap to poetry, or having her students "journal" or other total bullshit. Maybe it's a better film because the teacher clearly doesn't have all the answers, and because he doesn't have go outside of his box to "reach" his students -- he just does.

In the Republic, Plato wrote that a painting of a vase is a lesser creation than an actual vase because the painting is a mere illusion. In other words, a work of art is a copy of a Form. I have always felt that Plato was wholly wrong, and nothing could illustrate my feeling more than this group of films. While Freedom Writers et al. may be "true" stories and therefore more like Plato's vase, they fail precisely because they cannot get at the truth in the way a fictional story like Half Nelson can.

So Hollywood, por favor, make more movies like Half Nelson, and far fewer like Freedom Writers.

Thank you.


Full disclosure: I've seen every film mentioned except for Freedom Writers. Clearly, I have zero plans to see it.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Persian Mojo

Good God almighty. Make the burning stop.

So Big N passed along her Persian remedy for the sinus infection -which is to take warm (bordering on hot) salty water and pour it up your nose. Sound fun? Oh, it is, I assure you.

Since I don't have a Persian mother to throw me in a headlock and dribble the stuff up my nose, I invested in a dropper for a seamless application. I boiled some water in the kettle, disolved a crap load of salt in a mug, and waited for the water to approach bearable temperature. Then the fun begins.

After the firsts few drops I felt nothing, but then after a few minutes I felt like my nose hairs were being singed off. Oh sweet sweet burning. Feeling the water bubble under my eye socket is the most surreal feeling. I'm not yet cured, but this remedy did produce..ahem, results.

Persians: 1 - Puerto Ricans: 0. This round goes to the Persians.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Screw You Grant Miller For Tagging Me: Five Things You'd Rather Not Know About Me

1) I *love* Journey. Seriously. I just bought Journey's greatest hits yesterday at Best Buy. There's nothin like rocking out to Separate Ways as you're driving in your car. Which brings me to the next item.

2.) I'm a soon to be environmental lawyer who drives an SUV. In all fairness, the SUV isn't mine - it's my sister's. My own car is a plastic Saturn, but I'm driving sis' jeep (thanks sis) because the roads are seriously f*ed up in NOLA and driving my good ol' plastic car down here was tearing it up. Plus sis is in England so she doesn't need the jeep anyway. Jesus, that one was boring.

3.) I am obsessed with Dance Dance Revoltion and think it is the wave of the future. All battles, disputes, quibbles, and disagreements should be settled via DDR dance offs. Did you steal my lotion? DDR will decide if there has been a theft. Are you sitting on my half of the couch? DDR can mediate. Has your army unjustly crossed into my territory in a pre-emptive war based on suspicion of weapons of mass destruction? Again, DDR will be the arbitor of Truth and Justice. My obsession is especially poignant since I am so wretched at the game. The first time I played, I had a negative score because I didn't realize that I had to wait until the arrows line up to make the move - the second the direction would scroll up I would step on the pad thing, which though amusing to onlookers, is not an effective winning strategy.

4.) According to my sister, my feet smell terrible. If this is true, I apologize. This reminded me of a recent Savage Love where a girl broke up with her boyfriend - who massaged her feet once she was home from work - once she discovered he had a foot fetish and that's why he would give her the massages. If I were in this situation, I suppose said boyfriend would also need to have a stink fetish. And for the record, I would be totally fine with foot massages under any pretense.

5.) I've called the blockage in the left side of my nose my "nasal" or "nose fetus" much to everyone's horror. I've been hoping to "deliver" said "nose fetus" so that I can breath out of that nostril again. I sometimes provide updates on the "delivery" status.

If you've read this far, then you're tagged.

Puerto Rican Mojo

So I have had a hellified sinus infection over X-mas break, so much so that I am on my third round of antibiotics. Good times. In fact one whole half of my head seems to be a solid block of goop, which has lead to the offer of many a home remedy from well meaning friends.

KN, like an elder of a tribe, has passed along the remedy of her Puerto Rican brother in law:

"Take whatever kind of peppers you've got and boil them in some water. Then take the pot off the stove and inhale the steam."

OK, sure, why not? So after dinner one evening, I went to the Laaw-yuhr family refridgerator which provided: jalapeno's, sritracha hot sauce (known fondly as "Red Cock Sauce" because of the Rooster emblem on the bottle pictured above) and Tabasco sauce. From the spice cabinet I selected red pepper, cajun seasoning, and fresh ground pepper to add to the mix.

Then I boiled the whole mess, and started inhaling away. And not a damn thing happened. My nostrils didn't budge; my eyes didn't tear. However, this Puerto Rican mojo produced a noxious cloud that flowed into the dinning room causing my family to cough and gag and curse me though their watery eyes couldn't see me.

I was going to save the stuff for another "treatment" later but my father made me throw it out convinced the mojo was going to eat through his good cookware.

I will next be trying a Persian remedy of hot salty water up the nose. Check back for a full report on this effectiveness of this method.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Quote of the Week

The Scene: a group of friends (3) in their late twenties/early thirties run into a couple that they know while shopping at the mall.

Woman in Couple: Oh hey, what are you guys doing here?

Lady in Group of Friends: Oh...we're just walking around judging people.