Deliberately random thoughts: December 2003

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS GOING TO BE A SERIOUS AND LONG RANT…DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU’RE ALREADY HAVING AN ENRAGING DAY…

a few days ago, a friend of mine forwarded an email to me from a woman who was outraged about an article reporting that the university of chicago was discussing w/ their GLBT community the possibility of putting in gender neutral bathrooms in several campus buildings…in her words “HERE COMES ANOTHER TUITION INCREASE FOR US PARENTS! CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS IS EVEN OPEN FOR DISCUSSION? WE ARE BORN MALE OR FEMALE……THE CLOTHES WE WEAR DO NOT DETERMINE OUR SEX……WHAT WE ARE BORN WITH SHOULD DETERMINE WHAT BATHROOM WE USE……END OF DISCUSSION! SIMPLE!”

i probably should’ve sat on my fingers, but instead the naive silly girl that i am, i responded…you see, i’m just sick and tired of people assuming that all christians follow the same party line, and i’m saddened that so many christians do sit back and remain silent and allow themselves to be bullied by the opinions of some overbearing allbeit passionate individuals…so i spoke up…sue me…anyways, in my response, i expressed my concern at what seemed to me a lack of compassion, let alone the facts (not everyone is born simply MALE or FEMALE; some are born anatomically both MALE AND FEMALE)…she responded to me saying that she didn’t think that the majority of taxpayers should have to pay more in taxes to help out such a small minority of the population but she thanked me for my comments because she enjoyed delving into the topic of “abnormal thought processes”…

two things bothered me (ok, more than 2 things, but for the sake of brevity, i’ll only mention 2) about her comments and her clarification of her stance…first, i couldn’t believe that someone could just write off an issue that is of concern to a segment of our population and say ‘END OF DISCUSSION’, just because that segment happens to be so small and i guess therefore insignificant in her scheme of things…”END OF DISCUSSION”?? when did she ever participate in a compassionate and empathetic discussion? “SIMPLE!”?? is it really that simple?? c’mon folks, let’s at least DISCOURSE and COMMUNICATE, even if we don’t agree with one another…secondly, i was dismayed at her unwillingness to part with money because those in need of help were such a small minority…if i remember correctly, there was a shepherd in one of jesus’s stories who left 99 perfectly obedient and docile lambs alone exposed to the dangers in the wilderness, to go after the one stupid one who wandered off and got lost…that shepherd didn’t sacrifice that one stupid lamb that was probably doing its breed good by eliminating itself for the sake of the safety of the VAST MAJORITY of the flock…jesus was always after the fringe of society…and i don’t care what you believe about gender/sexuality issues…when you have a segment of the population that has historically suffered discrimination and mistreatment and rejection and disdain from society at large, don’t tell me that the christian response is to throw your hands up in the air and say, ‘hey, god didn’t make them that way! end of discussion! simple!’ because if that’s what the christian response is supposed to be, i know nothing about who jesus is and who god is and what grace is and what mercy is and what compassion is and what love is…all these things that are supposed to be the indicators to the world as to who christians are…that the world would know that they are christians by their love…

and then to top it off, the same woman, who i am going to give the benefit of the doubt to and assume is just insensitive and lacking in common sense and not really deliberately malicious, sent me the following email, which i am posting in its entirety…please keep in mind that my family and i immigrated to the states from korea when i was 6 years old, that i had a grandma who came to the states in her 60′s who never learned english, and that i have numerous aunts and uncles and a mom to boot who came to the states as adults and who still struggle greatly with the language…anyways, I DID NOT WRITE ANYTHING THAT IS IN RED AND IN GARAMOND FONT…this is the email she sent me:

“Sarah…..thought you might want to get a ‘rise’ out of this opinion, too. We American Christians have our beliefs and our heritage to protect….and I intend to do my part!

Story in Tampa Paper – September 30, 2003

Will we still be the Country of choice and still be America if we continue to make the changes forced on us by the people from other countries that came to live in America because it is the Country of Choice???????? Think about it……..

All I have to say is, when will they do something about MY RIGHTS? I celebrate Christmas, but because it isn’t celebrated by everyone, we can no longer say Merry Christmas. Now it has to be Season’s Greetings. It’s not Christmas vacation, it’s Winter Break. Isn’t it amazing how this winter break ALWAYS occurs over the Christmas holiday?? We’ve gone so far the other way, bent over backwards to not offend anyone, that I am now being offended. But it seems that no one has a problem with that.

This says it all!

After hearing that the state of Florida changed its opinion and let a Muslim woman have her picture on her driver’s license with her face covered this is an editorial written by an American citizen, published in a Tampa newspaper. He did quite a job; didn’t he? Read on, please!

IMMIGRANTS, NOT AMERICANS, MUST ADAPT….
I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Americans. However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the “politically correct” crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others.

I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to America. Our population is almost entirely made up of descendants of immigrants. However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand. This idea of America being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Americans, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.

We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language!

“In God We Trust” is our national motto. This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.

If Stars and Stripes offend you, or you don’t like Uncle Sam, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don’t care how you did things where you came from. This is OUR COUNTRY, our land, and our lifestyle.

Our First Amendment gives ‘every’ citizen the right to express his opinion and we will allow you every opportunity to do so. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about our flag, our pledge, our national motto, or our way of life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great American freedom, THE RIGHT TO LEAVE.”

granted, this woman had no idea i am an immigrant and that many of my extended family members are immigrants or that i was raised in an ethnic culture that has tried hard to maintain a sense of its own identity in the midst of the new and often clashing culture surrounding it…i suppose not too many folks know that RHEE is a korean surname, the first president of korea being a RHEE…

well, i haven’t responded to this woman…i almost cried when i got the email, not just because i was offended as an immigrant, but just because of the FUCKING IGNORANCE…sorry…

i wanted to take all these emails this woman had sent me (and some others who were on that distribution list) and forward them to caleb and demand that if that’s what christians really think and believe, i don’t want to be a christian…now that would’ve been unfair to caleb, so i didn’t…caleb is not a perfect christian, and i probably don’t agree with everything he’ll tell me, but one thing i do know and the reason i haven’t thrown christianity out the window yet, esp. after my dad died and wasn’t around to be an example any more, was that with caleb, in all his imperfections and sometimes not-knowings, i’ve always seen humility (or at least his acknowledgment for his need for humility) and compassion and grace in his response…he gave me hope that not all christians are morons…

anyways, like i said, i haven’t responded yet to this last email, and i’ve decided i’m not going to because i realize that in some ways, i’m just as much at fault in my lack of grace and compassion for christians…this is something that teddy wisely pointed out to me…so i confess that i have my prejudices towards christians, which are not too dissimilar from the prejudices that i’ve experienced towards christians from non-christians and have been upset by for so long…i am weak and human…that is quite obvious…i really don’t even consider myself a ‘good’ person…’good’ is a word i don’t understand anyway…

so i’m not gonna repond to her personally, but if i WERE to respond, here’s what i would say:

“dear _____,

thank you–

as an immigrant myself who has never even celebrated a traditional “american” thanksgiving until this year after 25 years in this country, i found the article quite enlightening…gosh, i’ve gone a quarter of a century without even knowing there was an american christian heritage!

would this american christian heritage also include the genocide of a race that was here hundreds of years BEFORE anyone from europe decided this would be a nice piece of land to colonize? or manifest destiny, the proclaimed mission of the united states and justification for expanding its borders in unwanted areas? or how about being beaten by both england and france to abolish slavery? or how about the unparalleled greed that’s gripped this nation as the masses pursue the “american dream”? or what about ransacking the environment and our natural resources (not to mention other nations’ natural resources) to achieve those american dreams? or maybe exploiting foreign cheap labor in the name of capitalism to stock the walmarts and provide nikes for the masses? would this ‘american christian heritage’ include numerous military operations and wars made on other sovereign nations, wars that were (are) funded by american tax dollars but not sanctioned by the majority of its people and condemned by most other democratic nations?

i know we’re not the only nation to be guilty of such ills…we’re just the biggest and baddest…and you know what they say about those to whom much has been given…well, i suppose i don’t really know what “they” say, but i hear it says somewhere in the bible that from such people, “much will be required.”

if this is the american christian heritage you are refering to, i question your desire to do your part in protecting it…

as an american and an immigrant, i think that the insistance on speaking english and ONLY english is absurd and cruel…how many languages does the average american speak well enough to get by with that language in a foreign country? why is it that americans expect people to be able to speak english regardless of where they are in the world? if most americans, as youngsters, can’t master a foreign tongue, do you really expect 30, 40, 50, 60 & 70 year old immigrants to master english, which is linguistically notorious for its lack of rhyme or reason in its crazy rules? well, my parents did what you wanted them to, and at the advice of our school principal, they stopped speaking korean at home so that my brother and i could learn english more quickly…i lost my mother tongue for over 10 years because of that and had to relearn it later in life…even now, i only have a child’s level of understanding and mastery of my first language…for that, i am regretful and ashamed…

i realize that i have the right to leave this country, and believe me, if i could move to vancouver, b.c., i would in a heartbeat…besides, i don’t see why i should give up what is mine as much as yours just because i don’t believe in your version of an american culture or heritage which i think is absurd and parochial and xenophobic…

if i had the energy or the smarts, i could give you a scholary dissertation on why the editorial you forwarded to me is historically and philosophically flawed…all i can say is that it does not resonate with what i, at my gut level, believe america to be about…besides, last i checked, americans are not god’s chosen people, english will not be the official language in heaven, and christians are said in the bible to be aliens in a foreign land whose allegiance is at face value treasonous cuz it’s supposed to be to god first, not to some fairytale patriotic heritage…

yours truly,
sarah jane rhee”

i know…i know…it’s harsh, isn’t it? that’s why i’m not sending it…like i said, i know what i myself am guilty of…i hope to learn to give grace even before it is given to me…which is too late cuz it’s already been given to me in abundance…but that’s beside the point…

peace out folks…sorry if i brought you down…

posted by yours truly @ 00:22

Monday, December 08, 2003

…ok…here are photos from the advent services that my friend nanette & wicker park grace have been holding…if this is something that looks interesting to you, we’ll have 2 more the next 2 sundays…same time same place…

…also, my friend john is having a ceramics sale this weekend, sat. dec 13th (10 am – 5 pm) & sun. dec 14th (12pm – 5 pm)at his studio in ravenswood 4636 n. ravenswood (bulldog lock company building)…john makes amazing ceramics, and he’s also one of my favorite people, so show some love…he always has affordable stuff for christmas presents, and it’s always nice to give something that’s an original and to support our local artists, esp. my friends…

posted by yours truly @ 13:28

Sunday, December 07, 2003

…yawn…what a weekend…so saturday morning, i picked up my friend carlos and we headed for la crosse, wisconsin at around 11 am for our friend sam’s wedding…that’s like on the mississippi river on the minnesota border…it was a good thing i had company cuz i would’ve gone stir crazy in that car by myself for over 4 hours…my goodness…i have no idea how sam did that drive week after week to go see jenny…all that’s over now…they’re married and on their way to jamaica…i’m sure they’ll be nice & tan the next time i see them…

…sam’s like my kid brother, and for some reason, he’s one of the few people i can tell just about anything and everything to, even though we may not talk all that often…so i wouldn’t have missed his wedding for the world, even if it meant driving through the entire state of wisconsin…and besides, pete & amy & little elliot were at the wedding too, and it’s been ages since i’ve seen them…rand & aimee were there too, and it was good catching up w/ rand…even though i technically identify myself w/ hyde park vcf, i haven’t been there since september, so it’s been a while since i last saw him…i had a chance to tell him about my mom’s surgery coming up, since we was pretty close to my parents and would want to know about those things…

carlos & i listened to–
achtung baby–u2
monster–r.e.m.
magical mystery tour–the beatles
moom & antarctica–modest mouse
keep it like a secret yo–built to spill
bleed american–jimmy eat world
summer sun–yo la tengo

posted by yours truly @ 23:58

Saturday, December 06, 2003

…ok…i have to be in la crosse wisconsin for a wedding by 3:30 so i gots to hurry up…this photo is a representation of the celebration of our dear jozka’s 25th birthday…which happened to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the abolition of prohibition…which we were informed of by mikey v. who seemed to appreciate this little fact more and more as the night wore on, so much so that he got up on a chair @ the holiday club and did a toast except that he made a toast to the prohibition instead of the ABOLITION of prohibition…jozka looked so good…he’s clean shaven! it was jozka, keturah (whose connections got us the royal treatment @ the holiday club), teddy, tealpheal (phil) and mikey & me…much love all around…there will be more to say but i won’t be saying anything here since i will be driving home in the middle of the night after the wedding…ciao y’all…

been listening to

wood/water–the promise ring
talker–u.s. maple

posted by yours truly @ 09:29

Friday, December 05, 2003

…LIFE AT SEA!!! holy guacamole, they were AWESOME!! i have to admit, teddy & i were tired, and they were the headlining band so we had to wait until 11:30pm for them to take the stage, but when they did, they were totally and undeniably worth losing sleep for…go see photos of the show here…it’s interesting when you meet musicians before you’ve ever seen them perform, and when you finally do get to see them live on stage doing their thing, sometimes you’re blown away…erik, the frontman for LAS, is one of the sweetest guys i’ve ever met, really laid back and talks with a soothing, gentle and almost melodic voice…on stage, with his band, he can be all those as well, but the music he & his band play is also powerful and moving…my emotional reaction reminds me of when i first saw ester drang…i’ve been trying to see these guys play for about 8 months now, and i was not at all disappointed…even teddy thought they were awesome, and he’s got some pretty high standards…

they’re going on a little tour to the east starting next week, so if you live out thataways, check out their website for shows in your neck of the woods…

been listening to–
wood/water–the promise ring
danse macabre–the faint
hark!–sufjan stevens
noel–sufjan stevens

posted by yours truly @ 20:05

Thursday, December 04, 2003

last night i went out w/ my girls kris (my cuz) and connie…we went to roong thai on milwaukee just north of north ave, mainly cuz that’s where we found parking…this was where i had sat at a table next to the oh-so-famous NPR voice, host of that delightful show that ISN’T called ‘that canadian death’ and didn’t know who he was until i heard him talk…anyways, it was lovely catching up w/ connie & kris…and the pad thai was yummy…man, i could eat pad thai 7 days a week…

anyways, i gotta run cuz we’re going out to the chicago diner & then to the bottom lounge to see wanamaker and life at sea…erik, chris’s boyfriend, is the frontman, and he’s the dude teddy jammed with right before thanksgiving, so it’ll be cool to FINALLY seem him in concert…i’ve been meaning to for ages…photos to come later i’m sure…

hopefully i’ll be able to get an americano from the hearty boys after dinner! yay!

oh, sling blade was on when i got home from work, but the part where ian plays randy horsefeather was already over…oh well…maybe it’ll be on again soon…

just got a call from jozka! he’s in town!! yay!! gotta stop by the reckless to get his bday present, which of course will involve sufjan stevens…it’s only fitting now that jozka is back in michigan…

busy busy busy…

here’s some reading material in the meantime…

offense benevolently intended if the shoe fits…

posted by yours truly @ 18:34

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

…so i utterly failed trying to go to sleep early last night…it wasn’t all my fault…i didn’t even get to ted’s for dinner until 7, and then that flavored coffee he made me is what did me in…it was just the pick me up i needed at the time, but the pick me up lasted 6 hours, and although i got home relatively early (before 11), i was still pretty wide awake until 1am when i made a really stupid move on tetris and died…my next chance for decent sleep isn’t scheduled until the 13th of december, so i’m gonna have to grin & bear it for the next 10 days…boy, am i gonna be a bitch…

tonight is girls’ night out w/ connie & kris if all goes as planned…i dunno where we’re gonna eat, but eating is the primary objective as far as i know…and then i’ll be seeking out a decent americano, or better yet, an espresso martini…*drool*…

i think i found a vendor who will make decent photo post cards for me…i’m basically gonna use snapfish.com…i’ve uploaded part of my portfolio to my album there, and i can order postcards from them…i just got my sample batch yesterday, and teddy says these look so much better than the ones i’d gotten from a different vendor…now i just have to choose the photos i’m gonna use…

ok…i seriously need a nap…

p.s. photos from sunday night’s advent service are here.

posted by yours truly @ 12:59

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

…ok…so i’m supposed to go to la-something wisconsin for my friend sam’s wedding this saturday…it’s like 4.5 hours away…and i don’t wanna stay overnight…so i’m gonna drive 9 hours by myself on saturday…oh joy! thank god for cruise control…let’s see…9 hours of music…hmmm…should i make mix cds? decisions, decisions, decisions…which reminds me that i have to pick up my skirt for the wedding from the cleaners on thursday…and i still don’t have a top to wear, but oh well…i’ll find something i’m sure…pete & amy are flying in for the wedding so it’ll be cool to see them again, all be it for a very short time…

…and my friend jozka is coming to town from ann arbor this weekend! it’s gonna be his quarter of a century bday! another busy weekend ahead of me, i see…oh well…all i wanna do is sleep in my spare time…but i keep getting distracted and end up doing other stuff…not tonight however…i will be disciplined and get me to bed at a decent hour…9pm sounds good, don’t you think…oh, to sleep…to sleep…to sleep…

…so i’m moving in march, and i’m toying with the idea of getting a roommate…or making myself someone else’s roommate…i was thinking that a girl my age should really think about buying a place of her own…even if it’s just a little tiny one bedroom condo…i just can’t stand throwing rent money down the drain anymore…ACH!…maybe next year…i better start packing now though cuz i know i’m a slow packer…i do wanna stay in the wicker park area though…it’s quite convenient for me, and it keeps me close to teddy & his brothers and to places i frequent like filter & reckless & penny’s…i would consider the river west neighborhood, but places like lincoln park and lakeview are absolutely out of the question…i just know that someone of my temperament will have done bodily harm to someone or something else before too long in a neighborhood like that…you know, loud meat market bars, no parking, drunk people w/ lots of money, bad music…ick…

if anybody knows of any cool living situations in wicker park, bucktown, or river west that are gonna open up the beginning of march or april, please let me know…or if anyone has a really cool place and you’re like really cool and you need a roommate, let me know…

posted by yours truly @ 12:21

Monday, December 01, 2003

…ok…it was a very full weekend for me…now i need a vacation to recover…

saturday evening, i did something i don’t do very often that nearly wiped me out…i cooked a meal from scratch…it was a mexican chili corn pie…i was in the mood for making some chili, and i thought this would be a nice twist because it also involved a cornbread topping, and i’m crazy about the cornbread, ya know…teddy was so surprised when he came over after work and found dinner waiting for him…the most he usually expects from me is pasta or tuna sandwiches…after dinner, we picked up teddy’s bro dave & we went to the chicago performing arts center down in river west to see the production of the rocky horror show that dave’s girlfriend ellen was working on…

…now i’ve never seen the rocky horror picture show or any theatrical version of the movie, and i don’t think anyone could’ve prepared me for what to expect that night…but it was a $45 show, and ellen got us the tickets for free, so i ain’t complaining…it was actually pretty funny and outrageous…teddy & i were a bit nervous about having body parts grabbed by the cast, but we managed to get through the show without drawing any unncessary attention to ourselves that would’ve gotten us in trouble…i thought the costumes especially for the last scene were absolutely spectacular…i don’t think i could’ve brought myself to pay $45 for this show cuz that’s like a month’s worth of shows for me, but for free it was worth it…and at intermission teddy ordered an espresso martini from the bar that was really yummy! i’d never had one before, and i highly recommend it! it would have to be at a bar that could make espressos though…

on sunday late morning, i went to the gallery cafe w/ dave & teddy…it’s a little cafe/diner/ice cream parlor that has a micro roastery on its premises…they’re located on north & wood…we’d never been there before, and it wasn’t what i’d expected…there were no couches to lounge around in like at filter…just booths like at a diner…but the coffee was good, and they’ve got a cheap $1 self-serve coffee…the walls had some interesting-enough paintings by a local artist…

it was a really lovely day yesterday…sunny and warm in the 50s…i didn’t need my hat or mittens…unfortunately, teddy had to go to work…oh well…i got to work baking cookies for the advent service later that night…now when i say baking cookies, all that involved was opening a package of nestle’s refrigerated pre-cut cookie dough and just separating the little squares of dough and placing them 2″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and sticking that in a preheated 350 degree oven…the only trick was determining when the cookies were done…i’m such an idiot when it comes to this stuff that even though the directions said it should only take 10-12 minutes in the oven, it took me a good 50 minutes of taking those things in and out of the oven until i was finally satisfied with the doneness of the cookies…i know a lot of people love eating cookie dough, but i’m just not that big a fan of raw dough…if dough were meant to be eaten raw, why the heck are we wasting natural resources and dirtying pans to bake them? those of you who LOVE raw dough may be asking the very same questions…

anyways, i met up w/ nanette & kara & kelly to help set up for the advent service a couple hours before it was to start…they had planned everything already, and i was just there to help…we set up these different prayer/reflection tables that were covered w/ various colored fabric and decorated w/ candles galore and books and pieces of paper w/ reflective questions on them that related to the advent season…i thought it looked great once we were done, and the door that kara had designed to represent the theme for the week was lovely…the service was intimate and serene with opportunities for symbolic interaction…there will be 3 more of these every sunday @ st. paul’s at 2215 w. north ave at 6:30-7:30 pm…

more later…

posted by yours truly @ 07:12