abstract: an autobiographical blend of fact and fiction, a reply to Demetri Martin's "Who Am I?" 
mythology is a titular homage to MJ's HIStory.

 Alphonse Mucha's Spring (1896)

soy una mujer. I am one of Eve's many daughters, refusing to believe that my sex was created from Adam's rib. Although juicy apples are delicious and sweet to taste, I am no exception and am cursed with monthly visits just the same.

Lucas Cranach the Elder's Adam and Eve (1528)

Desperate Housewives' title sequence spin off of
 Lucas Cranach the Elder's Adam and Eve (1528)

Far from Eden, living in a digital age, I am called an endless array of names, while my identity is masked behind a flurry of usernames online.
names I call myself include:
1.  the norm
     a. Jessica (ego) - around acquaintances, strangers, and others.
     b. Jess - with those who are familiar, friends and family alike.

2. familial names
     a. my Chinese forename name is a type of precious jade, as is my sister's, my mother's and her sisters' names.
     b. my surname is a shade of red.
     c. mun mun = family pet name

3. misc.
     a. Camille - after Alexandre Dumas' Camille; the fake name I use whenever I'm not using my credit card to pay for things.
     b. sassica - (id) the name I earned myself after one night of fake runway chassé-ing and infamous vomit damage in SF.
     c. j'existentialiste - (super ego) cause I enjoy Sartre plays.
     d. calam.itty.bitty.jess - if I was brave enough to join a roller derby team, this would be my derby name.

George Cukor's Camille (1936) 

I am Beauty and the Beast (la belle et la bête), Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde.

Jean Cocteau's La belle et la bête (1946)

a. As la belle, I am a bibliophile, fantasy enthralls me and I wish for lifesize things. My sweetness and patience paves the way to care for the pariah beast.

Belle tells some sheep about a book in Disney's Beauty and the Beast (1991)

b. As la bête, my pride and stubbornness can take over at times. My appetite is ravenous and impolite. I'd grumble a little roar if you came between me and my dinner.

bon appétit!

In regards to la comida, I am a soup maiden and a jello enthusiast with the sweetest sweet tooth ever known. Fondant on cakes and pastries is the sweet fusion of art and food.

as seen during my trip in Hong Kong

I love the slumberland concoction of warm, steaming milk and honey as much as I approve of interracial relationships. I am 8 weeks strong without coffee; 4 months is the end goal in sight.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Milk and Honey (1984)

I love passionately and tragically like Garbo with her Gilbert, and Elizabeth with her Richard. Be mi elefante Diego, and I will be tu paloma Frida. I am la luna a tu sol, the moon empress to your General Sol.*

Greta Garbo and John Gilbert 

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor

Frida and Diego Rivera (1931) 

I am a calendar girl; I watch each day go by like a wind that came and went. Each day of the week has its own name: sunshine sunday, mono monday^, totes tuesday, wicked wednesday, thirsty thursday, frakin' friday, sassy saturday. Last winter was my époque bleu, this spring is my époque rose, and the coming summer will be my époque miel. Picasso would be proud.

Stars' "Calendar Girl"

I drift, I float, I cannot tell a lie.+

from The Sound of Music (1965)

I am a collector (la collectionneuse) of thoughts, memories, beautiful words written, spoken, and sung by others, snapshots, LPs even though I don't have a record player (silly me), metro stubs, and postcards.

When I am hard at work, as opposed to hardly working, I am Mulan, Joan of Arc, a soldier with a mission to get things done, a Jedi with a pretty baby blue lightsaber.

I am a hybrid persona, a Sagittarius by birth, a sphinx when I am misunderstood, a mermaid when I am in the sea, and a siren when I am singing, but never a harpy.

mermaids in Peter Pan (1953)
It goes to show that girls are still very catty even if they're half fish.

* = a play off of the name General Tso
^ = in Spanish, mono can either be the word for monkey (el mono) or the adjective meaning cute (¡que mono! = how cute!)
+ = a mashup and misremembrance of the following lyrics from The Sound of Music's "So Long, Farewell":
I'm glad to go
I cannot tell a lie

I flit, I float
I fleetly flee, I fly


The Chase

Betty Draper in Mad Men 

When it comes to Mad Men, Betty Draper Francis is certainly not an ideal parent. She's like Nora in Ibsen's A Doll's House, or even Daisy in The Great Gatsby, a woman-child who is in serious need of some classes on parenting (Slapping a child for cutting her hair is not the way to go, Bets). She's a terrible mother, and her usual parenting pattern is to scold, say "Don't do that!" to daughter Sally, and act completely clueless about why her daughter is the way she is. However, Betty did deliver one piece of fantastic motherly advice to Sally (which is probably something I'll save for my unborn daughter):
"You don't kiss boys. Boys kiss you." Betty to Sally Draper, Mad Men Season 3, Episode 8 "Souvenir"
Sometimes I wish I had a (Google) translator for things my mother tells me. All those times in high school when she told me not to be friendly towards boys, she meant something else.

 Google, can you translate my mother for me?
Actually, can you translate the opposite sex for me instead?

What she really meant and was unable to articulate is that the good ones will go after you to prove their worth and the bad ones will weed themselves out so please be an ice queen. This also loosely parallels a sidetrack conversation I had with one of my undergrad film profs like a zillion years ago (okay, it was two years ago): all the directors, the legends, the good ones (i.e. Martin Scorsese) will last and have a fruitful lifelong career and all the other bad ones will weed themselves out. It's like saying, "If you're a bad egg, you'll eventually disappear. Poof."

(here I go again, wearing my Carrie Bradshaw hat)
So should all modern women forgo the notion that since both sexes are equal, they should be allowed to initiate plans or make the first move, just so they won't be taken for granted and get treated like crap? Do we all have to resort to the feminine stereotype of playing the waiting damsel just so all of us hetero-females won't be treated as some guy's second best (and not his number one)?

Taylor Swift as a waiting damsel in "Love Story"

I've had guy friends who would bitch and moan (yea boys do bitch, especially manboys) about how they feel the pressure of having to make the first move and it's always so hard when girls don't lend them a hand. At the same time, they are disinterested in perfectly decent female specimens when these girls do show interest in them and "lend a hand." Make up your mind. You can't have the chase and want the other party to do the work for your lazy ass. Those two things are mutually exclusive, boys. Get your act together. It's not rocket science.

The chase is such a mind game. It's basically playing "catch me if you can." I understand why it's there but I don't like it at all.
Catch Me If You Can (2002)


Don Lockwood's Lucky Day

March 24th in Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Today is a lovely day because it's my sister's birthday and she's x years young. Not only is she older than me (the age difference is apparent when you ask both of us whether we remember the Regal Beagle) but she looks younger than me - perhaps because she is shorter than me? or maybe it's her cute button nose that I lack? If you compared her current photos with the ones taken from middle school, she looks kind of the same except with a shorter, trendier haircut and her 90s plaid shirts are now replaced with a chic modern wardrobe, adorned with pretty prints and colors (yes, sometimes I borrow her clothes and vice versa). So when she was pregnant with bebe B over 3 years back, the nurse thought she was delivering bad news of pregnancy to an Asian teenager (silly nurse).

The awesome thing about her birthday is that it also happens to be Don Lockwood's lucky day in Singin' in the Rain (1952):
Don: Fellas, I feel this is my lucky day, March 23rd.
Cosmo: Your lucky day's the 24th.
Don: What do you mean the 24th? 
Cosmo: It's 1:30 already. It's morning! 
Kathy: Yes. And what a lovely morning!
So happy birthday, sis ♥!! ju ni sheng ri kuai! ¡feliz cumpleaños! bon anniversaire! 
Also here's some pretty tunes on getting old or staying young for ya if you're feeling old and want to feel younger:

hellogoodbye's "Getting Older

Lenka's "We Will Not Grow Old"


Lovefools and the Moon

Mary (Donna Reed) and George Bailey (James Stewart) singing "Buffalo Gals"
on a moonlit night in It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

For centuries upon centuries, even after the first moon landing, the celestial entity that is the moon has marveled people, became a muse for some, and has been a larger than life element in someone's romantically cliché mise-en-scène, a persuasive tip over the iceberg for someone to get some. Lip service and the moon especially with a little booze are a deadly combination. There's nothing like a moonlit walk that steers your heart in a certain direction. I myself have fallen for that tactic of using the moon to set up the scene at least twice. One would only hope that I'll be a little more careful next time.

Is the moon masculine or feminine? There is supposed to be a Man in the Moon, or what looks like a human face on the moon made by its darker regions. Is the man in the moon a woman or a man? In Mame (1974), Vera says that "[t]he man in the moon is a bitch." In Georges Méliès's Le voyage dans la lune (1902) (A Trip to the Moon), the man in the moon looks like a crabby old man.

Le voyage dans la lune (1902)
If I didn't know that thing in his eye is a rocket,
I'd say that he got hit by a giant can.

I often think of the moon as a feminine entity since Latin-based languages such as Spanish (la luna) or French (la lune) refer to it as a feminine noun.

In Chinese folklore, Cháng'é was a sort of Pandora-like character who opened a box she wasn't supposed to open, which contained a magical pill she swallowed and caused her to float and land on the moon. Thus she became the moon goddess in Chinese mythology. As it happens, a rabbit lives on the moon as well and serves as her companion.

Cháng'é, the Moon Goddess

Kenneth Anger makes references to the rabbit on the moon in his avant-garde short Rabbit's Moon (1950):

In Rabbit's Moon, Pierrot the clown is enchanted by the moon and wants to jump up and catch the rabbit that is on the moon. The other clown Harlequin appears and teases him with an illusion of Columbine with whom Pierrot falls in love with. Pierrot is the lovefool in this scenario as clowns are often associated as fools in most cases.

For example, in the silent film He Who Gets Slapped (1924), Lon Chaney plays Paul Beaumont, a genius theorist turned fool who gets screwed over by a baron and his wife. He resorts to being a clown for the remainder of his life as "He who gets slapped" since life is always playing a cruel joke on him, allowing others to laugh at him in derision. Even though he is heartbroken, he sees that his audience get so much joy in watching him play the fool in an act where a whole entourage of clowns slap him in the face and stomp on his little prop heart.

a French poster for He Who Gets Slapped renamed as Larmes de Clown (Tears of a Clown)
You can see his prop heart sown on by Norma Shearer here.

The moon has also fascinated people as a faraway destination, a larger than life goal as illustrated by Méliès's Le voyage dans la lune (1902). In A Grand Day Out (1989), Wallace and Gromit take a trip to the moon in search of cheese (since the moon is made of cheese in this narrative).

Wallace and Gromit, having a cheese themed picnic on the moon in A Grand Day Out (1989)

In Despicable Me (2010), Gru seeks to steal the moon by shrinking it down to the size of his hand.

If you look at quotes regarding the moon in movies, it's seen as an unattainable, symbolic aspiration of some kind; it's an untouchable.

The famous ending line of Now, Voyager (1942) shows how protagonist Charlotte Vale acknowledges the fact that something she wants can never be and so she'll settle for the next best thing.

-Charlotte Vale, Now, Voyager (1942)
In Sabrina (1954), attaining the affections of rich playboy David Larrabee is synonymous with the moon in two different cases:

1. When David fails to realize that Sabrina has a crush on him:
"He doesn't know I exist. I mind as well be reaching for the moon." -Sabrina Fairchild


2. When Sabrina comes back from a cooking school in Paris as a beautiful, fashionable young lady and David likes what he sees:
Thomas Fairchild: Nothing's changed. He's still David Larrabee. And you're still the chauffeur's daughter. And you're still reaching for the moon.

Sabrina Fairchild: No, Father. The moon's reaching for me.
I love how after she says, "The moon's reading for me" in a kind of kooky lovesick way,
a moon is superimposed close to her face as we switch to a new scene.

If you look at songs as well, the moon is usually adored by lovelorn or lovesick people. In Billie Holiday's cover of "Blue Moon," the person in the song is asking the moon for help as she is "saying a prayer for / [s]omebody [she] really could care for."

The best known crooner's song in reference to the moon is "Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)." Even though the most famous version is sung by Frank Sinatra, I prefer Julie London's cover. This is kind of a nice juxtaposition between Sinatra's version and Astrud Gilberto's version of this song:

Down With Love (2003)
(The disproportional ratio of this video irks me.)

I've also had a lifelong love affair with Norah Jones's "Shoot the Moon," which is a song for what I call a "seasonal change of partners," a bittersweet acceptance of faces who come and go.

Like some of the people in these moon references who are reaching for loftier things, I never know if I'll ever find whatever I'm looking for. To the kind people who are taking the time to read this and to the people who are so dear to me, I hope somewhere out there you'll find whatever you're looking for wherever you are. I'm still dreaming. The little girl in me is still reaching for the moon.



I just realized that it's been a decade since I started dating.
Way to feel old. Oh well. Here's a list of firsts:

(in autobiographical order)

First fictional book character I was afraid for
Peter Rabbit

First racist moment I can remember
was when I was placed in English as a Second Language 
(as opposed to English Language Development) classes
from kindergarten to second grade
when my first language is English. 
I was born in Los Angeles. Go figure. Messed up much?

First crush on a real life, non-celebrity person
was on a little blonde boy named Dan in my first grade class.
I'm sure the rationale behind this crush was purely shallow
because I didn't know him then and I still don't know him now.

First theater screening I can remember
Housesitter (1992)
Why did we watch this?
Why didn't we just watch Tim Burton's Batman Returns (1992) instead?

First favorite food that I ate too much of 
and then got sick of / threw up from 
and now I hate it
peanut butter

First cassette tape
Amy Grant's "Baby Baby"
It's annoying how much that title reminds of Justin Bieber.

First "sport" I was really into
Four square.
I sucked at cat's cradle
and was mediocre at punch ball
but I ruled at four square.

First book series I finished
Nancy Drew Mystery Stories (the original 56 books on Nancy Drew)

First fictional filmic character
that frightened the bejesus out of me
The Mask (1994)

First album
Mariah Carey's Daydream received on my birthday in fifth grade.
Due to the influence of my older sister, I used to worship Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston (Yes, I remember The Bodyguard (1992). It sparked my habit of singing into a hair brush, dancing, and prancing around my bedroom.

Yes, I danced and sang along to Ace of Base then too (thanks, Val).

First concert
*NSYNC at the Rose Bowl in 7th grade

First time I got hit on
was around a camp fire during band/orchestra camp.
Of course I didn't realize it then because
I was cold and hiding from another boy
and so I surrounded myself with other teens playing mafia.

First television series I started watching from start to finish
Desperate Housewives

First kiss
not worth discussing.
Have you noticed that every romantic physical first is always awkward(ly bad)?

First alcoholic drink
Polar Bear.
I really wish it was an appletini instead but it wasn't.


Expiration Dates

One of the things that I learned about myself from the kind of books I love reading is that it's usually the tragically flawed heroes/protagonists that I'm drawn to. These books include This Side of Paradise*, David Copperfield, The World According to Garp*, and The Irresistible Henry House, which all have a fictional, biographical touch to them. The male protagonists in these books are so raw and human that you cannot help but love them - not because you want to fix them but because after reading so much extensive information about their background and why they are the way they are, you understand them (Why do you think so many people love watching Dexter? No one really wants him to be a serial killer, but you can't help but feel for him somehow. I can't really say the same about Don Draper from Mad Men. He may be a pretty man but there is no end to his douchebaggery. He continues to piss me off.) Perfection is not the end goal here, it's the ability to survive in spite of bad happenstances in life (or at least that's what I keep on telling myself). If someone does not seem to have any flaws at all, my guess is that there is probably something seriously wrong with that person; we just don't know about it, that's all.

Dead Like Me

I notice that serial narrative is one of the things that help me move on and cope with things in life. Lately I've been watching Dead Like Me, and the point that comes across over and over while watching this series is that everything has an expiration date, everything is ephemeral. Although this is probably really crudely phrased, life is freakishly short and time doesn't stand still - a piano might fall on your head or there might be a slipping accident at a supermarket that may end you so do the things you can do before you regret not doing them.

There was a Dead Like Me episode about how the undead (grim reapers) had to input all of their records of people's last thoughts before they died. One of the saddest last thoughts that was highlighted in that episode was "Why has no one loved me?" - which has got to be the most depressing thing someone can think of right before they die.

last thoughts on an Excel sheet in Dead Like Me Season 1, Episode 13 "Vacation"

"We're all temps" in life (Daisy, Dead Like Me Season 1, Episode 13 "Vacation"). Nothing is forever as phases in your life can be periods of adjustment, some lasting longer than others unfortunately. I try to soak in upbeat tunes and gorgeous images people take/create. Those are the little kicks in life that spices up the monotony behind our daily routines as trivial as those things may be.

When people come and go in your life, the two things that you usually remember in regards to these people are the firsts and lasts that you've had in your encounters with them - i.e. how you met someone, how things started out, whether things ended on good or bad terms, the last kiss, the last set of words exchanged. Basically you remember the bookends of your significant or insignificant relationship/encounter with another person. Not that the things in between don't matter, but the bookends keep all those little memories and events in sequential order. It's like how archives keep loose materials in order but in plastic or acid-free paper boxes. A collection of memories should be kept together, housed and shelved in the same part of your brain, a kind of metaphorical Memex I suppose.

I've always loved this poster, but this is such a crap movie.

Maybe the writers of the original Sweet November (1968) movie had the right idea: set a month long limit to a relationship as to propel the kind of intimacy that takes forever for people to get to, but end a relationship before it could even start to grow sour. There's something poetic yet bittersweet to that idea. Beauty fades, puppy love (aka the honeymoon period) goes away as well.

Sweet November (1968)

Sweet November (2001) = crappy remake

I'm done with men for now. I give up. The aftermath after the storm of sadness kills me every time; it's always a mission to forget. It's not like every time a relationship ends, I can dip my head in some sort of River Lethe, or brain wipe myself like they do in Dollhouse or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind just to selectively forget people. Presto, chango, bad feelings begone! No, it's not that easy and it doesn't work that way. I don't know how people stay in happy long term relationships - but if they're able to do that, more power to them. They've got the staying power and I don't.

Dollhouse treatment

brain damaging memory erasure procedure in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

This one thing Charlotte said in Sex and the City resonates with me: "I've been dating since I was fifteen. I'm exhausted. Where is he?" The normal and more optimistic me would probably tell her to stop looking because once she stops looking, "he'll" pop up, but right now, I'm thinking, who the fuck cares? Stop investing your time and energy in this invisible, mythical "he" when you could be making yourself an awesome and real, legendary "you." Be a super lady. Just don't wear your cape in public. Live while you can.

P.S. Random fact: The Greek word for "eclipse" means "cease to exist."

* = books that changed my life / made an impact on me


Baisers volés (Stolen Kisses)

This is what I do when I'm stressed and can't focus: I take photos.

basket of kisses. Mad Men anyone?

baby blues


lion's den

 one of the first few things I see when I wake up and before I go to sleep

both record and vintage music sheets are from a flea market in the Upper East Side;
The Beautiful and Damned is from Barnes & Noble;
and the flower-pearl headband is from Forever 21

my latest reading phase is on books by Virginia Woolf

binders for L.I.S. courses
Paperchase fosters my love of notebooks

What's Up Tiger Lily DVD, a book from Madrid on what Socrates said to Woody Allen,
and 3D glasses from a screening of TRON: Legacy