ilona the pest

insecurity + narcissism = awesome!

Friday, June 30, 2006

diagnosis: brain paralysis; prescription: vacation

6-hour practice multi-state bar exam today. 200 multiple-choice questions. my brain is in revolt. good thing i'm going away to seattle for the long weekend. i will try to do at least some studying - at least, i will probably break down and self-grade my exam just to figure out if i scored a 40%, 50%, or 60% - but my poor enfeebled brain simply won't allow me to impose much more pain upon it. so i will pack my swimsuit, my sunscreen, and my white sun hat, and prepare to actually enjoy myself for a few days. maybe i'll finally finish reading that freud biography! (erm, yes, i have a somewhat unusual conception of leisure activities. whatever.)

when we're in seattle my boyfriend will have the chance to meet and hang out with my ex-girlfriend. is that weird? i'm friends with most of my exes so it doesn't seem weird to me. (anyway, we're going to the wedding of one of his ex-girlfriends in a few months.) i think it'll be entertaining to observe the clash of worlds between my nerdy internet executive boyfriend and my punk rock, quasi-working class, tomboyish ex-girlfriend. well, he does love heavy metal, underneath that buttoned-up exterior, and she's actually pretty smart and nerdy, too, under that tough and streetwise exterior. and they do have similar taste in girls, i guess. so they will have a few things in common.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

updates: rash, jeans, bacon, friends...

my rash was getting itchier and itchier over the past few days, so i finally abandoned the stupid claritin and bought some benadryl at safeway. that seems to be doing the trick, although i feel verrrry sleepy and out of it. i want to take a nap all the time. but i guess it's worth it because my arms aren't itching anymore.

(2) my new, one-size-down x-girl jeans arrived - and they were still too big. not, like, i'm swimming in them, or anything, but definitely a looser fit than i was looking for. so i washed & dried them, in violation of the care instructions on the tag, in hopes of some miraculous shrinkage -- and they're still too big. wtf. am i just skinnier than i think? (sorry if that sounds like the annoying kind of skinny-girl comment that makes you want to slap her.) or maybe x-girl sizes are just weird. anyway now i'm not sure what to do, 'cause i can't return them. i guess i'll try washing and drying (on high, high heat) once more, and if that doesn't work, well, i'll have a back-up pair of baggy jeans in case i feel the urge to attend a rave or a hip-hop concert.

also, my white jeans just came back from the tailor, so i might even wear them to class tomorrow if i can get up the courage to be that cool. he's holding my dark blue habitual jeans hostage for another day, though, 'cause they were still a little too long. it was amusing and awesome when the middle-aged, extremely-thick-accented asian guy, in his dimly lit tailor shop in the tenderloin, as he examined the fit, told me confidently, "with skinny jeans, you don't want them to be too long." this guy clearly knows what he's doing.

(3) i'm making bee bacon for an afternoon snack for like the 6th day in a row. is there a twelve-step program for this? actually, if loving bee bacon is wrong i don't want to be right.

(4) thanks to all the nice people wrote or called and told me reassuring things after my plaintive cry for help over the weekend. i just need to feel loved. might as well face it, i'm addicted to love (and bee bacon).

crap, i just scratched my arm.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

skate punks

alternative career options

sigh. sometimes the prospect of life as a lawyer seems so dreary, i think i should just abandon it and focus instead on my music career. or my skin-care line. or work on parlaying my pornographic stardom into political office.

evidence practice questions

in better news, i just did some evidence practice questions and scored 81% - a personal record in any subject this summer. woo-hoo! i guess all that extra study time yesterday paid off. perhaps this proves that being lonely and depressed is in fact a useful adaptive mechanism for bar-exam success.

misanthropic and misunderstood

i had planned to go to this thing this afternoon with some friends of mine. they were supposed to call me so we could meet up, but they didn't. i was feeling too lazy and antisocial to get up the energy to call them, so i just sat at home and studied evidence all afternoon instead. which was actually a fine way to spend the afternoon - but the whole (non-)episode really made me feel like a loser with a capital L.

then i went to a roller-skating birthday party, which made me feel a little better. but i still had the feeling a lot of the evening like everyone i know is better friends with each other than they are with me.

i don't know why i have so much trouble having friends. i've never had any problem having meaningful, open, connected romantic relationships, but i constantly struggle with maintaining successful regular friendships. it feels embarassing just to admit to -- having meaningful connections with other people seems like kind of a fundamental element of the human condition. for me, though, it's absurdly difficult and causes endless anxiety.

i want to have more and closer friendships. i love spending time with my friends and having fun and talking about our lives and taking emotional risks that pay off and taking care of each other... but i suppose i'm so insecure about being rejected that i hardly ever take the risks that are necessary to get to that point.

my best friend from elementary school/junior high recently asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, and i was both shocked and thrilled. i was like, wow, i actually matter to someone else? it's sad how strange and exciting that feeling was.

sorry if this is a bummer. roller-skating was really fun. happy birthday, T.

Friday, June 23, 2006

itchy rash

for the past few weeks i've been plagued by an itchy rash of indeterminate origin. now, before you go accusing me of having a loathsome disease (which is, of course, slander per se), i should mention that i did see a doctor, who diagnosed it as plain old eczema, which i had always though was some exotic, disfiguring, congenital skin condition, but it turns out it's just a fancy (and kind of gross-sounding) word for atopic dermatitis. just kidding - that's what it says on the top of the handout the doctor gave me. what i meant to say was it's a fancy word for a rash you get as an allergic reaction.

i confess that i was originally afraid that i might have an actual disease like measles, or shingles, or maybe scabies, but it doesn't seem to be contagious at all (i swear) and it also doesn't have any accompanying symptoms like a fever or anything. and also the doctor was like, "no, you do not have a disease." so.

i just looked up the wikipedia page on eczema to give you a link to it, but the pictures are super-icky looking - that is not what my rash looks like at all. so maybe my doctor was wrong. my rash is practically invisible, and i mostly notice the itchiness only on my arms, shoulders, the backs of my hands, and from my ankles to about halfway up my calves. it's very weird. i'm a medical mystery.

since it was unclear what allergen was causing the rash, the doctor recommended several steps: (1) eliminate all scents from my life - switch to perfume-free soaps, detergent, etc.; (2) start taking a daily antihistamine like claritin; (3) use a topical anti-itch cream to help with the itching in the short term; (4) start using a hypoallergenic (i.e. fragrance-free) moisturizer all over, every day; and (5) don't scratch.

(1) takes too much effort and i'm just too hedonistic to deny myself the urge to scratch, so i've been mainly relying on (3) and (4), slathering my arms and legs regularly with lubriderm lotion and cortizone cream. my skin feels delightfully silky and supple, but that's about it.

i've also been dutifully following step (2) for about a week now, taking 10 mg of claritin daily, with no obvious improvement.

step (1) is probably the most basic and important, but it's hard to switch laundry detergents because i've recently adopted my boyfriend's system of giving up doing my own laundry. although i did finally, a few days ago, buy some fragrance-free detergent, and gave it to the kind ladies who take care of these things for me, suppressing my guilt at imposing an additional demand on them. so we'll see how that works out.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

jeans update

note: i edited this to add pictures at the request of a reader. they're not pictures of me - they're just pictures that i found online. no, they will not look quite the same on me as on the models. you can buy skinny-leg jeans, but you can't buy skinny legs. oh well.

* * *

i've gone a little crazy with jeans-shopping in the last week. i guess all i needed was a little motivation, huh? in the past week i've bought:

(1) one pair of x-girl jeans in black (really like a dark gray) (see the original "jeans" post for a picture),

(2) one pair of dark blue "J-brand" jeans,

(3) one pair of "habitual" jeans in dark blue (but not quite as dark/solid blue as the J-brand ones),

and (4) one pair of white "sass & bide" jeans.

they're all "skinny" (i.e. pretty tight & very narrowly cut) - am i going to get sick of that style? well, i already own other styles of pants, i guess, so that style is really what my wardrobe had been lacking. the main problem now is that none of them are presently wearable - they all need to be taken up (a lot), because i have short legs, and the x-girl jeans were too big so i have to send 'em back and re-order them in a smaller size. damn internet sales. i should've known it's just asking for trouble to order anything wearable online.

buying white jeans was a little bit scary for me. i was like, am i really going to wear these? what does one possibly wear with white jeans? but the kind salesladies at the store (azalea, in hayes valley) were very helpful and suggested a variety of cute t-shirts in not-too bright colors and, most importantly, with PRINTS. that was my eureka moment of the month. in solving my "what to wear with white jeans" problem, i also simultaneously solved my "what to wear with my solid-dark-black jeans" problem, and my "why is my wardrobe so boring" problem.

lesson: you can't be afraid of prints. (patterns, designs.) it's no wonder i always felt like none of my boring solid-color shirts (basically my entire wardrobe) worked with my black jeans - two intense solid colors makes you look like a crayon palette. to be truly fashionable, it's not enough to wear shirts with interesting details in the fabric or unusual cuts - i think maybe as a rule of thumb you should always pair a solid with a print. so a solid shirt with a printed skirt, or if you're wearing solid-colored pants (e.g. most jeans) - a printed top. or at least maybe layer a couple of different tops (two shirts, or a shirt & jacket) so the solid colors are a little broken up.

maybe belts could be part of the solution too. i must confess, i don't own a single belt.

fashionistas - your thoughts?

bee bacon

i'm making bacon for lunch. to be technical, more of a pre-lunch-type snack. and it just reminded me that i had a dream last night about my favorite brand of bacon, which i have fondly nicknamed "bee bacon," because the packaging used to feature a cartoon bee on it (i suppose because it's "honey cured"). when they took the bee off the packaging a few months ago, it was really confusing to me, since i had never bothered to learn the actual name of the product. but i recently re-discovered it in its new form, sans bee, and i have re-stocked up. (i have one pound in the fridge and two pounds in the freezer. just in case the big one hits.) but it was really depressing and stressful for that period when i was convinced that either the manufacturer had discontinued it, or safeway had stopped selling it. i love bacon, but i'm very particular about what kind i make.

so anyway, i just remembered that i had a dream last night where i was in some store that had a huge display with a big sign saying "Bee Bacon" - i think they were selling it in bulk - and in the dream i didn't remember that i had already in real life been reunited with bee bacon in its new form, so the dream-discovery made me really really happy.

postscript: wow, the irony is that i just burned the bacon i was cooking because i didn't turn it while writing this. oh, the sacrifices i make for my art...

Monday, June 19, 2006

complaining about the bar #2

i do NOT understand the rule against perpetuities. crap. i need to find some kind of "property law for dummies" - the bar review materials do not include enough examples to make sense to my enfeebled brain. i am going to have to conscript one of my friends to tutor me in the RAP. they are all much more diligent bar-studiers than i am so hopefully they will take pity on me and allow me to ride their coattails to success.

i actually enjoyed my property class in law school, but that's because we spent most of the course debating things like the theoretical arguments for and against a system of private ownership of property. (my view: the government giveth property rights and the government taketh away.) if you have to go to law school, berkeley is a fun place to do it.


someone just sent me this picture from a party i went to last week. i just had to share it 'cause my hair looks so awesome. i wasn't sure about this haircut at first, but seeing it from the side angle i really love it. call david at cowboys & angels if you want to look this awesome, too.

okay, back to studying, Procrastinator von Narcissist.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

complaining about the bar #1

i'm like law-nerd barbie: "studying for the bar is hard!" actually, it's not so much difficult as it is boring as fuck. i am really bad at making myself do boring things. the exam is still five-and-a-half weeks away, so it still doesn't quite feel real. . . although i'm starting to feel the pressure, a little bit, since everyone i know is pretty much studying more than i am. i really need to stop enjoying my summer and get down to business. but the subjects - ugh. it's all the subjects i hated in law school (the first-year ancient "common law" subjects, like torts and property) plus lots of boring (to me) subjects that i never even took, like corporations and "secured transactions" (what does that even mean??) and "agency and partnership" (ditto).

actually, come to think of it, most law school classes are boring, even the ones i thought i would like. the only classes that really held my attention were sexy constitutional law classes. and i'm not even doing that well on the constititutional law practice questions! i am so fucked. no, don't get too worried, dear reader - i am historically really good at taking standardized tests, and at writing essays, and at cramming like crazy in the last couple of weeks. so i'm pretty sure it'll turn out fine.

plus i have five-and-a-half weeks. i'm going to turn over a new leaf, starting today! (but i say that every day.)

Saturday, June 17, 2006

white sun hat

i've been hearing a few rumblings of curiosity about my white sun hat (mentioned in post #1). it's just a white beach hat i got for about $10 at some beachy store in hawaii last fall, and this summer i've been wearing it a lot. i'm kind of a sun nazi lately - i practically won't leave the house without sunscreen, sunglasses, and my hat, and i don't hesitate to lecture complete strangers about the dangers of sun exposure (cancer and wrinkles, in that order).

here's me wearing the white sun hat today:

see - i'm totally fashionable! why was i worried? :D

here's me wearing it in a more traditional setting:

Friday, June 16, 2006

a liberated woman

a few days ago i was in the car for a few minutes, and turned on “morning edition” on national public radio. in that brief trip i happened to hear a story that CHANGED MY LIFE. according to the story, we never have to menstruate again if we don’t want to. apparently it’s practically useless to bleed every month (if you’re on the pill and thus not building up the uterine lining anyway) and women today menstruate way more often than women used to, anyway – so basically we’re undergoing all this annoyance and pain for no reason. even though the pill makes my periods shorter and makes my cramps somewhat less severe, i still usually get fairly bad cramps and feel depressed and moody right before my period. plus, who really wants to deal with an icky fluid leaking from your nether regions, and always having to keep up your stock of tampons, and washing blood-stained underpants in cold water in the sink, etc., etc.? as soon as i heard the story, i had already made up my mind. i've tossed out all my green pills and vow, joyfully, never to menstruate again, at least for the foreseeable future. this is basically the best news i’ve ever heard. NPR, i love you.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


i really need new jeans, because i pretty much wear the same pair of pants every day of the week. but i didn't know how exactly to go about getting new jeans. does that sound weird? i am a terrible shopper. i have only the vaguest sense of what's fashionable, although i am extremely concerned with wanting to appear attractive and fashionable. and i have even less idea about where to shop for the clothes that i only vaguely sense that i want. it's all very stressful. plus i have this weird hang-up about asking people for help that i've been talking about with my therapist lately - so that keeps me stuck in this lonely spiraling whirlpool of depressing clothes-less-ness.

recently i came up with a plan to ask this girl that i just met to go jeans shopping with me. she seemed like the kind of girl who would definitely know about this kind of thing, and she seemed super-sweet, and like she might be kind of lonely too - so this seemed like the perfect non-threatening opportunity to break out of my shyness/frumpiness spiral. but when i put the plan in action by sending her a message on friendster, she never responded. although she did accept my friend-request. weird. i don't know what's going on there. should i write again? it's hard to know what the etiquette is. she seemed so nice, it's hard to imagine she's blowing me off on purpose, but you never know...

anyway, jeans: now that that line of attack was clearly not working out, i had to come up with a plan B. i emailed my sister, who's definitely the most fashionable person i know, to ask for her advice. that was a little scary for me 'cause although we're close, it's always been a bit of a sore spot for me that she's so much prettier, more fashionable, and cooler than me. and i feel like occassionally she's either directly made fun of me about those failings or, more likely, just been a little insensitive about it when i already feel really pathetic next to her and desperately yearn for her advice. (she did send me a subscription to teen vogue last year for my birthday, which is a very helpful remedial primer.)

so i got up my courage and emailed my sister today to ask for her advice about how to find cute skinny, narrow-leg jeans - what brands of jeans the kids are wearing these days and what stores i could find them in. i was all nervous after sending it (yes, my intimacy issues are a little extreme) but she wrote back in just a few minutes with a lengthy treatise answering every question i had asked and more, giving recommendations for several brands & styles of jeans to check out, color recommendations ("remember: no light colored jeans! except white is cute- just not light blue." oops, does that mean i should retire my pale blue jeans? fuck.), and she had even researched what stores in
san francisco sell them. (she lives in NY.) basically, i have the best sister ever, and you are super-jealous.

as of this afternoon, these jeans

are on their way to me, from the internet, and i will be going shopping this weekend to find them some friends.

mundane #1

my ambitions were great, but of course i'll start off with the mundane. so i got my ears pierced last weekend. it's a little strange that i waited til now to get them pierced, since i've had a lip ring since i was eighteen. the thing is that i did get my ears pierced - twice, in fact - in my early teen years, but both times i tried to change the earrings too soon, they got infected, and i ultimately let them grow in both times after about a month.

so i've now (re-)entered the ranks of adult femininity! this is part of a bigger plan - see the list of my ambitions, below - to "learn how to accessorize." earrings are really cute. i want the option of wearing them. unfortunately, for the next couple of months i'm stuck wearing the piercing-shop hardcore "bead ring" style in both earlobes, until they heal. (and i'm going to let these babies heal up good this time before i change them, believe you me.) not exactly uber-feminine or a la mode. in fact, they seem almost masculine to me, oddly, probably because they remind me of gay boys i've known who've had these same earrings.

but they're not healing very quickly. this is probably why i had problems with my previous ear-piercing episodes. maybe i have poor circulation or something. (i don't remember any problems like this with my lip piercing, but lips/mouths are probably extra-fast at healing.) the earlobes hurt when i touch them, and the whole ear (especially the left one) often feels hot all over - it seems like a sure sign of something not-right. so i've been very careful to follow my after-care instructions. mainly, i've been soaking them several times daily in a sea-salt solution, which is very awkward and a big pain in the ass. (or rather, literally, a pain in the neck. sorry. ugh, i'm turning into my father.)

bonjour le monde!

welcome to my blog. i still haven't decided exactly what it will be about. i predict it will consist mostly of updates about my mundane life, book and movie reviews, and some passionate rants about the political implications of various things i observe around me.

some things i like: reading, therapy, the history of ideas, my white sun hat, fresh in-season tomatoes, smart people, anastasia krupnik, ramona quimby, america's next top model, teen vogue, cook's illustrated, irony, language(s), unions, singing, my friends, my awesome sister, my awesome boyfriend.

some things i dislike:
arrogance, sexism (etc.), greed, wilful ignorance about things i think are important, misspelling, linguistic prescriptivism. (yes, i know those last two are inconsistent. sorry.)

some things i sort of dislike but i'm trying to become a better person and not dislike so much: social conservatives, economic conservatives, spoiled rich people, stupid people with power, vastly unequal relationships, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, beets, onions, peppers.

some things i'm trying to accomplish: be less antisocial. spend more quality time with friends. become a scrabble champion. pass the bar. understand myself. master the art of diplomacy. learn how to accessorize. go to yoga class regularly. spend more time outside before i move away from northern
california. enjoy my youth.